An Unexpected Crowd

My wife had had enough. Me too. We just had to so somewhere different. Freiburg was the logical choice.

I have been avoiding that city since last September, when it was announced that masks mist be worn at all times in the inner city. I don’t like masks, so I just didn’t travel to Freiburg. The past few months the stores were closed anyway.

Last Saturday’s weather forecast was for dull and gray, followed by rain. We went anyway.

The city seemed deserted, but we arrived before store opening hours. (Most stores seem to be open again, with strict limits on the number of people allowed inside. Some are by appointment only.) The streets were empty – except in one spot.

We were wandering through the pedestrian area, the place most tourists see – when there are tourists. Old buildings, cobblestones, chic shops and restaurants. We spotted a lineup in front of a playhouse, at least 50 people, socially distanced and wearing masks. What could be the attraction at 9 a.m.? Theatres aren’t open yet, or I didn’t think so. What were people lined up for?

The answer? Free COVID-19 tests. Quick tests admittedly, which are not as accurate as the PCR test – but you can’t beat that price.

I’m not sure why you would line up on a Saturday morning for a test. Don’t the people in line think they may be sick? If you aren’t when you start out, what are the chances you will be infected before reaching the head of the line?

If you don’t have symptoms, why bother? If you do have symptoms, maybe you should just self-isolate for a couple of weeks rather than risk exposing people to whatever you have. And if you get really sick, go to a hospital.

Some people though obviously thought it was the thing to do on a Saturday morning before the shops opened. And maybe it does make sense in a weird way. After all, the entertainment options are limited these days – perhaps for some people lining up for a COVID test is better than sitting at home.

As for me, I’ll find something else to keep me occupied.


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