Quarantine Diaries

This a collection of what I ended up writing in May. Scattered thinking is a trait of the times, so mind the jumps!

The GRAND pause of 2020

The selfie of the times
As remnants of our old lives are coming back gradually, what remains of those plans and aspirations I’ve set for 2020?

I for one wanted to be more social in 2020. Not kidding. Not that I have a great track record of fulfilling such aspirations. It worked well for two and half months, good enough for now. I couldn’t widen the circle and have more conversations with new people yet I was able to connect more deeply and feel free to be vulnerable amongst a close few.

I wanted to try not to travel outside Jordan in 2020 to save up some cash and try to spend my vacations locally. Big score for this one, once we’re allowed to do some local tourism of course.

I wanted to write more, explore more topics, continue on my quest of deliberate living. I managed to write a couple of thought pieces. Not bad.

I wanted to read more books. Non-fiction that is and maybe some sci-fi novels. That was the hardest of all. I couldn’t shake the overwhelming-unrealistic sentiment that all books are rendered pointless. All were written before the pandemic. Any of that wisdom seemed of a distant past human-experience. Even works that mention pandemics hundreds of years ago lack the connection to our fast advanced world. Especially business books. Oh my. How useless are most of them seemed to me. I am starting to get past that temporary sentiment...

I wanted to launch a free digital product coaching service. It was supposed to launch April 1st. As with books, at first I felt any advice I would give will be useless, again married to a distant world with assumptions that no longer hold true. With the overwhelming number of webinars that were advertised to people, I felt it best to wait for the water to recede and to get more visibility.

I wanted to work more from home. Easily done with no more second guessing, shame nor guilt.

The unfamiliar familiar

Even the neighbourhood monster became familiar
Will all of what passes as familiar gets a warm welcome whether we liked it before or not? Will we forget the new familiar?

I for one don’t miss traffic. Now I truly miss the quiet streets. Even while having had a permit to drive (privilege alert #1), driving became pleasurable. Pedestrians owned the roads along with cyclers. There was a flare of romance in the streets of Amman, the big city became a connected mesh of little towns. Outdoors meant a walk, getting something from the small grocery shops in the neighbourhood. Some people I know defied long distances and lack of access to cars and went on long long walks. I was too lazy for that but enjoyed the stories!

The simplicity of those earlier days of the lockdown were shocking. How we all learned our different levels of whats essential is when you are stuck at home for days at a time.

The grand domestication, the PJs, the bra-less existence, and the crazy hair with wise whiteness.

Experiencing a transparent government. Short lived maybe and probably not that transparent. Yet it was a big deal. Will we unlearn this experience quickly once we are fully out of the lockdown?

Experiencing a large global live social experiment and being an active participant. The rumors, the daily briefing at 8, the collective love and collective hate. The illusion of the “race to zero”. The opinions, the comparisons, the-behind-the-headlines-donation drive.


Every now and then I get obsessed with something or someone. Be it an event, a person, a topic or a thing. Sometimes the obsession is warranted a condition by its own merit especially those around a world event or a person I’m curious about. Other times, I think I create it to run away from boredom or as a distraction tactic from an agonizing experience I am going through. Or seeking perfection in a far than perfect moment.

Whatever its form or motive, this obsession becomes the center stage of my being, everything else in my life gets recalibrated to align itself with it.

Though it does bring a lot of change and adrenaline, as it kills boredom it also shifts my focus and changes my priorities. This I would say is the major downside. Otherwise, it consumes me. In ways that propels me. Its hard to regret any of the obsessions I’ve had. With each comes a discovery, a light pulp moment, amusement and utter entertainment.

The making of a home studio

Home Studio 2.0

So my most recent obsession is to create a perfect home studio setup. For working, for writing, for thinking for anything other than watching tv. It started with a monitor, which wasn’t hard to get for a relatively good price. With the monitor a keyboard was needed.  Then a mouse, then a better monitor. The research, endless browsing, the price and specs comparisons, the budget limitations. Pure retail therapy for ensuring productivity during a pandemic. Can’t be more capitalist than that.

Pool at home

The 2.6x1.6x0.65 Pool

Thinking of ways to enjoy the the grand Eid lockdown, my brother, his wife and I thought of ways we can entertain ourselves. We were definitely going to move the family home where my mom lives and get stuck there together, which we've done several times in the past few months. What started as a small pool for the kids, morphed into a shopping spree for the perfect sized above-the-ground-pool that we all could fit in and also fit in the back yard. Who knew such joy could be attained with so little investment!

Razan Khatib

Razan Khatib

Playing at the intersection of culture, technology, and values. Trying to structure my thoughts and share experiences, learnings, and insights. Co-founder of @spring_apps
Amman, Jordan