After two months adjusting to lockdown JULENA DRUMI hopes it will change our lives for the better
It could be once in a lifetime, and you may ask yourself: how did I get here? And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a car at 8am on a Wednesday morning outside a food hall, waiting for your daughter, now inside masked and gloved, not to conceal her identity, but to protect her from the invisible enemy. She’s dressed like she’s entering a riot zone, but there’s no violence. It’s just shopping. She says she is “doing it to protect her Mum & Dad.” Bless.
The timing, and destination of the weekly shop during lockdown has been given the full reconnaissance. Which store? There are several to choose from. Which will be too busy? Longest queues? Best time of day? Easy parking? Our choice is decided for its proximity, early opening hours, excellent food, reliability to deliver health and safety policies to customers and staff. We’ve chosen well. It’s quiet and we move in. As Trump might say, great job M&S, great job.
While daughter raids the shelves of walnut whips, gastro steak pies and other comfort food I have time to think. We are in week nine of lockdown, with some easing of restrictions in England. My thoughts wander to what I will say to my family, colleagues, friends, about lessons learned from lockdown and what comes next.
What can we do to help ourselves in isolation?
Turn to culture, the arts and all other mindful activities. I recommend Grayson Perry’s Art Club every Monday evening at 8pm on Channel 4. Join in the fun and creativity as he tackles a different subject matter every week, while giving the viewer an opportunity to participate by sending in their own work, and a chance to have it shown on the programme the following week.
Grayson, as always is a pleasure to listen to. He’s articulate, thoughtful and shows great empathy with the people who discuss their art via their laptops. He doesn’t play the pompous critic, instead emphasising that art is whatever you make it. It’s an expression of who you are and what you see.
We watch him at work in his studio, chatting with his wife, cat, his childhood bear Alan Measles, and with comic guests (who are mostly comedians and amateur artists). Let’s hope there is another series.
What else provides comfort?
I have learned that family is all-important, by this I include pets as they can be a huge source of happiness to all and regarded by many as family because they are loved and give love unreservedly.
Technology, has become very important to our daily lives, helping many people stay in work, stay in touch, participate in meetings, discussions, quizzes, games etc. and allowing familiar faces into our closeted lockdown lives.
The joy of walking, running or cycling while listening to bird song, feeling the sun on my face and being close to nature. These are simple things in life but now hugely important to us all, and a powerful medicine for mental health problems.
So is the delight in simple food, good coffee, chocolate, books, music and the arts, and the sight of my daughter appearing carrying bags of goodies after doing the weekly shop, which has now become the family highlight of the week!
What’s not important?
Well, the rapid spread of the virus throughout the world has shown us that too much time and money is spent on international travel for business, weddings, hen & stag parties, exotic foreign holidays. After all, travel has been a factor in spreading this terrible disease around the world! We may even learn to frown upon those who continue to travel while polluting the planet!
Who does, and who does not, follow instructions?
Radio and TV, the givers of all knowledge and statistics, are telling us that women are following instructions. They have the lowest death rate. Why is that? Could it be because men are unable to hear, or are they simply choosing not to take advice? Surely not!
What is work like?
Work is different. It may even be better in some ways, but not the same. It is less sociable, yet more productive, more isolated and solitary with fewer coffee breaks. Without physical contact we are even more reliant on technology.
However, it could mean a smarter, cheaper, more flexible future workforce who toil in their personally designed virtual offices, listening to virtual teams in virtual meetings.
What has changed on social media?
Hurrah! This is definitely a good one. There is a distinct lack of posts containing images of people out and about having meals and drinks with friends and family.
You know what I mean, the ‘look at me’ posts! People having a great time drinking, and eating with the most wonderful, beautiful people in the world you could ever meet! Let’s hope that this spell of staying at home has encouraged people to live in the moment and enjoy what’s around them instead of searching for “something better”.
How can we fix the future?
This is the big one, not sure we can fix it, but I do have some thoughts.
Stop being selfish, go back to life’s basics, buy and eat less of everything, spend less money on unnecessary things, especially travel. Delete debt, create less packaging, stop bragging on social media, stop idolising celebrities, deliver news three times daily, not 24/7, accept authority when given wisely, ask fewer questions, be true to thyself, keep to social distancing, earn respect – do not expect it – and don’t blame others for your own mistakes.
What has lockdown meant to my dog?
Lots of company at home, lots of attention, less isolation, lots of longer walks, much longer hair, but no dog mates, no visits to coffee shops or pubs, no parks, no outside ball games, fewer treats, more baths, and to top it all, lots of fighting over who takes him for the next walk. 😊
pic by Terry Murden, DB Media Services