BREAKING the monotony of quarantine and providing an offline ‘social life’, residents in built-up areas all over Spain rarely miss their ‘evening clapping session’: At 20.00, balconies and front windows nationwide resound with applause for the health service, which turns into loud whoops and cheers whenever a police car, taxi, delivery driver or ambulance passes.
In the case of the police and ambulances, clappers are usually rewarded by a jingle on sirens and a flash of blue lights.
Curiously, a high number of members of the public, all over the country, have noticed that the health service applause has been brought forward to 19.58, which has sparked a slew of amusing observations on Twitter: “Next time we arrange to meet in the bar at 20.00, we really mean 19.58,” and, “It’s 20.00 – 19.00 in the Canaries – and 19.58 on the balcony.”
As if Spain’s collective hands were not already sore, another national applause has been scheduled – this time, for tomorrow (Saturday), at 18.00.
It’s for all the children in Spain who cannot go outside to play, who are forced to stay off school and missing their friends, whose sports, social, arts and musical activities – which the majority of kids in the country take part in after school – are cancelled until further notice and those who have parents isolated from them with the Coronavirus and will not be able to see them for at least the next two weeks.
Also, older teenagers are fretting about their exams – fifth form, sixth form and university entrance – since, although the latter has been postponed until July, the others hang in the balance, and none of the students has any face-to-face support from their teachers or classmates and has to rely entirely on online contact or YouTube tutorials.
“The children of Spain deserve [this applause] and lots more besides,” said the organisers, La Pastilla Roja.
In its logo (pictured above), the message reads Sois los mejores (‘You’re the best’), referring to the children who are being so patient during the mandatory confinement.
Even though it has been raining almost non-stop in parts of the country, especially on the Mediterranean coast, the lockdown is set to continue until at least April 11, during which time the sun is likely to come out, a lot.
And other than kids who are lucky enough to live in villas with their own, enclosed garden and pool, the only chance they will get to see the sunshine will be from their balconies if they have them – even those in urbanisations with communal pools, gardens and parks are not allowed to use them.
For kids with a private pool and garden, the quarantine may not be too harsh, as they get a bit of freedom in the warm weather without having to go to class.
But some parents are having difficulty reminding their children they are not, in fact, on school holiday, and still, need to do at least some of their usual classroom work.