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Day 35 of Shanghai Lockdown

For the first time in a month, I ate a hot meal that I didn’t cook myself. Not gonna lie, I got a little teary. It’s from a restaurant only a block away from me. I saw a QR code outside of their restaurant yesterday during my (sneaky) loop around the block. There were boxes piled high outside of the door, and the 2 workers there told me I can join a group chat, where a group purchase link will be sent out where I can order delivery for the next day. Outside the restaurant, I saw 2 tents.

My meal came with a spicy latte, their specialty. The manager texted me and said “coffee’s on me. We can have a drink after the holidays. I mean the lockdown. Gosh, did I just call this a holiday? I must be losing my mind.” Same sis.

I asked her if their employees are sleeping in those tents outside of the restaurant, she said yes, closed-loop management. No one is allowed beyond their sub-district, and who among us get to live within 4-5 blocks of their place of work?

They haven’t increased their prices, even though costs have definitely gone up, because they’re afraid that people will think they’re profiting off the lockdown. But what about the human cost? What of the employees well-being and dignity, having to live in a tent just to work, to cook and serve food? What should we call this? Completely unnecessary, situational homelessness? Will that have to be included in our labor contracts going forward? “Mandatory homelessness may be required during government lockdowns.”

What do we call the people hauled into quarantine camps with no proof of positive test results from the CDC, after numerous negative self tests? Involuntary “hospitalization”? No treatment’s given at these camps. None. 3 meals and day and regular PCR testing, and dreary living conditions.

No one knows when this will end. And we won’t know how many businesses went bankrupt during this lockdown, or how many people’s lives were made worse or stupidly lost because they couldn’t access necessary medical treatment, or how many people’s hopes and dreams and plans were dashed.

I’m exhausted. I’m absolutely beat. But I’m fine. I have food, shelter, and furry companions. When this whole thing started, I thought to myself, well, I had really taken all the conveniences in Shanghai for granted. I hope I’ll remember to appreciate it after this lockdown.

Now? I think, screw that. I want to be spoiled.

Now? I think, screw that. I want to be spoiled. I want to order delivery again and have it arrive within 30 minutes and not worry about the dishes. I want to go do a comedy show and not worry about Health Code and 24/48hr test results. I want to fly back to Taipei with that 5-hour door-to-door convenience. It’s a pandemic. There are a lot of things out of our control. But nothing about this lockdown, at this point, feels like it’s about COVID or public health at all. I’ll leave it to the pundits to debate about its merits or what it’s all for or the political ramifications. For me, this just isn’t OK anymore.


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