IKEA in a time of Corona

And home.

I was going to have a me day. I was gonna list things on eBay. I was gonna go down the list of things that must be done by the end of September. But then I got a call. A friend needed a van driver. Loads of stuff from Ikea. I got a streetvan. The points aren’t officially on my licence yet although it’s only a matter of time. Covid means I can’t have a course, so as a first offender I’m being pushed immediately to “felon”. I rang one of my regular van hire places and asked them what 6 points would mean, and I was told it would mean no van. So that momentary fuck up will bleed into my earning, and will gradually continue to corrode my previous naive trust of the law. Even now, if I see a patrol car, I think of it as something that wants to hurt me. Up until a month ago I thought of it as a protector.

I was an idiot. Nothing more. The law makes me look like a criminal. And that makes me feel like one. “Not eligible” for a course… Cos there are no courses. So … In dark times, PC plod cuts an artery. Only for two years. So long as I can afford to keep my no claims it’ll be ok. But if anybody needs a crime committed for the amount I’d normally make doing van driving… I mean no. But I now understand how people go down the rabbit hole. I slipped up by mistake but the size of the shoe that hit me? Disproportionate.

Today though, I drove to IKEA. The place is hell at the best of times. Now they have stolen all the pencils because they hate us, and also because Covid. You still have to walk through a maze that is even longer and fouler than before, held up by idiot people who are employed by Satan to walk slowly in family lines so you can’t get past. Everybody is covered and terrified of proximity. There’s no logic, in the sense that nobody seems capable of thinking about breath direction and droplet lag etc. It’s a big temple to the God of fear. They all treat each other as if we’re dealing with a nerve toxin absorbed through the skin. We are all in masks and still there’s fear that even looking at each other might be deadly.

I have been led to understand that this thing isn’t so easily spread despite the droplets themselves being very very contagious. But even saying that sort of thing can trigger people. And I’m not saying it in order to advocate lack of action. Fuck there’s so much extremism and polarisation around this still too unknown thing.

I’m going to venture some temporary thoughts, in the almost certain knowledge somebody either more or less knowledgeable will emotionally tell me how I’m wrong.

We must be careful, of course. Also it’s useful to train people to get used to nerve toxins as the next pandemic might be one of those. But this isn’t a nerve toxin.

With this one, with the big crown on the droplets that makes them heavier and gives it the name, if we all pull together we might be able to get the rate to 0 again as it’s surprisingly fat and falls fast. We’re lucky. (Or are we, or does it? “I read a thing” “my cousin” etc etc)

I can say one thing for certain. It’s not spread by magic.

Do logic.

It’s not about looking angrily at people who aren’t wearing the right hat. That’s just a very polarised conformity discussion that’s running parallel and distracting us from the need to be alert, or pushing us into bodycondoms. There’s lots of demonstrating and groupthink going on in the uncertainty. Just don’t be a cunt, either way. But if you’re hyperventilating through your triple mask when somebody comes within ten feet of you, you’re a vector.

A mask will stop you infecting others if you’ve got it. It’ll also stop scared people hating you. Apart from the scared people who think it’s all made up. They’ll hate you for wearing a mask. And right now we all seem scared of something.

Let’s just be really really aware the whole time of the world around us. It’s nice to be that aware. It makes the world more three dimensional. Wind direction! Where are my hands and what am I touching? When am I breathing in, when out?

If you feel feverish or ill, just stay home until you’re certain it was your imagination or you’ve come out the other end.

It’s not pleasant, this big nasty. I might have had it. I can’t even be sure I’ve had it until there are easy antibody tests despite being pretty sure I was one of the lucky ones in early March. I could’ve had another respiratory fever, but I lost my sense of smell. I’m still careful. But either way it’s not something you want to have or share. Throwing the world back open is going to take some serious time.

Not that the majority in this country want the world open, of course. We voted for “Closed Island”. For holidays in Bognor. For tea towels on our heads.

Maybe we’d be better just rolling around together in our little bubble of patriotic good old British skin and coughing ourselves to death.

I hope we can get the rate to 0 before we lose all our trust in strangers. Before even the most liberal and inclusive people in the UK start to feel like there’s enough of a silent invisible external threat for them to instinctively say “no” to careful things.

Dark times.

I got all the crap from Ikea though despite a very very sweaty maskface.


Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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