Be on time.

Come alone.

The letter was worded vaguely threatening, as if upon arriving I’d find myself in a small alley, hearing the words “Mr Boss is very unhappy” before losing consciousness.

But I had faith. Belgium had hired extra! people! to take care of tracing and tracking. A friend tested positive, so we all went into quarantine and arranged a testing date.

I had visions of arriving to a place, bright and disinfected, with broad corridors and open spaces. I’d be on time, go in, get tested, get out. Of course the exit would be a different way out, because it’s safer.

The reality looked more like a communist bread line in a capitalist fanboi’s wank dream. There we were, downtrodden of the earth, packed together in a really – and I mean really – small space. For the greater good. Someone coughed. Oh god, this is it, isn’t it?

The hallway inside was so cramped that you pretty much couldn’t help but touch as other people passed by you. Because of course you’d have to arrive, sign in, go back outside, wait an hour, then go back in.

The nurse’s office was the size of a broom closet. She stuck a test thingie in my nose and I think I cough-sneezed – I pride myself on being very expressive in my joy and suffering. I put my mask back on – yes I had to take it off, breathing the air of the 50 people before me – and went home.

As a statistical analysis, I get it. It helps to know where the virus spreads. Unfortunately, that place might just be the testing center.