GhostTown

 

GhostTown

Weeks ago friends back home described their cities as Ghost Towns. Whoever didn't clear out for summer homes and new beginnings were in process of barricading themselves inside. Neighbors putting up black out curtains, bearing arms or appearing to start whatever home improvement. Businesses changing store hours, boarding up windows and putting notes on doors about closures in coming weeks. And worldwide it was traffic on the road and in the grocery aisles of people trying to escape the panic before it began. Then it all began here last Thursday. Stores imposing limits on toilet tissue, yeast and milk. Restaurants offering last call specials. Everyone scrambling to get that last coffee at the cafe. In all of these instances there were two different purposes. Here in Germany, to try to stop the growing curve of new Covid-19 infections. In the States, to prevent violence after the election. Either way leaving empty places and spaces for people to wonder what will happen next. And here in the S├╝dstadt I never imagined the streets would be so empty and so dark without the lifeline that is community. Angela Merkel didn't give us much time to think. We only had three days! In America, they have had almost a year of uncertainty. We were fine, thriving and now all is shut without much explanation. I would hope the day after the election everything can go back to the new normal. However, here I think one month will grow into the next and through to the new year. There is no plan. And I don't know how much longer I can take walking my block of shuttered windows, abandoned leaves and no life on the streets. All the signage and neon lights off. All the tables and chairs locked indoors against the glass. All the people that came and went with their bikes and baskets are no more. And there is no one minding the store and watching over us like the franchisee at the corner or the gym heads that open up at 7am. Even the Aldi changed its closing time from 21 Uhr to 20 so yet another space is dark and closed off. It is eerie walking the dog or checking the mail. I took it all for granted. As did Paris and their booksellers. The UK and their cheap flights on Ryanair. And as much as I hated dodging people on the streets smoking cigarettes and talking on their phones ... when I walk my dog at night it feels like I'm on "The Road". It has only been two days. And they are long for me as I live in both places. Oy vey. 

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