Yesterday, I steeled myself and suited up and ventured further afield than I’ve gone in almost a month — which means that rather than just going the 100 meters or so to the bland supermarket around the corner, I was going to walk a few blocks further to the bakery with beautiful handmade bread (and Portuguese pasteis de nata, my real reason for going.)
A few hours earlier, Austria had announced the need for masks when going out for groceries. I felt a little nervous, since I haven’t seen anyplace selling masks since mid-January and I wasn’t wearing one. A little nervous? Actually, I was sweating like a criminal. I’d heard so many stories from friends about being stopped by the police while walking their dogs or going shopping together instead of alone, that I figured that if I passed a cop, they’d know telepathically, just by looking at me, that I’d gone farther than I needed to, notwithstanding the fact that my closer store had downright terrible bread.
After days of rain, the sun was finally shining. The streets were cleaner than before-Corona, except for a scrim of discarded plastic gloves. Though it was still cold enough by Spanish standards for puffy coats (55 degrees), more people than usual had raised the windows of their apartments. Somewhere a couple was fighting. Of somewhere else, someone let out a bellow, which I interpreted as a manifestation of disgust with the whole situation.
Down at street level, though, the proprietor of a shoebox-sized convenience store had hung his blue parakeet’s cage in a patch of sunlight. Some sort of urban street-tree was blooming, a fuchsia extravagance of blossoms.
I wanted to stop and take a picture, but I was afraid a policía might appear out of nowhere and give me a ticket.
(The bakery was closed.)