These days, sitting on the balcony is as close as I can get to going out. My days are limited to eating at home, sitting on the balcony at home, working at home and distracting myself at home. The reason being that I have been tested for the new coronavirus, Covid-19, and must patiently await the results while staying at home. Luckily enough, my roommate – based on the assumption that whatever illness I have, she has – has decided to share my quarantine.
Our favorite activity in these times of isolation is playing backgammon on the balcony while observing and commenting on everyone and everything passing on the street below. “They’re standing way too close to each other,” “How can he be so careless as to cough without covering his mouth?” “Ιs she actually carrying nine large bags full of groceries?”
On Sunday afternoon, we were quietly engaged in our second-favorite activity (reading about Covid-19 online while sitting on the couch) when we heard voices from the street: In the flash of an eye, we were hanging over the balcony trying to see what was happening. On the opposite side of the quiet road was an elderly lady: She was looking up at two small boys leaning out of a window in the building next to ours. One of the boys said: “We miss you, Grandma! We're so bored without you. When will you come back?”
“Soon,” she answered, and sent kisses their way.
They spoke for a few minutes before she headed off: Before she disappeared around the corner, they shouted out, “We love you, Grandma!” in unison, and drew their heads back inside.
My roommate turned to me and said: “Things may not be that bad after all. At least we get to witness scenes like that. That’s what we have to focus on now. Humanity.” After this heartwarming interlude, we silently went back inside. A minute later, my roommate blurted out angry: “Actually, that grandma, she was nuts. She really put herself at risk by being outside. Old people should be more careful.”
She then called her own grandmother, warning her to stay inside and telling her about “the crazy lady who left the safety of her home to go speak to her grandchildren rather than simply video calling them for no good reason.”