So I have put in for what is called the “prestación extraordinaria”, for self-employed people. Apparently people on salaries are being paid 75% of their usual wages, but us autónomos just get something like 600€ a month. If eligible (still waiting on that one). And while that is better than nothing, it’s really not much. It doesn’t even cover my rent. And who knows when we will even receive it? Plus they still charged me 300€ for social security in March, so… wut? Anyhow, TONS of red tape. Well at least those guys still have a job!
I’ve really been trying to just deal with this situation one day at a time because, if not, I could end up on a very slippery slopes leading to The Depths Of Utter Despair. Once again my cancer training has come in handy, especially the finely honed living in denial skillz. Because while I did get help with covering my rent and bills this month, for which I am very grateful, this thing isn’t ending any time soon. What about next month, and six or eight months from now???? Eh, not going there. Yet. See? It almost works.
Because nobody knows what will happen when the lockdown is finally lifted, whenever that will be, possibly some time in June? Clearly not everyone who lost their jobs (like me) will suddenly just go back to work. Because there won’t be any work. Especially with tourism. There’s talk of banning all incoming flights from abroad until the end of the year, and many hotels will remain closed. And while shops, bars and restaurants may be allowed to reopen, who will be able to patronize them? None of us will have any money. I’m not the only one whose business was reliant on tourism. The whole fucking city pretty much lived from it, which is perhaps a lesson to be learned about putting too many eggs in one basket.
You could already see how things were becoming very unsustainable here over the past five years or so, if you cared to ackowledge it. Residents being forced out of their homes to make way for more and more holiday apartments, neighbourhoods losing their character with shops and bars being geared for tourists, streets clogged with massive tour groups, the city centre turning into a tacky theme park. And nobody cared. Because there was MONEY TO BE MADE. To be honest, my business did better before the huge tourist influx, and it was a struggle for me to stay competitive as a “boutique company” among the corporate sharks. Still, I was holding my own. Until March 12th.
So I dunno. This has been a very hard week, losing my friend Annie was the worst. And in a couple of weeks I will have to start worrying about where next month’s rent is going to come from (my landlord is clear that I can pay or leave). Well okay, nobody can be evicted during the state of emergency, but if I can’t pay you can bet my ass will be out in the street as soon as it’s lifted. And dammit, I love this place, have never felt so much at home anywhere. But even the most optimistic scenario does not have tourism returning to our fair city until some time next year. Yes, next year!!!
And THAT is the point when my brain shuts down in self defense, I pour a glass of wine (while I still can) and look for some pleasant distraction. Thank god for cats. And you guys.
How is your lockdown going?