So “Staying In In” is the new “Going Out Out” and it’s going to take a bit of getting used to for our young things, for all of us in fact. I might start trying to get good at cocktail making in an effort to keep our spirit (levels) up (“Quarantini’s”) and am taking inspiration from F.Scott Fitzgerald who, as you will see below, got his priorities right whilst quarantining 100 years ago.
We had our first attempt at staying IN IN last night after the pubs, clubs and restaurants got shut down – me and my daughter sitting in the garden with a gin and tonic (apparently the Malaria tablets are looking promising so keeping Quinine levels up is important). “This is literally the shittest Friday night I’ve ever had,” she commented mournfully. I feel so sorry for them all, what a massive shock to their busy social lives. So, naturally we had a few drinks in the end – nothing else to do and I was trying to cheer her up. By the end of the evening it looked like we’d had a small party, but we kept forgetting whose glass belonged to who so had to keep starting again to keep the germs at bay!
A LETTER FROM F. SCOTT FITZGERALD, QUARANTINED IN 1920 IN THE SOUTH OF FRANCE DURING THE SPANISH INFLUENZA OUTBREAK.
It was a limpid dreary day, hung as in a basket from a single dull star. I thank you for your letter. Outside, I perceive what may be a collection of fallen leaves tussling against a trash can. It rings like jazz to my ears. The streets are that empty. It seems as though the bulk of the city has retreated to their quarters, rightfully so. At this time, it seems very poignant to avoid all public spaces. Even the bars, as I told Hemingway, but to that he punched me in the stomach, to which I asked if he had washed his hands. He hadn’t. He is much the denier, that one. Why, he considers the virus to be just influenza. I’m curious of his sources.
The officials have alerted us to ensure we have a month’s worth of necessities. Zelda and I have stocked up on red wine, whiskey, rum, vermouth, absinthe, white wine, sherry, gin, and lord, if we need it, brandy. Please pray for us.
You should see the square, oh, it is terrible. I weep for the damned eventualities this future brings. The long afternoons rolling forward slowly on the ever-slick bottomless highball. Z. says it’s no excuse to drink, but I just can’t seem to steady my hand. In the distance, from my brooding perch, the shoreline is cloaked in a dull haze where I can discern an unremitting penance that has been heading this way for a long, long while. And yet, amongst the cracked cloudline of an evening’s cast, I focus on a single strain of light, calling me forth to believe in a better morrow.
F. Scott Fitzgerald