Italy’s Message From the Future

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S1: Know, Lou. Hi, Larry. Yesterday, I called up a journalist in Grétar, Private Tara. Yeah, it’s me.

S2: She says she lives in Milan. So you live in Milan, but your husband’s American?

S3: Yeah. My husband is from Detroit, Michigan. He’s actually like a suburb of Detroit in a city called Northville lately.

S2: Gret and her husband have been spending a lot of time on the phone with his family back in the states, trying to explain how coded 19 has changed their reality. Can you put me on those phone calls with his family? Because you’re in Italy. You’re under lockdown, right?


S4: Yeah. Yeah. But, you know, it’s crazy. It seems like we have a face time and we talk and they’re like, oh, how is being there? Lifeguard’s horrible and they’re talking like it’s something that is happening here. So they’re like. I’m so sorry for you guys.

S5: And I am very sorry because I feel like it’s gonna happen to you, too. Probably.

S6: Greg, his father in law. He’s still playing hockey three times a week. And last he checked, her mother in law was still going to the grocery store.

S4: But then I did the same thing like. Till the day two weeks ago, I went. That was the last time I went out on my gate.


S2: Do you feel a little crazy on those phone calls? Like it can be socially awkward to be the person who’s like, listen, pay attention. You have to pay attention to this.


S7: I feel like I. Some I have the I have the feeling with few people I talked with. Of memory. Some people make friends that at the beginning I felt like I was.

S4: Others say I wasn’t like rooting for America. Huh? Like, I felt like it was like a curse.

S1: Curse. Like a curse. Like. Like a spell.

S8: Gretta says when she dials up the United States, she feels like the wicked witch in a fairy tale arriving to curse an innocent baby or a young princess. She knows what’s coming and it isn’t good.


S9: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. I felt like that in a certain way.

S8: Deaths from this Corona virus have been surging in Italy, especially up north where Gretta lives. Thousands are in intensive care. The health system is overrun. And Gretta? She can see the beginnings of this same kind of strain when she talks to her American friends.

S10: I talked to the mother of a friend of mine in Michigan. She works for Elspeth’s only in Michigan. And she’s a physician and she doesn’t.

S11: She said we don’t have masks and we don’t have. So it’s the same story everywhere.

S7: Something I felt like offended a little bit because I’m like, how could you not think that?


S11: How did you think you were invincible? Do you think the virus was in behaving a different way in America or in other country?

S4: But then I stop and say, that’s the same thought I had China. So I understand that thought.

S6: Today on the show, Life Under Lockdown. I’ve been living like this for four days. Gretta. She’s been living this way for four weeks. I’m Mary Harris. You’re listening to what next. Stick with us.


S2: I’m sitting here in New York and I feel like you are my future.

S3: Yeah, exactly. I’m you in ten days now, maybe more. Two weeks.

S2: Grétar Privateer Out learns more about this Corona virus outbreak each day, but it’s not abstract learning anymore.


S3: Like a week ago, I knew people that knew people who were sick. Now I know people that died. They you can hear ambulances all the time now.

S12: Yeah, it’s like literally, literally like just like day and night. Yeah.

S13: Imbaba Gummow, which is a city near me, Nan. It’s a really nice city, actually, but it’s very hit by the code on a virus. And the ambulance that I you could hear ambulances during night and days and they stopped the sound of the ambulances. How do you call it seediness?

S3: The siren. You. Yeah, the siren.

S13: The sound they make. Yeah, exactly.

S14: They say stop it because people were freaking out. So they’re not using it anymore.


S12: They’re not using the sirens. No. No. Because I guess they don’t need them because no one’s on the streets. And you know, it’s scary because they’re it’s your neighbor.

S15: It’s the street next to you.

S16: It’s the place where you used to. I mean, it’s the people you know, these these cities very hit by Corona virus. There’s like too many people that are dying there.

S2: So tell me a little bit about how you’re living now. You have two little kids. Do you live in an apartment or a house?

S17: We are lucky because we live in a really old villa. We have a backyard. So that’s very, very good. Now, this week is the fourth week that we.


S14: The kids are home from school. It’s for week that we are working from home. Both of us. And we we’re freaking out.

S18: It’s very hard to work and have the young kids that always want something or need something want or they are bored or they’re hungry or they fight.

