【媒庫文選】“新冠疫情的自我隔離聽上去還行”
2020年03月11日14:56

原標題:【媒庫文選】“新冠疫情的自我隔離聽上去還行”

Coronavirus Self-quarantine Might Not Sound So Bad

新冠疫情的自我隔離聽上去還行

Josephine Tovey 約瑟芬·托維默

One particularly brutal winter when I lived in New York, I was hurrying to a meeting when I slipped on the icy pavement and broke my ankle.

Rolling snowstorms coupled with a cavalier attitude to snow-shovelling among New Yorkers meant I was taking my life into my hands every time I hobbled on my crutches even just to the corner store, so I stopped trying. For weeks, I barely left my apartment.

I've been thinking about that lonely period of confinement a lot lately, as the novel coronavirus sweeps the globe and more and more people prepare themselves for the possibility of home quarantine.

Already, millions in China have been forced inside for lengthy periods during mandated lockdowns. In Australia, increasing numbers of people who've been in contact with an infected person, or have returned from China or Iran, are self-isolating at home. With the first cases of community transmission, more of us may find ourselves in this situation.

Provided you're not actually suffering with illness,“self-isolation” might not sound too bad. The uber rich are readying private jets for retreats to holiday homes. Even for normal people, it could feel like a little holiday.

But confinement for many is daunting. As well set up as I was, I found my own taste of it boring and lonely. I was tethered to my laptop - I read on it,watched TV on it, worked on it and stared at it as I did modified workouts I found on YouTube. After a week, I wanted to put my moonboot through it.

Some days I would put my coat on over my pyjamas to stand out on my stoop and absorb just a little of the real world. It gave me insight into why so many elderly people in my neighbourhood did this everyday anyway.

I was lucky though, in a lot of ways. What made all the difference for me were the connections with other people I'd been forced to make coming to a new city. Critically too, I wasn't struggling financially. I was still employed full time by my Australian company, so I had paid sick leave for those first painful couple of days, and after that, the ability to do my job from home. Many, who are employed as casuals or work precarious jobs in the growing gig economy, wouldn't be so lucky.

The psychological strain too will be real for many,and the strength - or lack - of our social bonds will come to the fore.

Loneliness is already a serious mental health problem in this country. Around a quarter of Australians live in one-person households and the rental market in big cities means many of us live transient existences, with little opportunity to build community networks or get to know our neighbours.

For many, going to work provides vital human connection. The small interactions of daily life - trips to the shops, a chat while walking your dog - are not just diverting, they're sustaining.

Already in China during this outbreak, so too we have seen a wellspring of creativity as people stay connected however they can.

Live-streamed DJ sets to turn apartments into satellite nightclubs, online book clubs and recipe forums where millennials can learn to cook together are some of the ways people are not just fighting boredom but are staying tethered to the outside world and each other.

What hit me hardest though was the sound of hundreds of residents chanting “Wuhan jiāyóu” out their apartment windows during the long nights of the government lockdown.

It remains a message of human solidarity in the face of isolation and adversity, and a reminder that even if we must be physically alone for periods during this outbreak, it will be fortifying - essential even - that we do it together.

當年客居紐約,趕上一個格外淒冷的冬天,我在匆忙赴會的途中滑倒在結冰的路面上,摔壞了腳踝。

漫卷的風雪,加之紐約人常以倨傲心態對待鏟雪一事,這意味著每次我架著拐、跌跌撞撞地哪怕只是挨到街角的商店都是在拿生命冒險,所以我乾脆放棄了掙紮。一連幾週,我幾乎沒有離開公寓。

最近,新冠病毒橫掃全球,越來越多的人做好了有可能居家隔離的準備,我時常回想那段孤獨的足不出戶時光。

在中國,已有數以百萬計的人在這段強製封鎖期無奈地宅居了太長時間。在澳州,越來越多與感染者有過接觸或從中國或伊朗回國的人正主動居家隔離。隨著首批社區傳播病例的出現,我們中恐有更多的人步其後塵。

倘若你不是真的在受疾病的煎熬,“自我隔離”可能聽似不甚糟糕。超級富豪們正備好私人飛機,欲歸隱於渡假屋。即使是對普通人而言,它亦會給人一種小長假的感覺。

但對許多人來說,足不出戶是令人生畏的。儘管當年的我已備好一切所需,但我的親身經曆仍可以說是萬般無聊和孤寂。我的筆記本電腦是須臾不可離的——我在電腦上讀書、在電腦上看劇、在電腦上工作、盯著電腦做改編自YouTube上的健身操。過了一個星期,我便想一腳踹飛它。

有些日子,我會在睡衣外罩一件外套,到門廊站一會兒,感受一絲真實世界的氣息。這讓我恍然大悟,明白了為什麼有那麼多鄰家老人平日也每天在門廊站一站。

不過我已經算是幸運的了,在很多方面都很幸運。對我關係重大的一點是,初來乍到的我被迫與周圍人交往。同樣重要的是,我的囊中並不羞澀。我仍然在所屬的澳州公司擁有一份全職工作,所以在最初那難挨的幾天里我請了帶薪病假,之後還能在家辦公。在零工經濟大行其道的今天有許多人從事臨時工作或工作朝不保夕,他們就沒有這麼幸運了。

心理壓力對很多人來說也將是真實存在的,而這時我們的社會紐帶是緊密還是鬆散便顯現了。

孤獨已經成為這個國家一個嚴重的心理健康問題了。大約四分之一的澳州人獨居,大城市租房市場的存在意味著我們中的許多人只是過客,幾乎沒有機會建立與社區的聯繫或瞭解我們的鄰居。

對許多人來說,上班可提供至關重要的人際交往。日常生活的小互動——逛商店、遛狗時的寒暄——不僅是在消遣解悶,也是在維繫生命。

這場疫情期間,我們也同樣看到了中國人無盡的創造力,那是人們在竭力保持聯繫。

直播DJ著手把公寓變成模擬夜總會,網上閱讀俱樂部和美食論壇讓千禧一代一起學習烹飪,諸如此類的招數不僅是為了排解無聊,也是為了與外界、與彼此牢不可分。

不過,最令我震撼的是在政府下令封城的漫漫長夜裡,數以百計的居民對著公寓窗外高呼“武漢加油”的呐喊聲。

它傳遞著人類在面臨孤獨和逆境時要團結的訊息,也提醒著我們,即便在這場疫情暴發期間我們不得不獨處一段時間,共同面對也會給人慰藉——甚至必不可少。(塗頎譯自英國《衛報》網站3月4日文章)

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