It is 7.30 am, and it is already Wednesday, the 7th of October 2020. I check if my breakfast has already been delivered, so I open up the door. I look through the hallway, and see only the 4 empty red metal cupboards. No breakfast, nothing. Disappointed, I close the door, and switch on my computer on my desk, turn on Netflix and started another episode of ‘Emily in Paris’. I hope, by watching the naïve Emily struggling in France will help me to improve my current state of mind. Usually, I really would never watch TV or Netflix during the day, as I feel it wastes your precious time, time that you can be productive, time that you have to be productive. Today I surrendered to my feeling that watching an episode from bed is allowed. I feel no power to fight against that depressive feeling of emptiness. At the same time, I realized for the first time in my life that when people are sad, or depressed they might have that same feeling. Weakness, emptiness, and maybe with the hope that watching some video might shift the focus from your own miserable situation to a different world, a better world that is created by the director of the movie. I watched an episode and for me, it helps, I do not feel alone anymore. I imagine myself also in Paris, strolling through the streets, look for a Patisserie to sit down on the sidewalk, buy a croissant, and while take a bite, hearing the crispy flakes cracking. This picture of Paris is not complete without a decent cup of hand crafted cappuccino by the local barista. Thinking of it, makes me feel warm inside, and for a second, I forget reality, that I am still locked up, and it is only day 3 of 14.
Suddenly, I hear knocking om my door, and as fast as I can, I open the door, hear again the alarm to remind me that I have to stay inside, and admire all the products that are placed on the red cupboard. I recognize the logo from the shop, and I am afraid my mind and stomach might not like this breakfast. As a child who is eagerly opening his birthday presents, I am confronted step by step by this American style breakfast. It consists of a roll with bacon and cheese, chicken nugget patty for a chickenburger, scrambled eggs, black tea and a half kiwi. I feel deceived, like a child who does not like the presents, he got from his parents. But what can you do? I feel like I want throw all the food on the hallway and shout: I AM IN TAIWAN, I DON’T WANT TO EAT A DISGUSTING ROLL WITH FAKE CHEESE AND BACON, AND PLEASE FEED THIS CHICKEN PATTY TO YOUR LOCAL FISH! I breath in, and breath out, and realize that that behaviour will not solve the problem. Maybe I would feel less angry, but it is definitely not a direction to a solution of the core problem. The problem that I do not want to eat this American style food, and especially not in Taiwan. I put myself together, take a bite of the roll and think about the movie ‘Pulp Fiction’ where Jules grabs the Big Kahuna hamburger and takes a bite, and says: “Uuummmm, this is, a tasty burger. Vincent, you ever had a Big Kahuna Burger? Wanna bite, there are very tasty.”. Then he grabs the Sprite from the table and says: “You mind if I have some of your tasty beverage to wash this down with?” (Click here to see the whole scene). Oh, I love that scene with a passion, like I hate this roll with bacon and cheese at the moment. I don’t even want to rant about the chicken nugget, as I don’t even think it qualifies for food for humans. After I finish the breakfast, I open up the System and friendly inform them that the lunch and dinner are really delicious, but that the Western style breakfast is not my favorite. Surprisingly, the System responds fast to thank me for my feedback and informed me that they already plan to make some changes in the menu! I feel relieved and happy at same time, it feels like I have some influence on the System and Procedures. It also shows that when you encounter an issue, initially shouting might maybe feel as the best solution, but when you activate and switch on different parts of your brain, you know that it is not a constructive way to tackle the problem. I wish more people suppress this initial feeling, although I also know from own experience, shouting also feels very good like your an animal that wants to express your feelings! It can feel like a big relief!
It is time move on to my next scheduled event, jumping the rope, push-ups and stretching exercises. Following the advice of Chantal.tv (see last blog), I continued watching another episode from “Emily in Paris” while sweating like an otter. Physical activity stimulates the release of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. These brain chemicals play an important part in regulating your mood. And I feel it, I feel it so well! My positive energy is coming back, and I look forward to enjoy the rest of the day! My left big toe hurts, and after a quick inspection, I discover there is a big blister under it. I never had a blister at that spot! Probably, it is a result of jumping with my bare feet on the carpet and jumping so long. I don’t have any tools here to release the water from the blister, nor any bandage, but I have Foodpanda. Totally exhausted, I take a bottle of water, open it, and feel the water flowing to my stomach. While enjoying it, I look at the label. The label has been designed for this hotel: Orange hotel. Of course, I know it is the Orange Hotel, as I was waiting Sunday down stairs looking to the big sign with their name on it. But this time I see that have a tagline, a slogan positioned below their name. I read it and think it is a joke, I switch on my computer, open up the browser and look for the website of the hotel. Their website also shows the same tagline. I can’t believe it, I really can’t believe their tagline! It is 100% not applicable to my situation, nor the situation of all other residents in this Quarantine Hotel. Nobody is allowed to go anywhere in this hotel during the quarantine. I sarcastically and painfully read again the slogan: “Let’s go anywhere“. I feel my heart pounding, not sure if it because of the exercises of reading this tagline. No hotel, I am locked up, I can’t go anywhere, I only stay here in this very room, between these 4 walls! Why do you want to rub it, it hurts. Maybe it is a kind of euphemism for: you can use the internet and travel anywhere. Never mind, I convince myself that they already had this slogan for many years, and they did not realize that the slogan might not the best suitable one for a Quarantine Hotel. I calm down, and take a refreshing shower, use my French shower gel, and it reminds me of the holiday in France, I feel a big smile on my face, yes I was for a moment somewhere else.
