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  • Olga Kaleta

Corona Diaries VERBAL COLLAGE part one: about time



Now is the time.


What for?


NOW is the time.


To do what?


NOW is the TIME.


***


Here I am. In this hour of the morning in which the world is just about awake.


Here I am. With the singing of the birds. With the humming of the insects. With the gentle gasps of wind.


Here I am.


The world came to a halt. And listen, it’s like nothing really happened. Nature is thriving in the most unpretentious way. There is so much we can learn from her quiet confidence.

Now is the time to do nothing.


***


The lockdown has now been officially imposed. I was down with the idea all along but now that the psychotic overgrown cabbage patch kid said we have to, I must admit, I’m finding it so much harder to comply.


***


Stop. Breathe.


***


Here WE are...reduced to our personal bubbles...self-isolated in our little worlds. Animals are clearly delighted to finally see humans trapped in the cages of their own making. Taking themselves out for a walk once a day. Finally, they can understand what it is like not to be able to enjoy the world the way it’s been intended.


***


Woke up to find a missed call from my mum. She never rings outside of the Sunday afternoon window. I dreaded the news she might had been trying to deliver. My dad would be classed as vulnerable although he’s been self-isolating ever since I know him. I rung her back, terrified. She picked up laughing and said that I shouldn't let the impending collapse of the creative industries get to me. She heard there are plenty of jobs at Lidl going. Afterwards, she sent me a video of a toucan singing “Don't worry be happy” as a final consolation.


***


Time is linear.


Time is circular.


Time is multicactive.


Time is an undeniable delusion.


***


It’s Chris’ funeral today. Few weeks ago, the chapel would be packed with people wishing to say farewell. But now there’s only a handful of people scattered around, unable to comfort each other. Chris loved sci-fi and fantasy. Little did he know dying in an old world that he would be buried in a new one.


I almost said, “good old world”. But it wasn’t. This one isn’t great either. Right now, it’s proper weird...but many of us can spot beacons of hope falling through the cracks. Sometimes you need to get worse to get better… But sometimes you don’t get better...sometimes you die.


***


The experience of time is universal. The attempts to make sense of it, are all man-made choices, inherent to the cultures that breed us.


***


Scrolling through Social Media: Gal Gadot sings a song about the world with no possession from her enormous mansion. I’m watching it from my rented bedroom that used to be a cupboard. That’s a lovely sentiment. Cheers for that Gal Gadot, I was running low on reassurance.

***


The world is changing. We’ve been accelerated towards the future. Everyone is confined to their own custom-made digital reality. Human touch is a commodity.


I am afraid to cry. I’m afraid to admit that I’m scared. I’m scared to fall apart. What if I’m not able to comfort myself? What if I’ll remain shattered forever?

It’s okay to do nothing.


***


I was born and bred in a culture that regards time as leaner. The only way is forward. There is no looking back. Time is unstoppable. Time is precious. Time is a resource. Wasting it is unforgivable.


So much time has passed. What have you got to show for it? Nothing but those Gray Gardens…


***


The dusk just settled and the whole of Bristol feels like a holiday village. Streets are quiet and empty. Everyone is chilling indoors after a busy day of doing absolutely nothing. So peaceful.


***


Homeless and prisoners are forced to self-isolate in masses for a single trembling croak. What does it matter? Were their lives ever worth living?


Police issuing fines to homeless for being outside. Are you fucking kidding me?


I am a lucky one. I am worth saving. Just! For now!?


***


On Tuesday the 31st of March a girl, aged 12 died in Belgium. The youngest victim of the virus to date.


***

Stop. Breath.


***


On Tuesday the 31st of March police in Kenya shot a 13 year old boy who stood on his balcony past the curfew.


His name was Yasin.


***


Stop. Breath.


***


I’m not afraid of dying. What I am afraid of is not to be able to feel the skin of my loved ones before I perish. We are born alone, and we die alone. But this is too literal.


***


The pigeon just sat on the roof of the shed. He is a moderately regular visitor but only since lockdown that his cooing got unbearably loud. It’s clear he’s looking for a mating partner. The theories say that now there’s no traffic noise the birds can hear their contenders more distinctly, therefore need to put more effort into their own allurement. Oh, sweet horny pigeon, you and I are not that different. There’s not much more I want from this world then a little piece of earth where I can make love.


***


Ecuador’s health system has collapsed. People are forced to store dead bodies of their loved ones on their living room floor…


***


It’s okay to do nothing


***


And just like that we’ve been segregated into robots and AI agents. Are you able to work from home? Great! Do that! We need you. Are you not able to work from home? We need you so much more! Not you as such of course. As an individual you’re disposable. We can’t offer you protection, but don’t worry, if anything was to happen to you, will be able to replace you swiftly.

