By Rosa Martinez
HAVANA TIMES – The global crisis unleashed by COVID-19 has forced me to do something that I can’t stand and have criticized some young people in my neighborhood for doing: spending too much time on my phone and regularly connecting to the Internet.
I realize how useful the Internet can be in situations like the one the world is currently in, as it serves as a bridge so that people can remain connected and support one another via instant messaging. It can also be used to do different activities at home, such as all kinds of exercise, or research a subject, as well as pass time playing games online.
Like everyone else who has the means, I find myself forced to connect to the Internet quite a few times a day; my data package is flying away, but it’s worth it this time. I not only have to keep up-to-date with what’s going on, but I need to hear from the people I love who are in the middle of the crossfire: Amelia in Italy, Lis in Spain, Ale and Diana in the US, not to mention all of my former colleagues and friends, especially in Miami, this city that is linked to Cuba because of the many, many residents of Cuban origin.
Today, I spent a few minutes of my expensive Internet, between quarantine and studying, with an old neighbor who emigrated to Belgium nearly a decade ago, who I am regularly in touch with, as she lost her husband a year ago, and solitude has been hard for her. Ever since then, I have tried to support her with our sporadic conversations, filling her in about the neighborhood, the neighbors and some mutual friends of ours.
After remembering some stories and laughing a little on Messenger, we got back to the subject of the hour: COVID-19.
I begged her to stay at home, it doesn’t matter how bored or very lonely she is. I explained, once again, that this disease can’t be seen, that is to say, it can be on a stair rail, on a supermarket door handle, on a glass window, and that the person who least suspects it, might actually be infected and spreading the deadly virus all around, without even knowing.
When leaving, I insisted once again for her to take care, as there are already 16,000 cases in her country of residence and over 1,100 people dead.
Her response to my excessive concern got me to thinking: “Rosi, I’m a very good person, God won’t do that to me.”
What? I couldn’t believe her words. Well… I quickly said, we’ll speak a little later, OK?
Was everyone who died because of COVID-19 a bad person? I asked myself terrified. Do only bad people catch it? Is this God’s way of freeing us of the world’s greatest sinners?
No, no, of course not, I told myself and I carried on reading things in this vast ocean of knowledge that is the Internet, but this time about anything else other than a virus.