Slow descent

This morning I got a survey from my NHS practice, asking what I thought about triage only over the internet going forward. I said I worried that having that as the only option would mean that many serious things slip through the cracks because somebody’s following a checklist. It took me months of shouting to fix something that Vodafone had done by mistake because I could only get through to the call centre in Alexandria and it wasn’t on their checklist. A checklist rarely works in practice but frequently works in theory. This is life and death, not a phone contract.

On the radio this morning I listened to lots of people who haven’t been able to have medical things looked at in time, to their cost in terms of peace of mind or even months to live. Home visits are off the table. There’s barely enough funding to keep Nye’s dream alive as it is. It’s the death of a thousand cuts.

Then I heard Dominic’s blonde sockpuppet still taking to the nation as if he’s Captain of cricket jollying up the team before the big match with Brambletye. But buried in that familiar bumble is the sting. It’s only going to get worse. This frame is so much more convenient than terrorism was for curtailing liberties. We haven’t heard a peep about ISIS. When the dust settles – and I’m beginning to think it’s measurable in years – we will all look down and realise our legs have been chained together while we weren’t watching.

I’m starting to realise that this pandemic and the fallout is a big part of how this era will be remembered by posterity. They’ll talk about the economy and social damage and isolation and shrinking humanity from whatever dystopic viewpoint wins – it looks like America is preparing for civil war, and the UK is just crumbling and sinking under its weight of self importance. They’ll talk about the things that started, the things that grew and the things that dwindled and died.

They won’t talk about how Al had to stick his nose and mouth into the crotch of a dirty pair of longjohns and tie the legs behind his head because he forgot his mask again and needed to buy stamps. It’ll be the end of institutions that will be remembered. Big companies, ways of thinking. Things are tumbling. They might not all tumble bad. But it’s gonna take a while to settle. I want to take a year off and crew a tall ship. Seriously. I’ve had enough of this.

I’m going to an audition soon. They’ll take my temperature and I’ll fill in all sorts of forms. The result will be that I get to participate in a small workshop that might lead to some acting work down the line, and a year in London. It’s Brian again, with his Superman T-shirt on, trying to singlehandedly restart an industry that’s on its knees. More power to him. We need positive news. I’m almost in despair for the future of the world so I’ll see if I can bury myself in community and weird story for 365 days or so. It’ll almost be like a tall ship. Still lots of wind, rigging and sailors. Fewer sharks.

God I need a proper holiday though. I want an adventure. A helpful friend says “Why not find an adventure in England,” but I do that every week if I can so it’s not an adventure anymore.

I want to be surrounded by people I can’t understand, eating something unrecognisable in relentless sunshine with a back aching from loadbearing. I want to look out over unfamiliar peaks covered in dust with a bandanna tied around my head, worn out boots, and a donkey carrying my bed. I want to have so many mosquitos on every inch of exposed flesh that I’m past caring while the guy with the machete realises he’s lost with only an hour to sundown and we’ve pretty much drunk all the water.

I don’t want to go for soggy egg and chips and a rainy walk to see all the Macdonald’s wrappers and hate.

Mel just sent me a photo. She’s at the start of a 3000km walk in New Zealand. “Fancy it?” she sends me. YES! That’s a leisurely 120 days of walking. That’ll do. Dammit.

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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