Two coat hangers hang in the hall, each with a string on which sits seven pegs. On the lower hanger – Andy’s – a gang of five white FFP2 masks dangle from the pegs. On the upper hanger – mine – a solitary mask hangs quietly from the first peg. Monday. The remaining six pegs are empty. I haven’t been out of the apartment since Monday, and it’s Monday again. Monday is my day.
Last Monday it was snowing. It was the first day that FFP2 masks were mandatory in shops and public transport. I had an appointment at the Hautarztin (dermatologist) for a mole-check. The rules are unclear whether “shops” includes doctors offices. The receptionist didn’t question my cloth mask, but the doctor was horrified – flinging open the windows and leaving the room, only returning when I was securely behind the FFP2 mask. Of course, she had to examine my face as well as the rest of me, and instructed me to hold my breath while I removed my mask for her to see my face.
We’re told that FFP2 masks can be reused, if they are placed in an 80-90 degree oven for an hour, or if they are hung at room temperature for seven days. Hence the hangers.
Over the weekend, the snow melted away, but today it’s snowing again. I walked to the library to return some of Andy’s books (with great foresight, she stocked up before the libraries were closed). It’s proper snow – big soft white flakes that linger on your nose, whiten the streets again after each cautious passing car and crunch under my boots. I have my FFP2 mask with me just in case, but I’m not going inside anywhere. The library is closed but the mouth of the return slot opens obediently after I show it Andy’s library card, and the books are swallowed up.
Walking back, the flakes are bigger and there’s that special snow silence. The little winterdienst vehicles are noisily clearing the footpaths (I want one! or at least to have a go on one) and above that the distant voices of playing children ring out across the neighbourhood. A man walking on the other side of the street is whistling “Always look on the bright side of life”, and I think of my friend Karla’s blog post, where she quotes the 14th century Christian mystic Julian of Norwich: “All shall be well. And all shall be well. All manner of things shall be well.”
Yes. Monday is my day, and all shall be well 🙂