The Utrecht-based writer Anne Eekhout is writing special mini-columns about life in times of coronavirus for Thuisagenda Utrecht. We’ve translated them in English for the Home Agenda of MAG Utrecht.

A few months ago, Corona was a beer. It’s still a beer, but a lot of people can’t quite believe it. So things aren’t going well for Corona. The factory in Mexico has had to close its doors. Understandable; Corona is no longer a snappy word in Spanish, that goes well with tapas. Forget sun, friends and festivals. Corona means video calls, ventilators, granny close to death. Plenty of reason to get hammered, but not on a drink that reminds you of why you’re doing it. So now we all hate Corona because we hate corona. What’s in a name?

It’s bad news for the people who work at Corona and annoying for the people who drank it, but there are plenty of other beers that will help you on your way to oblivion. My supermarket sells seventy-three (seriously? Yes, seriously) different types of beer. So let the bitter-sweet search for a new favourite begin. While trying my third IPA brewed by local hipsters, I was struck by the idea of how lucky we are. Association can ruin everything in a flash. If the coronavirus had been called the ‘praxisvirus’ instead of the coronavirus, we would not have been collectively replacing our drooping curtain rails and faulty doorbells. If it had been called the ‘zoomvirus’, we wouldn’t know what other people looked like. Or, God forbid, imagine if it had been called the ‘beervirus’. We’d have dubbed it the ‘beerus’ and oblivion would no longer have been an option.

Anne Eekhout lives in Utrecht and published her first book Dogma in 2014. It was nominated for the Bronzen Uil, an award presented to the best Dutch debut novel, and appeared on the longlist for the AKO Literature Prize. Her second novel entitled Op een nacht (2016), earned her a nomination for the BNG Bank literature prize. Her third book was published last year: Nicolas en de verdwijning van de wereld.

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