S4: And you have an article to send or you have my phone call.

S17: So it’s very intense. So we are dividing. Are they in? I work in the morning. My husband tried to work in the afternoon and very often late night. Then we tried to entertain the kids and we cook up everything we can cook. We cook and the kids. I feel like I have a two year old daughter and she’s fine.


S19: Even if today she look at me in my hives and said, Mom, I want to go in the car because she doesn’t know what to say.

S20: Let’s get out of the gate like she wants to say something like saying, let’s do something that is different.

S21: The other my my my daughter. She’s six.

S22: She’s very sensitive and even if I we show her all the videos about coronavirus.

S9: Do you know the videos made for kids to explain the situation?

S23: We talked like if it was like something not so scary. But she can feel the fear we we are experiencing. Two nights ago, she woke up and she screamed. Then she was scared. She said, I dreamt Corona virus. I dreamt that a kid was holding the Corona virus on his hand and they touched you and you got sick and you’re like, no, it’s okay.


S19: But she was crying. And they said, no, it’s fine.


S23: And sometimes they are saying, which is funny. Kind of crazy. She’s playing with whatever dolls. And she says, go away, coronavirus. Go away, huh?

S21: And then I go, oh, cool, you’ve just experienced trauma here.

S2: So, oh, my gosh, what’s what’s your procedure for? Just the basics. Like getting groceries. Can you leave? Like how stringent this lockdown?

S21: Actually, we tried to do online shopping, but the problem is that Amazon Prime is serving really, really lots of problems.

S22: So if you do the shot, the grocery shop shopping, let’s say today you’re gonna get the food maybe in four days if you’re lucky.


S21: So yesterday my husband went grocery shopping and they put gloves on, mask, glasses, and then we clean all the packages because that’s another thing they say to do.

S12: We clean all the packages.

S24: Yeah. Because, you know, the new studies say the Corona virus stay on plastic for hours and hours. So we try to clean a little bit, not clean like, you know, we took a paper towel and we put alcohol on it and we tried to clean it.

S23: That’s how we deal with life right now. And it’s kind of depressing sometimes. Very depressing.

S25: Like I I will say, I received a call, a day of a friend to say I’m very depressed.

S2: Huh. It’s funny you say that because I feel like here in the U.S., there’s been that video going around of everyone singing.

S26: Yeah. Yeah.

S7: That’s the thing, because we know if you ever been in Italy, but it’s really, I would say, going country.

S24: And if you live in a big building with balconies, the balconies, the way you talk with people.


S22: So there is a people that decided to do this.

S27: I would say flash mobs where everyone at 6:00 p.m., they all they all go out and sing a song or they all dance or try to. Those are people that just play instruments. Which is cool.

S28: Which is cool.

S23: But for example, in Bergamo, this city, I was talking to you before I talk to a girl yesterday that said her father died and a few days ago and she told me, if I hear somebody singing from the balcony, I will like go to their house and punch them, because if there’s a thing I don’t want to hear is people singing now.

S29: So she said that in Bergamo, nobody’s doing this because there’s too many people that are dying.

S30: I want to talk a little bit about what happens when people get sick, when people get sick.

S28: The ambulance comes and pick you up and take you to the hospital. You know, I feel like if you go to the hospital now, it’s a it’s like going to the to hell.

S17: And the problem is that if you end up in intensive care or in intensive care, you’re not you’re not gonna talk to your family anymore.

S10: Probably they have a helmet with oxygen on it on their head.

S12: And so they’re not able to speak on the phone. It sounds like a spacesuit.

S25: Yeah, exactly. It looks like that if you Google it, you can see it. So it’s the step before the intensive care.

S10: I hear lots of stories of doctors that try to help the patient when they are so set.


S18: Like I read this story that there was this old woman, old lady, that she felt like she was dying. So she had the helmet on and she has two doctor to help her. And she wanted to say goodbye to her granddaughter.

S31: And the doctor face time, the granddaughter and the little old lady say goodbye.

S16: And after a few hours, she died. And that’s not like a or regional story. Like there’s too many sorry like that. Doctors are the link between the families and the patient. And so if you are lucky enough to have a good one that is very sensitive, then you’re going to use face time or Skype or whatever to help you say goodbye, or at least to say hi to your parent, to your family.

