Life in the Time of Corona | Tehran, Iran

What is Time? What is Life?

So yeah, 2020 has been a doozy alright. We are living in the CRAZY Corona times! This is not the La Vida Loca any of us had in mind. How are you doing and how are you holding up? How’s the “new normal” treating you? Yeah, yeah, I can imagine. One solace is that we are all in it together.

By now the shock has worn off — although profound incredulity of the reality of a futuristic horror movie lingers. It is amazing how we get used to things and adjust and cope by baking banana bread to Zooming like it’s our business (well, it is now) to getting on Tik Tok (I’m holding out) to making memes.

This unexpected windfall of lots of free time would have been great to read all the books, do all the never-have-time-to-do-this things, or even to learn a new language like Goop suggested. Right!

Maybe you’ve been using the time productively? Unlike some of you and Gwyentte & her ilk, I instead ate my feelings and fully embraced the sweet oblivion of being a couch potato. Night became day and sometimes I went to sleep just as dawn was breaking and the birds were starting to sing. What is time after all but a human construct? Par for the course during these surreal days of staying home and hibernating and investing in comfort-food therapy, there was also digesting tons of tons of media. Just like all of you!

I did binge watch Tiger King (Woah Nelly!) and right at the beginning, I downloaded and watched Contagion, which, 1) pre-Goop Gwyneth is in it, 2) it was a much better movie than I expected, and 3) scared the daylights out of me, and 4) is surreal how closely it predicted the future.

 

Psychic’s Covid19 prediction & “Not End of World” headline screenshots as a collage

Psychic Sylvia Brown‘s pandemic prediction! Does it give you chills? And Washington Post’s “Not the Apocalypse” headline. The hauntedly deserted Washington DC does look positively Zombie apocalypse eerie though.

Speaking of predicting the future, you all saw those The Simpsons clips predicting the future like Trump’s presidency and the Coronavirus, right? At the onset of our modern plague, it was all over the Internet and everyone was sharing it with their friends. If you missed it, Google it and go down that animated wormhole.

Then Kim Kardashian shared the psychic Sylvia Brown’s 2008 prediction of our 2020 pandemic on her Instagram page. The accuracy is eerie, no? But it probably was just a good guess.

Thank Goodness this pandemic is not the end of the world apocalypse. At least according to The Washington Post. Although the image of the deserted Washington DC street in the article does look exactly like a scene out of a zombie apocalypse flick.

 

toilet paper birthday cake screenshot juxtaposed with Virus Panic Buy article

Virus panic drove some to hoard toilet paper but inspired @familyspice to bake this genius TP birthday cake.

When the going gets tough, the tough get going. To the market. To buy all the food and collect all the toilet paper.

Yes. When the news of the pandemic hit, people hit the stores. Hard. Emptying shelves and stockpiling which is a nice word for hoarding. Here in Iran people stockpiled as well but maybe they did a poor job of it because none of the stores in my neighborhood ran out of any necessities.

What did happen, though, is that overnight the price of things, especially things like ginger, turnip, garlic & lemon & turmeric skyrocketed. Precisely the kind ingredients and produce that Iranian people tend to use when trying to boost immunity and/or cure the common cold and ailments.

Now while heedless people were hoarding toilet paper, the very talented @Familyspice made this iconic TP Birthday Cake for her son! I recommend you check it out on her Instagram page.

 

Martha Stewart’s Instagram screenshots. Drinking with her household staff & pic of 39 types of salt pantry porn

Do yourself a favor and follow Martha’s Instagram. She has 2 accounts. I prefer the less informal @MarthaStewart48 It is a trip and a joy.

One of my joys during these times has been following Martha’s Corona time escapades on her Instagram page. Not the official one, the blog one.

She’s dubbed her gardener, housekeeper, and driver who are quarantining with her as her “detainees” and she toasts them with Martha-Ritas and feeds and feasts them with delicious meals and homemade Irish soda bread and sometimes even caviar in her awesome kitchen.

