East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

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No, not the Fleetwood Mac song.
Ever since I was a kid, during highly stressful times I either get insomnia, or I have the strangest, most distracting dreams. As I think I have mentioned in the past, a lot of these dreams take place in the same locale, a white city that is sometimes completely deserted.
Two nights ago it was not.

And yes, I also hate those people that go and tell you about their dreams, so I think it OK should you decide to stop reading here.

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All I needed to know I learned… somewhere

There’s a lot of articles being posted on blogs and things about how to work from home. In Italy, a country that was criminally behind in terms of telecommuting jobs, the possibility of working via the net is causing a small quake, but it looks like all over the world we are seeing a sudden “discovery” of remote working.

Another very popular topic on blogs and socials is what to read/watch/do while the country is in lockdown – huge to-read lists, playlists and what else. A lot of publishers and authors are giving away some of their books – I am doing it myself, because it’s nice to try and show some solidarity and manage to pass for human.
And then there’s the vast population of nerds and geeks and anoraks that keep patting each other on the back, because they were prepared all along, because they learned how to handle this situation watching Dawn of the Dead or playing Resident Evil.

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One day means ten

Today I ordered two books I need for research purposes (and for entertainment), and do not exist in ebook – there, the last bit is essential.
Ebooks are not just cheap, they are instantaneous – the moment the payment is processed, you have them on your reader. Paperbacks you have to wait for – and there is where the lockdown makes itself felt once again.

I used to joke about the fact, because I have a Amazon Prime account, I get my books mailed for free, and with the one-day delivery formula, which means I get them in three to five days. Because one-day delivery in Italy works if you live in a big city or in the immediate vicinities. Move to the hills, and one day means at least three.

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Provisions run

This morning I went to the local discount to buy provisions, having planned last night a shopping list capable of covering two weeks for two people living in the middle of nowhere. A friend gave me a lift, and we drove for the 6 km to the supermarket.

I have read, in the past days, reports about how the lockdown is doing wonders for the environment – the water is clear and full of fish in the canals of Venice, and wild animals are roaming the deserted streets of the cities, like in a movie. In South-East Asia, towns are being taken over by monkeys, like a page from Sinbad’s Voyages. And from what I saw, the countryside here in Astigianistan is feeling the benefit – crows, ravens, blackbirds, pheasants… I spotted a lot of birds close to the road, where the low traffic is not scaring them anymore.

I had my paper with me – because there are checkpoints, and you have to explain why you’re not at home, and where are you going.
Hint: going out to buy provisions is OK, going out for a drink and then a nightclub is not.

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