S2: So you’re saying like the good outcome is the doctor brings your phone to face time with your family if you’re lucky enough.

S12: And then you die alone. You die very alone.

S28: That’s another thing like the solitude of this. This virus creates a lot of solitude.

S31: Trade started in our families that create Sudeten in the patient.

S18: Then doctors, too, because they’re too busy. They say that we don’t even talk to each other like we are like in our mask.

S32: Gloves go on. They say the way the suit that they wear. And we are just working, working, working.

S18: We don’t. And most of them, they don’t even go back home. They start because they’re scared to be infected and to pass the infection to the family. So this virus has a lot to do with solitude. Maybe we’ll learn something from this.


S12: You say you’ve known people who died of Corona virus. You. Yeah. Yeah. What happens then? Yeah. And then there’s there’s another suit called Hell because you die alone and then you stay there.

S33: Sometimes they take you like you cannot have a funeral now because you cannot have more than two people together. So there is a loss of body in the churches and in the cemetery waiting for the funeral. And I heard horrible stories about another city. It’s Naples, which is in the south of Brittany. And the coronavirus is not bad as it is here. And I heard the story of a guy the day the video on Facebook because his sister died from coronavirus in a suspected coronavirus. And the funeral home didn’t want to pick her up because they were unprepared. Dino Chale coronavirus and did do an IRA. The right instruments to treat the body. And so they stayed with the body of the sister for hours, maybe more than a day at home. And they did a video on Facebook and you could see the body of the sea. So I didn’t even watch the video because I didn’t want to see that. And asking for help. He was saying, we don’t know what to do. We’re going crazy. The situation is like that. And so at the end, because of the video, because of the news, there was a funeral home to help them.

S2: I feel like part of the reason we wanted to speak to you is because you’re like this messenger from the future. And I wonder if you had to call yourself up like back in time before this happened, before you were in lockdown. What would you tell yourself about what’s about to happen?


S34: Yes, I would say, dear grana, please stay at home.

S35: Please give up your legal needs. Like going out for a cup of tea, nor a coffee in the morning.

S36: Give up as soon as you can. I’m going out with friends because if you want your life back again, as is now, you, you need to give up now.

S37: Some beavers and some.

S5: You have to. You have to be careful because it’s gonna happen. Like the virus behaves in any study as he behaves in China, in friends in other country.

S36: So we have to give up our freedom a little bit because we one day will be so sad because our fathers of our friends will die, because our neighbor will die. And we cannot stop that. The only thing we can do to help the doctors to our patient is stay home.

S34: It’s saving life remain and saving life.

S38: Gretta Privat, Tara, thank you so much for joining me. Thank you so much for having me. Thank you so much for sharing our story. Grétar Private Tara is a journalist living in Italy. You can follow her on Twitter at Grétar Private tarar.

S39: And that’s the show. Keep calling and leaving messages about how you’re coping during this really strange time. Are you going to work? Have you lost a job? Are you one of the retired health care workers who’s been asked to come back and help at your old hospital? Tell me.

S40: Give a call at 2 0 2 8 8 8 2 5 8 8. You can also tweet at me.

S39: I’m at Maria’s desk. I asked Gritta how she’s coping.


S41: Stuck indoors with a couple of kids talking with friends, his l.p and also face time. He’s helping and taking a shower is good too.

S40: I feel so like simpatico with you, but that’s totally my shower is like. I’m like, I have to take a shower now. No one can come in here.

S41: Exactly. But, you know, like, for example, Saturday I took a shower and I was like, OK, that’s my time. No kids, nobody. So comes the first one. And she’s already naked. She jumped in the shower with me. I’m like, no, why? That was my shower. Then she left the door of the shower open and the dog came inside the shower a lot. She loves water. So we had hung in the shower. The other one, the cycle that safaree and she was really naked through and came to my shower. So the shower with the kids and the dogs. So it’s like this is the worst day of the week. It was my best time.

S40: This show is produced by Mary Wilson, Mara Silvers, Jason De Leon and Danielle Hewitt. This week, we had some extra help from Allison Benedikt and Susan Matthews. I’m Mary Harris. I will be back in your feed on Monday. Stay healthy.