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Locked down but not out in Italy

Singing from the balconies! One nice thing about this crisis ... solidarity! “Guess you’re not living like a tourist anymore,” was the funny, truthful and somewhat gut-wrenching message of a friend the day the lockdown in Italy began. Today is day 6. My beloved Italia has been hit hard with the COVID19 epidemic. With the second largest elderly population in the world, the epidemic has meant a disproportionate amount of deaths in the country. So though I haven’t been worried about contracting it myself, this isn’t about me or someone like me who, if contracted it would probably have a sucky couple of weeks and then recover. It is about if someone like me contracted it and then spread it to a person with a complicated health history or an elderly person with a weakened immune system. Eerily orderly: Lines for the grocery store, each person one meter apart In a country with no concept (and no physical room really) for personal space, and in a city with reproachable hygie


On the third night in my new apartment in D.C., I woke up at 1am with food poisoning. Regrettably, this is not my first experience with food poisoning nor was it the worst case I have had, and I therefore do not presume to call it my new thing. Aside from those two positives, in every other respect, it was horrid.

In the first 20 years of my life, I do not recall even one case of food poisoning. However in the last 10 years of my life, I feel as if it is a fairly frequent occurrence. Perhaps this indicates something about my diversified interest in restaurants and food. Who knows?

I am also not sure to what I owed that pleasure. My habits in the last few days have been no stranger or riskier than others. I would hope that my last two novelties were not tied to this incident:

I got free ice cream from Ben & Jerry’s yesterday- choosing the fairly exotic “pumpkin cheesecake” flavor to avoid the temptation of chocolate. I suppose free food is always suspicious…

The night before (and yesterday as leftovers for lunch), I tried a new restaurant in Woodley Park, a part of my neighborhood. It was an Indian restaurant, and I found the food quite delicious. However, I suppose Indian food is always a culprit for this kind of thing…

And the day before that, I tried yet another restaurant in the Adams Morgan part of my neighborhood. It had a beautiful little terrace to sit outside and enjoy the early spring evening. Since this experience was, by shear time passed, not tied to my unpleasant experience last night, I can say that Meze was a great little Turkish restaurant with good food.

So who knows what is to blame? Isn’t that like life though, you can go about your regular day, doing regular things and sometimes everything is fine and normal, but every so often, you do the exact same ordinary things, and it is like having eaten the poisoned apple.