Martha: PLEASE detain me!

 

Martha Stewart’s organized pantry photo and detailed caption description on Instagram

Behold Martha Stewart’s organized pantry. Read the caption! It is poetry!

 

Naturally, Martha has been Martha Stewarting her way during these trying times. For example, she organized her pantry. (I organized my pantry too! It’s the most soothing activity ever!)

During this revamping project of her pantry, Martha inventoried that she has 39 different types of salt and 24 types of olive oil!

Oh Martha! Your life! I swear! Anyway, I adore the woman. Do yourself a favor and start following her Instagram accounts.

Andy Cohen with tie dye bandana mask snoopy tshirt in NY & Daily Mail article of covidiot licking stuff

I totally dig @bravoandy’s trendy to die for tie-dye bandana mask. I totally do not dig covidiots like this guy.

 

If you’re into Bravo and reality TV you know who that guy sporting the Snoopy t-shirt and trendy tie-dye bandana mask is. Andy Cohen’s Coronatime outfit is so cheerful and colorful. I like the juxtaposition of it with the somber reality of Coronatime.

On the one hand, we have people like Andy Cohen and Martha Stewart who not only are responsibly observing quarantine but in addition, creating delightful content on Instagram; on the other hand, we have covidiots. Like the guy pictured licking the store products.

Surely their few brain cells rattle in their empty heads?

We definitely had covidiots in Iran as well.

One thing this pandemic has truly driven home for me is that idiocy and lack of common sense are, alas, universal human traits, and not the domain of any one culture.

 

Homeschooling Pandemic funny meme & Photoshopped pic of Queen Elizabeth & Angela Merkel

 

You know what else is a universal human trait? Making memes!

Thank God for Internet culture for allowing us to while away hours and blissfully forget reality and thank the good lord for memes infusing the harsh realities of the pandemic with humor.

Memes like this make me giggle like a crazy woman and I can’t get enough of them.

And you know what they say? Laughter is the best medicine. Just FYI, here’s Elle magazine’s link to 118 Best Coronavirus Memes. 🙂

Life in the Time of Corona in Tehran, Iran

 

Female Iranian athlete training on Tehran rooftop

During the Covid19 pandemic lockdown, Sara, a cross-training and kickboxing coach trains on the rooftop of her home in Tehran, Iran. Photo: @farzam.saleh @podiumphotos

In Iran, we went into the government-mandated Corona lockdown the last week of February. A few weeks ahead of most of you, that is.

A casualty of life in the time of Corona was the celebration of the Persian New Year. Norooz was effectively null and void. How were friends and family supposed to visit each other (a major tenet of this ancient celebration) when you were supposed to quarantine and social distance? I did half-heartedly try to sprout some sabzeh for Haft Seen but my heart was not in it at all and I basically gave up the whole sorry affair halfway through.

Other casualties were the type of normal activities that we all took for granted before, like going for a walk, or going to the gym, or consuming fruit without obsessively washing it with water and soap. Athletes, as well as ordinary people, took to the rooftops to train, exercise, and get some fresh air. (Photo courtesy of Farzam Saleh of @PodiumPhotos)

For the past several weeks, coinciding with my boycott of the news, I’ve started taking a daily walk. I head out super early when the streets are either empty or sparsely populated. Spring has sprung and May is the most beautiful month in Iran so I just couldn’t deprive myself of venturing out. And so far, so good. Knock on wood. But before, I would just go up on the roof as often as I could (when I was not depressed) to get some air and get some steps in — the fresh air doing a body good and the view of the sky and the glorious mountains didn’t hurt either.

 

 

sign requiring masks, gloves & social distancing to enter bookstore; and Covid19 PSA city banner in Tehran, Iran

R: Corona PSA Banners in Tehran | L: Bookstore’s mask, gloves & social distancing entry rules.

During the shutdown, if you ventured out in Tehran (and you were supposed to step out only if you had to), you basically walked through a ghost town … shuttered stores, practically no sign of life, and the normal street traffic castrated from a roaring obnoxious beast into an eerily meek hermit.

