Friday, 25 September 2020

Lockdown and Beyond

When it started it was sort of an adventure, we'd heard from the people trapped in Wuhan that they had been told it could be transmitted through the mouth and eyes and the man who eventually got out and had not had the virus had gone out wearing goggles and a mask. We were cautious. 

We only went to the supermarket (trying to find flour, pasta, tinned tomatoes and toilet roll - which all the hoarders had already bought up). The streets were eerily empty - unusual for a large busy city. It reminded us of the 70s on a Sunday - nobody about, people going about in pairs, no traffic. We kind of enjoyed it. 

And then it kept going and going. We watched the numbers. The infections and death rate came down. We stopped hearing about anyone having the virus or being ill. Our high street (poor neighbourhood) was just as busy as normal (not able to shop for a month's worth of goods at one time people had to go out and do their shopping like normal). Working from home became the new way - tedious team meeting after team meeting, high level of anxiety and talk talk talk talk. 

We had projects at home. Lots of improvements, using found stuff. Fixing stuff that had been needing help for a while.

And slowly we crept to a 'new normal' - not going out, visiting people at home, sitting out in the garden (the weather was great). Got a hot tub. And a suntan. Garden looked like a tropical paradise. Did all my meetings from the garden. People wondered where I was - looking more like Barbados and less like Tottenham the more the summer went on. 

Work started discussing the return to the office. Some of the staff welcomed a slow return. Others not so much. 

Protests started. We happened upon one on a cycle ride with my niece. No notice about it, not information anywhere, just suddenly rounded the corner into Trafalgar Square and there it was. Weird mix of hippies (civil liberties and freedom) and seemingly right wingers from out of town (George flag, and Union Jacks, hoaxes, anti-vaxxers, 5G conspiracies). More kids and dogs at this protest than I have ever seen. It seemed to be over, the stage was gone, the people were retreating. 

The police were still fired up and in clearing the square got rather over zealous (we weren't in the protest, we had come to take photos sitting on the lions) but they didn't pay attention to our three bikes and open backpack and said the Panther had not left the area quickly enough and arrested him. Trying to throw him to the ground he stood and said he was willing to go with them to make it clear he wasn't resisting arrest, they still huddled six officers around him and took him off to the loading area. 

Subsequently they announced new 'measures' or is it restrictions? Not a new lockdown. But I sit here with the cooler weather, at the window of what has become my new office and feel forlorn. I don't feel like I have left the house for more than a couple of hours in six months. My world has shrunk beyond any comprehensible scale - never in my life would I have thought I would be so tied to one place and experiencing nothing of the world at large. I used to ride the bus just to get out of the house - all the way to the end and back - such were my itchy feet when I was a teenager.  Fed up. Fed up with the sensationalising of the dangers of the virus. Convinced the unemployment is about to skyrocket. Don't feel that the government has any idea what they should be doing. And I feel like our lives are passing us by - I'd really like to be doing more of what I like to do (making pots, painting, gardening) and forsaking those things that we have to do for money.