Today is the first non-work day on retreat. What does weekend mean now? How does that affect the schedule?
My plan for today was Walking. I picked a route that allowed me to maintain responsible social distance, avoiding any groups of people. I also thought it would be good to get out of the flat and think about strategy. Yes, I’ll be a project manager at heart until the bitter fucking end.
The walk itself was a bit of a trudge. I picked too long a route, and found some stretches boring. I’m discovering that I’m not a huge fan of rewalking rural areas (although the world has found a brilliant solution for me, right?). The bizarre thing was passing by a couple of stalls (at Hove Park and Ditchling Beacon) and seeing people queueing close together. The messages are not getting through.
I’m hoping the current restrictions are in place for a short time. But the pub closures are going to be “reviewed on a monthly basis“, which suggests disruption could go on for a while. The question I’m asking myself is how I would cope with an indefinite distancing. (By indefinite, I just mean we have no idea how long this will continue – and better to plan for a long time and not need those plans, right?)
The main thing I’ve realised is that I’ve not set up enough frivolous activities. I’ve thought of a few other things to do, such as practising juggling. I also need much less screen time. And maybe I should be writing more letters.
I suspect we’re still in a stage of shock at the scale of the current problem. I’m hoping that, over time, new solutions will emerge. Some of these might involve previously unthinkable compromises with civil liberties. I also wonder how society if going to change in other ways. Brighton has a lot of people who live alone. Previously, this was envied – now that has become a challenge. Are we going to see changes in the types of living arrangements people want? But, as this becomes the new normal, people will devise solutions.
One initial response to distancing is for people to be very social remotely. I’ve reached out to a lot of other independent people, making sure the communication lines are open. There have been a lot of phone calls. I’m loving zoom (and the virtual pubs). But I’m also aware this needs to be balanced with time to relax. So far, I’m staying off social media, which I find too stressful.
(While I’m focussing on my own problems, I’m also aware that a lot of people have it far worse. Beyond the people who are sick and the front-line staff treating them, there are large families living in very close quarters now, to say nothing of vulnerable people who cannot escape difficult or dangerous domestic environments).
And life is about finding new ways to Connect. Walking the seafront last night, I phoned a friend as I passed near her flat. She’s been in self-isolation for over a week now and, while we’ve spoken a fair bit, I’ve not seen her. She came out onto her balcony and we waved at each other.
The government’s shutdown of the pubs and restaurants had an immediate effect. By 9pm, Hove was Christmas-Eve-quiet. I popped by a couple of shops, cobbling together items from a shopping list for Rosy. It took three places and some flexibility to get everything, but I managed. Then, another doorstep conversation, keeping our distance. I can’t wait for this to end.
No plank today, because I walked 60,000 steps.