You both live in countries governed by idiots and populated by an above-average number of crazies. This means that you have to rely on your own wits in the current corona situation. KEEP YOUR DISTANCE FROM OTHER PEOPLE AND WASH YOUR HANDS.

Thank you for asking repeatedly how I am doing (I got more How’re-you-doings in the last three weeks than in the last three decades). This shows that you take the situation seriously as is warranted. The answer to your question is: fine. And hey, KEEP YOUR DISTANCE FROM OTHER PEOPLE AND WASH YOUR HANDS.

Before I give you the lowdown from CH-4932, a half a dozen pointers.

  • KEEP YOUR DISTANCE FROM OTHER PEOPLE AND WASH YOUR HANDS. That’s the only rule you have to really follow. Religiously. Don’t let people hug you.
  • Given the idiocy of your respective ruler, do not believe whatever he says. Nothing.  Check everything he says against reliable sources. In the US, the Centers for Disease Control are excellent. In the UK, the “scientific community” seems as nuts as Downing 10, but the Guardian is pretty good. The really essential rules are only two: KEEP YOUR DISTANCE FROM OTHER PEOPLE AND WASH YOUR HANDS. This applies to your own household, too.
  • Beware of the 150-percenters who will play citizen-police. Also beware of the end-of-timers who are seizing the moment to twist the world according to their whims. Be reasonable and trust your own brain. KEEP YOUR DISTANCE FROM OTHER PEOPLE AND WASH YOUR HANDS applies to such contacts, too.
  • Don’t have a cow. We are not “in a war”. Move away from everyone who speaks like that. “In a war” means that the little people like us are screwed. This crisis is also not the end of the world.  At best, it is the end of some excesses, and god knows for how long. Life will go on. Take a breather and reflect on what’s next for you.
  • KEEP YOUR DISTANCE FROM OTHER PEOPLE AND WASH YOUR HANDS. Make sure you have enough soap in the house. Get disposable plastic gloves and use them (at the ATM, the gas station, in the grocery store). If you can get a hand on some sanitizer, buy it. Also, get some hand cream. Frequent washing hurts the skin.
  • Remember that this is not only about you. KEEP YOUR DISTANCE FROM OTHER PEOPLE AND WASH YOUR HANDS is equally about protecting the health systems from collapsing which in turn would lead to tens of thousands avoidable deaths. You both live in countries with fragile health systems. Check your insurance situations and find out how low on the totem poles of “access” and triage you would end up.


Regarding myself, I am stuck here with your grandmother. Cannot go to New York (a foreigner) or anywhere else. I offered to leave, but your grandmother just said “jowohär”. She had a point as I was not able to find an alternative abode in any case. So I am here. Weather permitting, I might pitch the tent on the lawn.

We are ok. Better than many others. The house is big enough, there is a yard and a garden. I go jogging in the forest but nowhere else. Our neighbors do the shopping. We can drink our water, the freezer is stuffed, the wine cellar still reasonably stocked. There is stuff to do, for instance a family tree of the Raemihus folks. Not to mention the saxophone.

In a way, your grandmother has livened up. She is antsy about starting the garden, and she follows the news intently on the radio. She now lives through the second large crisis of her 100 years, not to mention the Spanish flu at the end of World War I when she was born and her grandfather died of the “Grippe” (btw, I just found out that your grandfather also had a bad case of  the Spanish flu, suffering from aftereffects for years). Your grandmother often makes comparisons between the World War II situation and now. In some ways now is tougher, she says. During the war, restaurants were open and people were free to gather, but they had no money and of course the borders were closed (I once did research about that time and it is very interesting to see that there were people who indeed were able to travel to and from Switzerland, but this is another story).  Your grandmother says the main difference is the money. There was none then and there is aplenty now. During the war years the little people were dirt poor, there were no social institutions nor a social – to be precise: social-democratic – state. When she talks about the terrible thirties and the wartime, your grandmother says “we never had to go hungry”. Today there is help, or help promised. Hunger is not an issue, but people talk a lot about the psychological effects of being alone and not finding anything else to do than watching Netflix. Some days ago I saw that “Der Bund” published an article about the horrible, horrible stage of the heroin junkies in Bern who have to spread out before they get their free government-issued shots, and does that not put a terrible psychological stress on those poor souls. My ass.

If there is help, don’t be shy to ask for it. And yes – keep in mind that you can go to Switzerland. The situation here is not perfect at all but it is certainly better than in the fief of the Caudillo in the White House and in the land of the odd accents.

Keep your upper lips stiff and your peckers up!

PS: The Swiss government working with the banks has made good on the promise to help people in dire straits. As of tomorrow, businesses can get up to half a million Francs immediately and interest-free from their bank to meet their payrolls. Artists and small promoters are also entitled for help.

PPS:  Read this.