Those of you working from home, don’t think too highly of yourself. The future is after you. Soon, we will no longer need you either. We are in the process of self-erase. We are striving towards making ourselves spare. The Nostradamus of North London has a whole blog about it…


***


Stop. Breath. Change Direction.


***


We live for pleasure. A meaningful pleasure. The kind of pleasure that isn’t replaced by shame as soon as the moment has passed. Pleasure that resonates beyond the moment in which it seems necessary.


We live for each other. For the touch, the smell and the smile. For the sharing of the joy and wonder.


Today I wrote a porno.

***



What does it mean to be human? Whatever it is, can we take that away from ourselves? What if we can? Why is nobody talking about it?

***


Stop.


***


What does it mean to be human? Stop with that cliché already!


***


Stop. Breathe.


***


What does it mean to be human? Perfect time to look for an answer. Should it be our duty to preserve it? Or is it time to accept that humans are a finite concept simply coming to a conclusion. It is as if the whole world was sent to a naughty corner. Think about what you did and continue doing. This self-destructive behaviour will not be tolerated.


***


Stop. Breathe.


***


Tiny yellow spider is stretching its web between two branches of the raspberry bushes. Oh sweet, tiny yellow spider, you and I are not that different. There’s not much more I want from this world than to build a home.


***


Scrolling through Social Media: Reese Witherspoon was kind enough to ask me How I was doing, thanks to Instagram. “It’s tough, heh?” She said, sitting in her garden bigger than my entire neighbourhood. Pandemic, the great equaliser. No, Reese, it is not.

Being able to self-isolate is a privilege.

People who live in the most deprived neighbourhoods of OUR world who can’t afford to stay at home are being shot at their doorsteps, sprayed with bleach on their way back to the village, humiliated by those whose job is to protect them.

Will only the privileged survive?

Then what?

Is that how revolution comes about?

***


The time ticking at the core of my soul is circular and it is multiactive. There are cycles within cycles. Each one is different in scale and velocity. They exist concurrently in a perfect harmony. Respect them all, but only tune in to those that serve you in the moment.


***


A single magpie bobbing around the garden like it is the king of the castle. Let’s hope magpies are not too strict when it comes to self-isolation. We all know how the saying goes … Mr Magpie, next time, do indulge us, and bring a mate with you, will you?


Mister Magpie, you and I are not that different. There’s not much more I want from this world then to be free to choose between the right to solitude and the need for a company.


***


There are an infinite number of ways to exist in this world. Why are we so fixated on the

idea of finding one that fits all?


***


It’s okay to do nothing.


***


I’ve been watching sad movies in order to make myself cry. Nothing! I wonder if it’s in any way connected to the unprecedented levels of sexual frustration. Perhaps this sort of release won’t be available to me until I have an orgasm that isn’t self-inflicted. I hope I won’t cry whilst… worse even...what if we both cry!?!


***


The only way is forward. There is no looking back. To return would be to admit to failure.


***

Now is the time


What for?


NOW is the time.


To do what?


NOW is the TIME


***


Scrolling through Social Media: Ellen Degeneres. I won’t go into details. Let me just say I am disappointed.

***


The emotions gang up on me all the time. But there are those moments, those glimpses of glory where I can conquer them, capture them in a sentence, movement, or an image. And suddenly, it all fits together. Suddenly, it all makes sense. Suddenly, it’s all quite beautiful. Even the ugly parts.


***


It’s okay to do nothing. The time spent looking after your mental health is time well spent.


***


If I had known then what I know now... What if there is no difference between then and now?


***


The world came to a halt. Feels like an emergency stop. Yes, we all suffered a serious whiplash, many of our loved one have died...but we’re still here, panting, staring at the precipice. Let’s not start the engine, only to tumble off that edge. Surely, there’s more than one way to go from here…


***


Change of mind should be celebrated, not hold up to shame. Change of mind is not admittance of failure, but an exercise in resilience. Only this that can change can continue.


***


Stop. Breath. Change direction. Bring what feels useful.

***


A friend of mine told me, she’s finally getting into the rhythm of things. Two months have passed … We live on a fucking treadmill! The world was put on hold and it took us two months to reconnect with it. Being still is a long-lost skill. I hope we’ll continue to practice it once the cogs start turning again (a bit slower this time I hope).


Happiness is to be present and intentional.



***


Now is the time


What for?


NOW is the time.


To do what?


NOW is the TIME


Now is the time to UNDO everything.




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