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Corona diary: The cities look like sleeping dogs

Corona diary: The cities look like sleeping dogs

March 2020 · 2 min read · Halle (Saale)

Just a few days ago we were standing in the living room of friends who had opened their apartment for a concert of the secret Sofa Caravan series. Strangers were crowding around each other, there was beer and music and after half an hour everybody moved on to the next apartment with the next band for the next bottle of beer. Strangers, united for a few moments in rock'n'roll. Nobody thought of what was invisibly creeping outside the door.

It’s the sundown of a whole civilisation.
It’s the sundown of a whole civilisation.

This is a small town, what happens in the world arrives here later, much later and sometimes not at all. When the Sofa Caravan went around the houses, this "not at all" was still current. "Corona" seemed a ghost from afar, a virus that had to occupy other continents, states and regions. But not us.

The Sofa Caravan inside a living room.
The Sofa Caravan inside a living room.

20 days later the world of that time has crumbled to dust. Corona has entered, an uninvited guest, which changes even the deepest province more than anything the people here have experienced since the Second World War. And with the fall of the wall and the end of socialism they have experienced a lot!

Now all schools are closed, the universities, kindergartens, concert halls, theatres, museums, sports facilities, fitness studios and football stadiums. You can be at home or at work. Or out on the street. Nowhere else.

The so called lockdown or shutdown drives an unusually large number of fathers with sons and daughters into the open. There they sit at the edge of the playgrounds, the little ones play with each other on the slide. The older children and teenagers use the new freedom to hang out in groups on the football field. The weather is wonderful, they play table tennis as if the Corona crisis was an additional holiday.

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Empty parking lots. The city looks like a sleeping dog.*
Empty parking lots. The city looks like a sleeping dog.*

You can almost see the chains of infection as they weave their way through the groups and greaves. One look is enough to see that no epidemic can be stopped this way. Far too many encounters. Far too many individual people meeting and touching each other as if normal life had never crumbled into mere memory.

In the evening the news comes that all regulations will be tightened once again. Now also department stores and playgrounds are closed.

* It's a quote of Heinz Rudolf Kunze, Die Städte sehen aus wie schlafende Hunde

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