Lara was very careful. She lived in the same house as her in-laws. Both were over 80 years old and belonged to the risk category. It was a two-family house with a garden. The parents-in-law lived on the ground floor and she herself lived on the first floor with her husband.
In the garden they met almost daily and from time to time they ate at the parents-in-law, with Lara alternating with her mother-in-law with cooking. Hans, Lara’s husband, had diabetes and so Lara had to protect all three from the corona virus. Lara, who worked for an insurance company in customer service, applied to her boss for permission to work from home as early as the end of February. She was granted it without further ado. So, Lara sat at home in her small office for almost 2 months and talked to customers on the phone from morning to night, just like she did every day. Although she did the same, it was more demanding than usual. Lara was very tired every evening and from Friday to Saturday she managed to sleep 11 hours to recover from the strain.
On Wednesday the screen of her PC stayed black and she had not managed to get it working again. She was still able to make phone calls, but without access to the internal data, she could not give any information. Lara had to go to the office to have her PC replaced. It was very unpleasant, and Lara was afraid of it. But she knew that there was no way around it. She made an appointment with the IT manager at 10 a.m. and set off. The building was completely empty. The main entrance was open, and the reception was manned by one person. But otherwise empty. No visitors, no staff. No one at all. Lara disinfected her hands with the set-up disinfectant. She greeted the man at the reception and wanted to take the elevator to the 4th floor but the receptionist told her that they were not working and that she had to take the stairs. Lara was not used to such an effort and already on the 3rd floor she had difficulties to get enough air. There were several people in the IT department, but they were all sitting in different corners. Lara put her PC on a desk and Peter, the IT person in charge with whom she talked on the phone today, nodded and said that it would be ready around 4 o’clock.
That was very unpleasant. What should Lara do now? She decided to go to her office where there were also permanently installed computers and work there until the afternoon. She was sure that she would be all alone. And so, she did, she met nobody and sat all alone in the big office. She settled in and began to make phone calls like every day. After an hour she realized she had to go to the toilet. It was just down the hall, around the corner. But when she got to the toilet and tried to push down the door handle, she noticed that the door did not open. There was a note on the door saying that the toilet was closed and that there was only one open one on the ground floor by the entrance. Lara did not want to believe it and tried the next one on her stick. But in fact, this toilet was also closed. With a heavy heart she made her way to the ground floor. For some reason there was nobody at the reception now and she couldn’t find the toilet. There was no one to ask. Slowly it got more precarious. Lara started to search the ground floor again systematically to find the open toilet. No success. It occurred to her that not far away from her building there is a Coop and she decided to go to the toilet there. As she was leaving the building, the receptionist saw her coming towards them. She asked him for the toilet, and he explained that the toilets are behind the cloakroom. Lara was relieved. At the same time, she now had to climb the whole staircase up to her office. When she arrived at her workplace, she was quite exhausted. She didn’t dare to drink, and she did without her lunch break. The growling stomach punished her for that, but the idea that she would have to run down and up the stairs again was too horrible. Sometime at 2 o’clock in the afternoon she still had to go to the toilet on the ground floor, even though she tried to hold it until it didn’t work anymore.
At 4 o’clock sharp she picked up her PC from Peter in the IT department. At home she came home completely exhausted and the first thing she did was to take a shower to make sure she didn’t get a virus. She disinfected the PC and finally she could have a drink and eat. On Friday morning she gratefully sat down at her desk in her small office at home. Home office may be exhausting, but life out there is even more exhausting.
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