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Sex, shoplifting and survival in the age of Corona

Even though you might be feeling a bit sorry for yourself right now, spare a thought for others who might be a bit worse off than you. In our lighthearted look at life during Corona, we also explore some advantages of being housebound and useful ways you could be spending your time.

With all of this unexpected time at home, some of us alone, your mind starts to wander in strange directions. At least mine does. So, even though I find myself in the rather precarious position of being a freelancer during the Coronaferien as my neighbour described it yesterday, I’ve been thinking about thieves.

“Thieves?” you ask. “Why thieves??” Well, think about it. If your sole purpose in life is robbing people and your financial security depends on your ability to do that, this isn’t really a great time for you to be alive.

Thieves during Corona

Think of all the sad burglars, sitting outside people’s homes, waiting for them to leave so they can rob the joint - but nobody ever leaves. Think of the wily pickpocket, roaming the streets waiting for his next smartphone obsessed victim to walk by – but nobody ever does. And even if they did, it’s not like there’s a crowd he can lose himself in after the deed has been done. Think of the poor, broken shoplifter – there’s been nothing left to lift for weeks now. Even he’s just focusing on getting his hands on some toilet paper and pasta like the rest of us.

Sex workers during Corona

I’ve also had a few thoughts about sex workers. (Yes, I really do have a lot of time on my hands.) I mean, it’s hard to bump uglies with someone while maintaining a 2-metre distance. At least, I’ve never tried but I imagine it would be difficult. However, as I was informed yesterday - in what will probably go down as one of THE MOST GERMAN conversations I’ve ever had – “Sex workers in Germany will be fine as long as they’re legal. Their employer still has to pay them, and they can get Kurzarbeit. As a sex worker in Germany, you have to pay taxes. And unemployment insurance. And health insurance. It even happens that the Job Center sometimes recommends people go into that line of work.” And then I picked myself up off the floor and stopped worrying about sex workers.

Advantages of being at home all the time

So, even though my mind sometimes brings me to strange places, my body is, for the most part, stuck at home, like the sex workers. And oddly, over the last few weeks, I’ve realised that there are some advantages to this:

  • There’s really no need to brush your hair or put on make-up. Or get dressed at all in fact. Certainly, there’s no need for underwear so just let everything hang loose. Experts say you should dress like you’re going to work anyway, even if you are just sitting at home in front of your laptop. I say, “bah to that”. Why would I be clomping around my house in a dress and tights and boots when I could be in my pyjamas and slippers? Most days, I will slip into a tracksuit at some point, mainly so my neighbours don’t think I’ve had some kind of mental breakdown. The fact is, if you were always kind of a slob at heart, the Coronaferien is a dream come true. Readjusting to shoes will be the main challenge at the end of all this.
  • The idea of success has shifted. This, for example, is an actual (virtual) conversation I had last night:

Me: I showered today.

Ingmar: Me too! And I shaved!

Me: Wow, good for you!

Me: Funny how we now think of showering and shaving as achievements…

Yet, in Corona-bizarro-Welt, they kind of are.

Note: Not showering is now perfectly acceptable if you live alone. However, if you live with others, they might not be quite so flexible on this one. Not shaving or plucking anything is also liberating but be warned that things can get jungly pretty quickly.

  • You get to discover all kinds of new and interesting things in supermarket aisles you’ve never previously ventured down. Bauernfrühstück in a box? Yes! Mashed potatoes in a shiny silver pouch? The ease and simplicity of it all! No peeling, boiling, seasoning, mashing… just add water – genius! Of course, the one thing we do all have now is time so you could also unleash your inner Jamie Oliver or Nigella Lawson. If that seems like too much work, there’s always mash in a bag.
  • Even though you might be losing money temporarily, think of all the money and time you’re saving. No lengthy commutes on smelly trains with crazy people, no going to bars or clubs, no going anywhere really. Instead of sitting in a noisy, overcrowded pub, shouting at your friends over overpriced drinks, you can get quietly smashed in the comfort of your own home on €2 wine from LIDL. Stream a concert or take part in an online pub quiz – no queuing for drinks or toilets, just toddling to your own fridge or loo whenever the need takes you.

Use your time wisely

If this all sounds terribly slovenly and you’re of a more productive persuasion, this can also be a good time for you. That instrument you’ve always wanted to learn, that cake you’ve always wanted to bake, that language you’ve always wanted to improve, that flab you’ve been meaning to lose… but never had the time before.

Now. You. Do.

So, use it. Pick up that harmonica, find that recipe (and some flour and eggs if you can), download that language app, join that online gym (and maybe cut down on the cake). We can all re-emerge from this as sleeker, more interesting, more intelligent butterflies. Hairy, smelly butterflies.

And one final thing…

In order to come full circle, if all of the burglars and pickpockets have been on forced hiatus for months, chances are, they’re going to come back with a bang. Another thing you could do is consider getting Haftpflicht- and Hausratversicherung to protect yourself if this does happen. Stop looking at videos of cats and dreaming of the days when toilet paper wasn’t like gold dust and do something practical - “real-life you” will thank you when the Coronaferien is over.


Written by Linda O'Grady, co-author of From the Bürgeramt to the Bedroom

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