I don’t hear birdsong like I used to. Let our dog out this morning before dawn and heard the birds singing outside. Remembered how that was the anthem of lockdown. Birdsong. And we are still locked-down. Except now I hear cars going by. Was always nightclubbers coming home and early-shifters going to work. If I heard birdsong I always groaned – too early to be awake.
Lockdown changed that. And now lockdown life (third time around?) is changing me again. Not so much birdsong in my life. Now I hear cars sliding by quietly again. Still almost no planes Heathrow-bound from the other side of the world. Whispering over our roof in the dark. But that too will return. Don’t know when, but the signs say soon.
Then this morning I bumped into a Shielding Group. Nothing bad. Except Shielding wasn’t a name I ever heard before Rona. Just like CEV. Except that FB group seems determined to keep Shielding, to raise the profile of Shielding, make Shielding a political force to be reckoned with. It felt like I was being sucked back into quicksand. Dragged back to that place I worked so hard to escape less than a year ago. A mindset so easily of entitlement or victim or both it seemed to me then and since.
I have been living with a new sensation for a couple of weeks or more. Don’t know exactly when it began.
Think I finally recognised it last night on the dogwalk.
For the first time in twelve months I’m not fighting Rona 24/7.
This virus no longer feels like my invisible enemy. It is/has become just another daily life and living factor. Like crossing the road. Fixing the electrics. Plumbing a bathroom. Living with teenagers. Having a bad manager. Forgetting an anniversary or birthday. That kind of “factor”.
I am running out of Rona words.
Perhaps it is Spring arriving, the vaccinations, cutting the grass, family birthdays starting their annual cycle, all the buds budding, the daffs blooming, the month of March … But whatever the reason – it feels to me like Rona is now the one fighting to survive. Rona is the one who will have to find new ways to stop me seeing family, taking a holiday, being spontaneous, having “dinners” and get-togethers, having a cuppa together just because.
People are still dying and testing positive.
But they’re becoming numbers again rather than names as they became a few scary months ago. But “people” always have and always will become ill or die. I will sometime. Just as babies will always be born. Just as I will be taking my preventative puffer every day for the rest of my life. All that normal stuff I have had in the background my whole life – that when (if) I wake up tomorrow morning I have no guarantee of making it through the whole day to another night’s sleep. Never have had never will have. That is normal.
Odd sensation this not-fighting-Rona.
Still can’t go and do things like we used to, but the signs are there that soon … Still may have the June holiday cancelled and more vouchers, but the signs are there that soon … Schools returning and exams being scheduled again may not be without pain, but the signs are there that soon … Still working for a big chunk less than a year ago, but the signs are there that soon …
Saw a report yesterday that flu may be a biggie this coming winter.
That all this social distancing and isolation has lowered our “mixing with germs” immunity, and that may cause more infections and deaths than normal in the upcoming flu season. Yet the very fact that this was newsworthy is another sign that soon …
And I am so tiring of Zoom as a replacement for gatherings.
I struggle more and more with seeing everyone’s face full-on – or a thumbnail – or not at all in speaker mode. It’s like the ancient Egyptian faces that are always sideways on. I find full-on faces also artificial. I also get irritated with the techie auto-suppressing of voices speaking at the same time. Too often thinking do I say, “I didn’t catch that … “ or just keep quiet again and smile.
And I am growing tired of the “virtual audiences” plastered wall-to-wall across television studios. I am irritated by the sound/picture remote delay. I am weary of the new play-acting of presenters speaking to a screen rather than a real person really right there. And pretending they are.
I am tiring of technology’s limitations.
We are remarkable in the abilities we take for granted when we are together. To filter out and in, pick things up, focus on details, see the big picture, drop in and out, read body language, sense an atmosphere, feel safe, see a bust-up brewing, speak with our eyes across the room, tick-off the signs just like a bingo-card when a group is self-imploding. Gadgets and technology are fascinating. But we human beings – face-to-face especially – are remarkable. That is what I miss more and more. A face-to-face world.
I want technology to return to its appointed place – of it being for “stuff”.
I want more and more to be with real humans, to watch humans being together, to have the entertainment of humans “sparking off” each other in the same space. And inside as well – not just outside with pretend-inside brought outside. And most of all I want not to be “socially distanced” all the time. No longer this “artificial” community.
I am weary of perspex everywhere I go and look. Weary of seeing our masks and gloves discarded like autumn leaves. Just ours are manmade and designed never to rot and disappear. For I am also weary of our entitlement. Our use and abuse of this planet we call home. This past year has wearied me. I am not built to live in a six-foot circle of my own company. I have no fight left in me. And the conclusion I think is this.
We are winning. Not yet won – there are never any guarantees of waking up tomorrow or making it through today.
But we are winning.
That is why I’m running out of Rona words.