Recently the lockdown has been partially lifted. The other day I walked past my favorite local neighborhood bookstore and noticed that it’s finally open for business but with a sign stand in front of the entrance spelling out the requirements of masks, gloves, and social distancing to enter the store.

Galleries, places of public gathering, and almost all cafes and restaurants remain closed. For the time being.

The New Normal is …

Persian coworkers on Rooftop meeting during the Corona pandemic in Tehran, Iran

Hamava Innovation Factory colleagues (@hamava_if meeting on the rooftop of their building in Tehran. Photo: @noooshafarin

Nearly 3 months into the shutdown, a lot of companies in Iran have finally opened up again for work, but obviously with the addition of plenty of new rules and regulations and safeguard restrictions. And as the case may be, with innovative approaches. Like using the outdoor spaces & rooftops when available. (Photo courtesy of @noooshafarin of @hamava_if)

Roofs have been seeing a lot of action and experiencing a renaissance of sorts since Corona slapped us in the face! A newfound appreciation in Iran for this otherwise neglected part of a building’s anatomy heretofore relegated to solely housing ungainly-looking air conditioning units and satellite dishes.

 

Theatre folks in Tehran Iran sewing masks in the empty Hafez Hall Theatre

Theatre community in Tehran sewing masks in the iconic Hafez Hall Theatre during the Covid19 lockdown in Iran. Photo: @RaminPay74

Now check out these photos of the theatre community in Tehran joining together and setting up a mask sewing assembly in the iconic Hafez Hall Theatre which otherwise would be sitting empty due to the shutdown. Beautiful pix courtesy of @RaminPay74

You know how earlier I said this pandemic has driven home for me that covidiots can be found in any culture and that lack of common sense is sadly prevalent across borders?

On a much brighter note, the pandemic has also proven that far outnumbering the covidiots are a great number of people all over the world who give, help, and sacrifice and who rise to this epic challenge in ways big and small. A great number of humans who are simply amazing and inspiring. Speaking of inspiring, hail to the doctors, nurses, and essential workers who are all truly heroes.

What say you to concluding on this uplifting note?

 

Parting Shot #1: Obviously this post is meant as a lighthearted storytime of our absurd era & not a somber or deep reflection on reality. I hope you won’t mind that I didn’t get into anything too heavy or too painful or too real here. It’s just not the venue for that. I know that we all care about and are greatly concerned with the state of the world and that our hearts and thoughts are with all those adversely affected who struggle or who have suffered illness, hardship, grief, or loss.

Parting Shot #2: A day after finishing this post but before publishing it, I ventured on a day-long urban hike all the way from my home to the 8 mile long trek up north to Tajrish Bazaar – a bazaar that is truly a marvel of mazes and marvelous goodies and a foodie heaven. This was my first true venture into the world outside of my neighborhood and it looks like all the shops are open. Life seems almost normal, except that half the population sports masks or face shields and traffic is much less horrid than it’d be so ordinarily. Tajrish Bazaar itself was not teeming with people, as it’d be usually, but it was not a ghost town either. I posted tons of videos of this venture slash adventure of mine on my Instagram Stories and saved it all in the “DIL” highlights and if you’re interested in a slice of life look at day in the life in Tehran, you may want to take a look. Come to think of it, do follow me on Instagram if you’re not already. 🙂

Parting Shot #3: I have decided to go ahead and finally monetize the site (putting clickable ads on the site) with the goal of ultimately being able to work on the blog on a full-time full-concentration basis. If you enjoy the blog and my work would like to support me, I’d greatly appreciate it if you would click on the ads. Another way you can support me is to please consider spreading the word about the blog with your friends and family. Thank you! Love you!

Parting Shot #4: I like “parting shot” better than “post script” for the PS acronym 😉

 

Hope you are all doing OK. Stay healthy and happy, and till soon!

 

 

 

 

 

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