I open up my Foodpanda app and again I am browsing through the products. I decided to try again a cup of coffee with a snack for emergency situations. This time, the coffee was delivered without spilling the whole plastic bag. As a precaution, I order a snack that is waterproof: it is small back, a back filled with Pistachio nuts. I hope this snack can prevent potential mental illness that someone might develop in this situation, to circumvent going nuts (no pun intended)! While sipping my coffee, I am looking on the internet for symptoms of mental illness. I remember that someone told me once, that if you are looking for a test to check whether you have a burn-out, you probably already have it. Does that mean, that I already developed a certain kind of mental illness in this situation? I don’t think so, I am not mentally ill, yet. But that reminds me of a drug addict who responds with: “No no, I am not addicted” to the question if he thinks he is addicted. My thoughts are going in circles right now, vicious circles and I try to get out of it. Again, I look for some useful information, and find the American website entitled: “Warning Signs of Mental Illness”. First thing I read in big fat characters: “Fifty percent of mental illness begins by age 14, and three-quarters begins by age 24.” What a positive message on this day, am I thinking sarcastically. I continue to read, and they recommend the reader, if several of the next Signs & Symptoms occur, it may useful to follow up with a mental health professional. I don’t know if I want to continue to read, but I do continue. I go through the list of Signs & Symptoms: “Recent social withdrawal and loss of interest in activities previously enjoyed”, I think check; and continue to read, and think “check, check, check”. I close my laptop for a moment, focus on my breath, and slowly count till 20. What is the business model of that website, of that organisation? They get probably paid by hours, like lawyers. I remember that almost every contract that we sign for our company in America has at least 3 to 4 times the amount of the words compared to the European version of the contract. A lawyer need to think carefully about every sentence, and of course needs to get paid for every sentence. Furthermore, every sentence needs to be digested by the other party, that usually also needs to pay a lawyer to digest the information. So the more sentences, the more profit the lawyer make. In this way, their is of course no incentive for the lawyer to reduce the amount of words in the contract. I think about the Mental Illness website. If you want to acquire more customers for your business, you need to lower the barrier and make them feel you need their product. Firstly, I feel I need their product, but then I realize that they want me as a customer, they want to make profit, they want to make a lot of profit. And the more services and hours they provide the more money they make. Is there an incentive for them to have a ‘quick fix’? Probably not. It reminds of working with a terrible consultant, who writes so many hours, and always says there is no quick fix. Maybe they might be right, but also for consultants, there is usually no incentive to provide a quick fix.
In our society, to only maintain our level of wealth, we need to make more money than the year before. Businesses also needs to create bigger profits every year, not only for their shareholders, but also for the board of directors and for the employees. It is like a rat race, everything needs to go faster, more profit, higher productivity and longer working hours. It feels like a non-sustainable situation, while a lot of people and companies are shouting at the moment that we need to be more environmentally friendly and take care of our planet. But what about the people, the human capital that brings the profit to those companies? There is also a pressure on them, they need to write more hours, they are tracked by intelligent ‘Keep Performance Indicators’, and their bosses will follow them carefully. It is a race against the clock, until you either step out of it or fall down. It worries me, it worries me a lot, especially during these days in Quarantine while watching the people in the office on the other side of street. They are working for more than 10 hours in that office building, they need to follow up the instructions from their colleagues, their bosses and customers. A lot of pressure, every single day. They do not have the freedom during the day to write a blog, doing sports exercises, take power nap on the bed, follow a online course or read a book. They can’t go anywhere. They are trapped, and for how long? At least longer than my quarantine is. Firstly, I felt I am the one who ‘can’t go anywhere’, but I realize it is the complete opposite: they can’t go anywhere! They probably love to go anywhere, like this hotel. Hence the slogan of the hotel makes actually sense. Thank you Orange Hotel, thank you for this useful insight. I feel my eyes are getting all wet, and some tears fall down and I hear the sound when they touch the grey carpet. I am convinced, they are trapped, not me, I can go anywhere, not now, but soon I can.