Day Six: Involuntary Discomfort

March 28, 2020 Covid

115000 confirmed cases worldwide and what else to write about but Berlin’s airport? This morning, Flo sent me an article that the city might close Tegel airport any day. With most flights having been canceled and the new airport set to open in the fall, they’re thinking about closing up shop earlier, directing all remaining flights to the other airport and permanently silencing the flight path that goes by our bedroom window.

It seems only fitting that it would take a global pandemic to resolve the odyssey that’s been Berlin’s most famous construction site, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we woke up in a few months without any airport at all.

I went for a bike ride with Adrian today, a 70km loop around the lakes in the north of the city. The sun is out, it’s warm, and going the distance feels great. I’m reminded of something I heard on a podcast a few days ago: Apparently, some people from the infamous life hacking community do what’s called voluntary discomfort”: They go to great lengths to make themselves so uncomfortable that their everyday, usual comfort regains some significance.

Sometimes, this crisis feels like one big societal experiment in involuntary discomfort; as though the lockdown is supposed to make everyday activities feel all the more significant. When I get home and look at my phone, the photos of cycling past the gleaming water and almost getting our hands bitten off by swans feel positively surreal.

Next: Day Seven: Escatological Anxiety

Previous: Day Four: Exponential Growth

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