When I’ve thought about the possibility of an outbreak of this proportion I’ve always imagined I’d get myself to The Isle of Man. As it happens I’m still here, in Central London. It’s not the right place to be in a crisis. If society is gonna collapse I’m either gonna burn or be burnt, and living as I do in Chelsea the smart money’s on the latter.
In my zoom rehearsal today we were talking about comparative quarantine in the various places people have ended up. In parts of Spain you get informed on if you make unnecessary journeys. The police are enforcing lockdown hard. In parts of Ireland you aren’t allowed to go more than 2km from your home, and you might get stopped and asked what you’re doing if you’re moving about at all.
Here in London, the security and hygiene in shops is through the roof, but the disaffected are using the atmosphere of fear to deliberately sneeze on people, and police are being kept very busy while being spat on. Because the streets are so empty, police presence is much more noticeable. But they aren’t yet getting involved despite often being the only traffic on the roads.
The next week is likely to be a changing time in London as the number of people presenting symptoms starts to skyrocket. Right now we are largely complacent still although most of us know a few people who have been on the whole 12 day rollercoaster. It would be lovely to think that we are over the worst of it. But I fear that it’s yet to come and then some.
The chancellor has thrown together measures that, so long as this doesn’t last too long, will prop up the economy. Even the self-employed have had a bone thrown our way. For a long time we were worried we’d be thrown to the dogs. It’s never going to be perfect, but for now there’s no rioting. There’s no looting. It feels lighter than dark. We are all still bemused, going into hibernation, slightly surprised this is all happening.
Many of us are trying to find ways to bring this to the positive. Enrolling in online courses and reading that book or meditating or putting your poems up on YouTube. Long may that continue even as we get used to the new structure, or lack of it.
It doesn’t much feel like the weekend here. I’ve been doing a bit of basic cleaning and changed my sheets, but I’m feeling a little run down and coldy so I’m going to get an early bed with a hot water bottle. Today’s the first day that I literally haven’t left the house. Just video conferencing, eating and thinking about The Tempest.
When this is all over it’ll be like when Winnie the Pooh eats so much food at Rabbit’s house that he gets stuck trying to get out. Maybe I should get into one of those online workout classes that many of my good friends are starting to schedule as we move everything online. Meantime I’m getting in the bath with a whisky lemsip.