Retreat, Day 55

It’s coming towards the end of my seventh week of social distance, and I’m feeling positive. I’m settling into this new lifestyle, and trying to enjoy life under the circumstances (acknowledging that I’m in a much better situation than a lot of people). And I’ve actually had some very good days, reading, relaxing and working on my writing. It’s a quiet life – I’m actually socialising less than near the start – but not unpleasant.

Part of this is getting used to the fact that things will be strange for a long time. Matt Webb wrote a blog post about this, There is No After, which did a good job of expressing some of the things I’d been feeling.

I’m coming to this realisation late, I know, others have been talking about the new normal for ages. It’s helping me to think like this, because instead of waiting around – life on pause – thinking about how to pick things up when things return to how they were, or keeping my powder dry because things might be different again in the After, or saying oh I’ll do that later when thing have settled down, I can start adjusting right now instead.

It’s a bleakly realistic piece but a good one. Despite a feeling of well-being, I’m a little confused by the mixed messaging from the government. We’re a long way from the five tests set for lifting lockdown, but there are headlines about it ending, VE day parties shown on the TV, and the government expressing surprise that drive-in restaurants had shut (despite this being obviously against the letter and spirit of the regulations). These messages are very different from the crisis implied by the government graphs – but maybe it’s a strategy of slowly lifting things to see what happens? Who knows. But it feels strange – and such feelings aren’t helped by naval vessels lurking off the shore!

There was a good article in the Guardian about how lockdown affects our sense of time, and how important it is to have noteable days to break up the routine. Zoom continues to be omnipresent, and a vice article contained the observation: “When a video call ends, there’s a moment of silence when you’re even lonelier than before.

The birds continue to be noticeable with their loud song. Thursday, I had a work conference call livened up by a blue-tit flying through the house. And, one morning, I was delighted to see a jay:

Via BLDGBLOG, a haunting story about stranded cruise ships, “maritime ruins in an age of COVID-19… a network of ships ‘spread out loosely in three groups spanning some 30 miles’

Image: EO Browser, Sinergise Ltd/Attribution 4.0 International CC by 4.0), via The War Zone.

It’s a strange world.

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