I was woken from a warm snooze by a phone call. I’d forgotten I had to be in in rehearsal, and was enjoying a mid-morning languish such as those of you with kids can only dream of. 5 minutes after waking from dreamtime I was in rehearsal dissecting Shakespearean language with four other people all in completely different places across the UK. That’s an advantage, I suppose, of us all doing everything through the screen of a laptop.
But it’s hard to connect. These faces in a screen, they convey the idea of people. We hear their words. But we lose so much. It’s a memory of contact. A tech-shadow of touch.
What about that unquantifiable “chemistry” thing that, for instance, makes us disproportionately fancy one person while overlooking another? What of that hackle-raising pheromone kick that lets us know when somebody is scared or angry all of a sudden – “are you ok?”. The observation of goosebumps – (“is he cold? Repelled? Turned on?) or of a knee that starts ticcing or that constant glance into a corner. Even the detail of eye contact. We can’t make eye contact on zoom. We talk to each others foreheads. To see the face we hide our eyes, to show the eyes we lose the face. It’s all veiled. No wonder this is what those awkward buggers in Silicon Valley have come up with.
Minnie’s sister is a doctor. “This virus is mutating, and it will mutate. But that’s not a bad thing so long as it mutates into less harmful strains, which is the likely evolutionary outcome for its own propagation and survival.” I can take comfort in that after spending the day dogged by dark thoughts.
“What if we’re the borderline in history between pre-Covid life and post-Covid?” I had myself thinking, unhelpfully. “What if future generations are boggled by how we used to pack in our hundreds into tiny rooms and share glasses and jump up and down with strangers and hug people all the time? Here we all are saying ‘when the doors open again,’ but what if they don’t ever in a way that we recognise?” Aaargh.
I went and sat by the river, hoping in the late evening that I’d snatch a glimpse at the space launch this evening, but it’s been delayed so I just looked at the water.
I’d like to believe we’re over the hump now, but this global lockdown is just so completely unprecedented. The longer it goes on the more businesses are going to be in tatters, and I’m still thinking about theatre and how we activate the buildings themselves that are all lying empty. It’s a tangle. Meanwhile I’m just gonna keep trying to get involved in making what can be made. Trying to get some writing done outside of my daily prose. And trying to keep my head up.
At some point I’m gonna have to do some serious tidying as well as right now the flat looks like a student dig…