After the extraordinarily joyous trip out of the house on Saturday morning, the rest of the weekend passed in a sort of haze of happiness, as if both a lifetime of cobwebs has been blown away and a colony of ants have been well shaken out of pants in one outing. Having seen the streets of Madrid full again with people taking advantage of their freedom, the quarantine has become a lot easier to manage psychologically. It seems that the mental health of a population has just taken a huge sigh of relief after struggling under the strain of fifty days of strict confinement.
While there is no doubt that people have had good intentions about sticking to the rules up to this point, the approach will change quickly now that we have been allowed out. Seeing the streets full of people making the most of the warm evenings will lull us into a false sense of security and efforts to maintain distances will certainly begin to erode. This evening for example I met up with my best mate for a cycle and a catch up without any physical contact. Although we were technically breaking the rules, we felt we were entitled to such an innocent rendezvous after not seeing each other for so long. Both of us had also spotted neighbours deliberately disregarding rules in their own flats the night before.
Having read about the Nordic countries much more laissez-faire approach to lockdown, my students keep referring to how different it is from the south European mentality and why this has justified our strict confinement. They rightfully predicted that as soon as the Spanish government gave us an inch, we would take a mile. Perhaps they will need to introduce a Lives of Others denunciation system of naughty neighbours and secret police to keep us all in line.