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If Freud had lived in the time of coronavirus

23 May

He would have realized that penis envy is nothing compared to mask envy. I’ve seen several in the last 15 minutes I wish I had. Fesch!

Alice in Wonderland?

10 May

In the last 24 hours I have seen two of these actually well-executed white rabbits. I know we usually go in for Kafka more, but how can one not suspect someone is implying that the times we live in, even in Vienna, are like Alice in Wonderland?

What do my readers think?

Subdued

12 Apr

That is the word that, for me, describes the mood in Vienna this Easter weekend. It’s common to have little traffic in Vienna at this time of year because so many people who live in Vienna go back to their hometowns to celebrate Easter with their families. This year, this kind of traveling around is being discouraged to prevent the virus traveling with people. This means that there are more residents in the city than there ordinarily would be, but we all seem to be maintaining a respectful quietness. Yesterday and perhaps today I would have expected some loud music at least, but we seem to be quite subdued.

Fresh air

4 Apr

Every morning I get out of bed and open the window to sniff the air and see what kind of day it is. We are just wrapping up Week 3 of our lockdown and, after reading about the reduction of air pollution in places like Wuhan and Los Angeles, every morning I have been hoping that the air would be noticeably fresher. And every morning it still had the metallic bite characteristic of air in Vienna. Until about two days ago, when the air was suddenly softer and even held a trace of sweet spring smells. In the parks it’s even more obvious. Fresh air!

Will the ante be upped?

19 Mar

There was some question today whether the parks would be closed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. A friend of mine was quite worked up about it because–as so often happens–the people who were behaving carelessly were ruining things for the rest of us. (She said people had been partying in the park near her.)

Given that this was hanging over our heads, I checked the news especially before going out with Maylo this afternoon and saw that the Minister of Health had specifically said that parks were not (yet) going to be closed. Nonetheless, it was hard to miss the police present in one of the parks we often walk in. Three police officers just keeping an eye on the distance between people and occasionally speaking to pairs or trios, asking them to move farther away from each other.

Because I was alone with Maylo they didn’t say anything to me. We even were able to sit in the sun a bit. Then there came the announcement over the bullhorn, “Hier ist die Polizei. Bitte gehen Sie nach Hause.” (“This is the police. Please go home.”) Slowly, reluctantly, people got up and started to shuffle, more or less, home. It was only when Maylo and I were about halfway home that I realized they were almost certainly talking to a specific group of people, no doubt behaving carelessly. They only said it once and did not do a tour of the park.

We shall see where we go from here.

What some Viennese choose when they have three wishes

4 Mar

This, too, is a side of life in Vienna. The good fairy offers the Viennese man three wishes. First he asks for a soft liver. And then for two more beers.

Political colors in Austria

8 Jan

I may have written before about the colors of Austria’s political parties–black used to be the color of the ÖVP (the conservative party), turquoise is the color of the new ÖVP under Sebastian Kurz, red is the color of the SPÖ (the social democratic party), pink is for the NEOs (the neoliberals), blue is the color of the FPÖ (the right-wing nationalist party), and green is, I believe, self-explanatory.

Commenting on the new coalition government, formed by the turquoise and green parties, President Alexander van der Bellen (formerly of the Greens now an independent) said he hoped for a red-white-red government. Nothing to do with political parties this time. Red-white-red are the colors of the Austrian flag.