It’s a Thursday in March. The sun is shining. Nobody takes the train. The planes don’t leave. Everyone fears the next wave. Is it time to hoard toilet paper again? Are dolphins already being spotted in the Rhine-Herne Canal?

It’s been four years now, a time that still seems so close and yet so incredibly far away. Just yesterday we sat together in the café over a first cup of coffee in the morning and talked with fascination and amusement about this madness that kept us in suspense at the time – if we still had it – and quickly started with the fact that we suddenly no longer had to go to work in the morning sat in the café because no one was allowed to go to work anymore – and the café was also closed. Lockdown. Because somewhere in Wuhan someone said: “I’ll have the bat soup – what could go wrong?”

My name is Micky Beisenherz. In Castrop-Rauxel I am a world star. Elsewhere I have to pay for everything myself. I am a multimedia (single) general store. Author (Extra3, Jungle Camp), presenter (ZDF, NDR, ProSieben, ntv), podcast host (“Apocalypse and Filter Coffee”), occasional cartoonist. There are things that stand out to me. Sometimes even upset me. And since their impulse control is constantly stuck, they probably have to get out. My religious symbol is the crosshairs. The razor blade is my dance floor. And my feet are itching again.

After all, it was wonderful spring weather in March 2020: people go for a walk. Even if only in small groups. Playgrounds wrapped in tape because they were closed. The studio audience cackled from television broadcasts. Some of it should never come back. Smear infection. Distance. Mask deals. Knuffelkontakte. Easter with great-grandma and the whole family. Instead of Merci advertising romance, suddenly a superspreading event.

The public order offices are closing restaurants and hostels, so with special permission I find myself alone in a twenty-story hotel like Jack Nicholson in “Shining” in Düsseldorf. The Ross Antonys and Carpendales disappear from the guest list on the talk shows – the rise of the experts. Drosten vs. Streeck. Lauterbach against Kekulé. Yes, what does Alexander S. Kekulé actually do?

The nursing staff are still paid shitty today, but at least there was a good clap. Cult carer Ricardo Lange, who made Jens Spahn long at the federal press conference. Alexander Jorde and Doc Caro. The first crazy people are starting to take photos of people on picnic blankets as distance breakers and post them online. In Munich who is not allowed to sit on the park bench and read. Please only go outside for specific purposes. And everyone bakes bread. At Maischberger they fear that the entire Federal Republic could flock to Tübingen because Boris Palmer is leaving two outdoor restaurants there open for testing purposes. Oh, Dr. Federle.

Lockdown 2. The never-ending winter of 2021. Homeschooling makes every adult’s nightmares of having to go back to school come true. The incidences, the opening discussion worries, the MPK, Merkel and Söder. Breathing opening matrix, Easter rest, Merkel says sorry. Michael Müller and the grotesque incidence folding plan. Team Freedom. Team beware. And vice versa. Depending on your mood. Fax Republic of Germany, caught in analogous structural sclerosis. The comeback of drive-in cinemas. Attila Hildmann. The Wendler cracks. Just like Hamburg police officers who shoot around the park with their police vehicle full of 50 items after young people who – be careful, keep your distance! – the three of them high-fived.

Lauterbach sleeps on the camp bed behind the Lanz studio. We suddenly know the Ethics Council, Hildburghausen and all (!) Prime Ministers. Even Tobias Hans. We are COURAGEOUS. Vaccination promises the way out of the pandemic. The so-called “lateral thinkers” don’t want to support this. The others believe that they can convince them otherwise by insulting them. Compulsory vaccination debates. Us against them. Lanz, who grilled the mayor of Halle for 45 minutes because he quickly got a leftover vaccination dose at the end of the day instead of calling all 562 others who were ahead of him in the vaccination order. “Kimmich should get vaccinated!” And now Omicron too.

And then, not suddenly, but somehow, it’s over. Gradual openings. It is April 2022. We sing karaoke in the Thai oasis and return to life. Not all. And not everyone looks back on this time with such amusement. Domestic violence went through the roof, depression, entire school classes were lost, integration was suspended to protect against infection, tens of thousands died alone. My Uncle Heiner and his terribly dreary funeral on a November day protected from infection.

Balancing of interests. Cash collapse. Was it all worth it? Was it worth it? Have we ever really worked through this? Are we able to learn from the mistakes of the past in order to treat each other differently in the future? I have my doubts. The realization comes in waves. And stays about that long.