This story isn’t about me! Or is it?

6 november 2021 Suzanne Uncategorized 0

This story could be about me, because it is written in the first person. And it could not be about me.
It could be that it is my story, but that I’m too afraid (or too cowardly?) to admit it.
It also could be that I just want to be the storyteller for someone who experienced this, because I feel sorry for her and want to ‘do’ something. Even if it is only to tell her story.
Both can be true. But by now truth has become so relative that we don’t determine it any further. Because I or she or you, we are all one, aren’t we?

This morning I had to take my car to the garage and what better opportunity than to have breakfast and coffee meanwhile. My friend – let’s call her Eva – picks me up at the appointed hour and we drive straight to our breakfast spot. And yes, the healthy pancakes are delicious. We are sheltered for the wind, enjoy the chitchat and even work a little.
So when we get the message from two other friends that they are done with tennis, we walk, as arranged to another bar – our “regular terrace” so to speak, (because they offer nice mini-croissants with the coffee). And the staff is really friendly. My favorite waitress is – let’s call her – Irini: she always comes to say hello, even if I am not in ‘her part’ (because different waiters are each responsible for a part of the terrace).
When we settle down and Irini passes by, I joke, “Are we in your part?!” “Yes, super!”

After a little while irini comes to ask us what we want (although she knows ;-)) and says “I have to check that you are ‘green’ now….” We look at her in surprise for a moment. “The covid?” she says. Then we understand. Eva immediately pulls out her phone, smiling, and indeed, when Irini scans it, there is a friendly ping with a green V. I immediately stand up, as if caught. ‘I don’t have one…’ I stammer.
I must confess, I feel a little caught up in speed. On the one hand, I thought the new measures took effect on November 8, not November 6. On the other hand, I had understood the ban did not involve an outdoor terrace.
Eva tries: “Yes, probably it is because they installed the windscreens”. – Just to clarify for people who have not yet visited Naxos: many bars and restaurants have large, translucent plastic windshields, which they lower with strong winds (which regularly is the case here). Some of the businesses don’t really have inside seats and stay open in this way even in winter – supplemented by outdoor heating. I had wondered whether the rules would be interpreted in such a way that ‘outside with windshield’ would become ‘inside’. Apparently so.
But there are also benches really outside, so I point, ‘can I sit there?’ ‘No, nowhere. Not outside either. Unless you have a test? You really don’t have a test?’ But no, I don’t.

So I keep standing, on the outside, while Eva sits down. I say, ‘no problem, you wait for the others, I will go home’ (I forget for a moment that my car is in the garage;-)). I actually want to leave as quickly as possible, because I have the feeling that all the other people on the terrace are watching me. Perhaps they are not. And maybe they are not all looking with the thought: “Aha, that’s one of them!!!”, but it feels like that. So I want to leave. Now. I feel like a little girl who has been naughty. That didn’t listen. And who is now being punished. ‘You didn’t eat your sandwiches, so you can’t have a candy!’ And I don’t want to burden my friend with my “free choice” – because actually she likes those croissants more than I do ;-).

We realize that were allowed on a terrace without a check earlier on. So maybe we should try another place, see how they handle it when we are really outside?

By the time we’ve decided to try this, Irini comes by with an order for another table. She looks at me, apologizes again at length… And then I see them: her tears. I say, ‘It’s ok, Irini! It’s not your choice!” “No no, I don’t want this. I am obliged to enforce this rule here. I don’t understand it myself: it’s safe outside, isn’t it? But I’m not allowed. But it doesn’t feel right to send you away…” My eyes fill with tears too. Now I am starting to feel guilty (I admit, I am good at guilt ;-)) for the guilt of the waitress who is forced to enforce rules she cannot support herself.
Briefly I think about history, where people were put in that position too: ‘I had to carry out orders’… But immediately I feel ashamed and push away that thought.

On the other terrace the situation repeats itself. There too: many excuses that she has to ‘play policeman’. Now it is clear: I am leaving. The other friend who just arrived ,offers to get a take-away coffee and sit on a bench. But I just want to go home.
Eva takes me to the garage. I’m not quite sure what to say. She says, “Just get vaccinated!” I smile sheepishly.

When I get home, after paying for the car and stopping at the supermarket, I burst into tears.
My inner child overwhelms me completely. I don’t know what to do anymore. So this is exclusion. This is what happens when you don’t do what the government says. Or no, it is not compulsory. Or is it?

I don’t know anymore. I don’t know what the truth is in this whole issue anymore. And how we should treat each other. And what I should think of these rules.

But this story is not about me. Or is it?

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