People are like viruses, you never know where they have been, but you know where they are going; to the shops.
A snatch in time saves stitches
The other day as we were walking to the shop. To distance myself from another pedestrian, I stepped off the pavement, only to have my arm wrenched from it’s socket by Wally, as he swished me out of the path of a car. It has been so peaceful here recently that I had forgotten that cars exist and, actually, that they are what the roads are for. There are some cars about, of course, though not many. Every day feels like a snow day, silent, but for the spring bird song and the voices of people shouting greetings at each other across the great social divide. It is a time of wonder for those of us who are terminally nosy, as we listen in to conversations meant for others, but heard by all.
What doesn’t kill you gives you PTSD
We have all become vigilantes. We are masked, armed and dangerous. As I drift around the supermarket, nobody is safe from me and my body’s microbe zoo. I mooch around the the tinned tomatoes, there are none, and the flour, there is none, with my pathogen laden skin cells shedding from me and floating softly onto nearby products. As I do not want any more species added to my body’s collection, I attempt to ward off people with impotent stern looks from behind my grubby bra-sk. Thus, we all keep well apart, whilst picking our way through the left behind residue of others.
We meander home, with our bags bulging with food we never normally eat. No longer shopping to a well organised list, we buy what we can get, from where ever we can get to on foot. We went weeks with no flour, or eggs, or sugar. What a wonderful diet. I wish I had been overweight at the start of all this, so that the 3 kilos I have lost would be a bonus. As it is, we are both hoping that skeletal is the new beach perfect body.
Fastidiousness is next to madness
Once back at home our new lifestyle clicks into operation. It brings a new meaning to ‘staying at home to work on my CV’. Which reminds me, many decades ago, when I was attempting the thankless task of writing my own CV, I realised that it could double as the script for my obituary, which, if I did not land the job, would make it prescient. No matter how hard I tried, everything I wrote unsettled me. I was not confident about my attention to the important details. This was life and death stuff and here I was, wrestling with clouds. I could not pin them down, or catch a clear view of whether, or not, I had got things perfectly right. And if it was wrong? Well, I would be deluged by bitter rain as retribution. The current situation feels the same, with the ‘out damned spot’ need to incessantly scrub up, never knowing if the little blighters are still there, lurking under a flap of skin, or nail, or forfend, a scab, ready to multiply and recolonise the rest of your hand, and from there, the rest of the world, starting with my little universe here at home.
You can’t please everyone all of the time, but you can piss off some of them, some of the time.
On the up side, we are making and receiving a lot of social phone calls. Gone are the nuisance calls. Oh how I miss those wonderful, liberating moments when I start to cry having been asked if they are speaking to a certain individual, or, my piece de theatre, I tell them I can’t take any more and will end it all if they keep calling me; all in an over the top, melodramatic style, of course; and finally, my favourite, having asked very calmly and politely if I might say something, they always say yes, I scream full pitch down the phone. Today, quite out of the blue, we had a phone call and were offered a payment in cash, an incredibly rare thing these days. It took us a while to realise it was genuine, a repayment of a loan to a friend, and that we have no way of safely collecting the money, or having it delivered to us. As for spending the money; impossible, or paying it into the bank; tricky, as it would mean a drive to the nearest town and queuing. Of course we assume that banks are still handling virus laden money now that payment by card is the order of the day. Contactless suits everyone, naturally. Wally and I have become cash rich, in a cash and bank free society. We feel as if we are in a pub with no beer.
Ignorance is a kiss
At home there is confusion from the moment we wake up. I do not have a clue what day of the week it is and look at my phone for reassurance, at least every half an hour, or so. I am becoming a teenager, all over again, but without the puppy fat. We have degree of social distancing in our wee house. We have our own towels, our own cups and, if one of us gets sick, we will have our own bedrooms; a dream come true for some couples. I wonder, that if left in isolation for long enough, there will be a mutation into a less deadly organism. How good it would be if the virus could mutate in this way too.
Better silly than sorry
We have all had to think about new ways to kill time at home. Most have resorted to TV, crafts, art, growing plants. Some have gone over the top and climbed Everest, in three days, by going up and down their stairs. That is one of life’s pinnacle achievements, so how will this person top this over the remaining weeks, or months, of the lockdown? Perhaps they will spend the next few days getting off the mountain. And then there is the walk back to civilization from basecamp. We are building a staircase; it’s one step for Wally kind, one giant step towards the peak of Everest for lockdowners everywhere. Another person is watching a thousand movies and writing a brief critique on each one. Radio broadcasters are going on air from home. Some are doing their shows in their dressing gowns, others complete the theme by hiding under a duvet with a headtorch to illuminate their script. TV quiz shows, streamed from the stars homes, are a revelation; who does not want to see through the keyhole? We all want them to live like us, only better?
Ignorance is pestilence
Outside, as BT staff have worked, they have been attacked, because of a fake news item claiming a link between 5G masts and CoronaVirus. These attackers are clever enough to read and yet gullible enough to believe all they read, and then they go outside and attack the people who enable them to receive the fake news in the first place. They raise the word oxymoron to a new level. And meanwhile, on the farm, that long running documentary about a sleepy village called Ambridge, has not mentioned CoronaVirus at all. Yes the Archers, that everyday tale of everyday folk, has no need to mention loo roll and is in denial.
You can lead a herd to knowledge, but you can’t make it think
We are on a very long, bumpy and dangerous corduroy road. Only the fit and the lucky, and some say, the young, will make it to that nirvana that is herd immunity, or vaccination. We are the cattle and our wranglers are clearly new to their job. We are all being prodded and whacked into following their orders, the punishment for disobedience is not conscionable.