This morning, I really felt the scale of what is coming. I woke up, got dressed and went for my walk. It was a beautiful misty day, but as I walked on the pebbles I felt overwhelmed and emotional about everything.
The biggest problem is probably that I’ve not slept well, and I am overtired. I’ve also not focussed on preparation for lockdown, or developed a routine. This morning was a warning to pay attention to those things.
And, as sad and horrible as this is, it’s not as bad as prison, or even house arrest. We have the Internet to help us stay in touch. Even under a lockdown, we are likely to be able to leave our houses for exercise.
I’m also uplifted by the idea that staying-in is saving lives. That makes it feel less like the time is being wasted.
One weird thing is how much of this already feels like a cliche. Such an intense experience, but also mundane. I also suspect that the 2021 Brighton Fringe will be filled with terrible shows writing during and about the lockdown.
I’ve been thinking about Kurt Vonnegut’s final novel, Timequake. It’s not a great book, but the main idea has stuck in my head: the world re-experiences a ten-year period of time, forced to repeat everything they did before. Like in Timequake, we’re living this isolated experience together. It’s a weird thing to have so many people facing loneliness at the same time.
Walter Benjamin once referred to “that terrible drug—ourselves—which we take in solitude“.
At 5:15, we all stop for the daily briefing. It’s rare for me to find the government so reassuring, but the advice is clear and simple. It’s good to know that if social distancing is widely adopted, then this can be beaten – although the timescale of “12 weeks to turn the tide” is a sobering thought. That takes me beyond my birthday and into the summer. But let’s do this.
It strange to drop off food to self-isolating friends, chatting on the doorstep at three meters distance. I won’t miss that. But it’s nice to see them and say hello.
At 8pm, Luke Wright did the first of his evening gigs, broadcasting live from self-isolation. It’s good to have entertainment, even if we can’t be in a theatre. There was something lovely and intimate about Luke reciting into a webcam, while projected on my wall, larger than life. Luke compared the gig to a festival one, as he could see people wandering in and out of the stream.
Today has been a grim little day mood wise. Tomorrow will be better. I am still determined to make this a positive experience.
There is a world after this virus. We need to prepare for this new world, and make sure it is a better world.