Retreat, Days 21-22

  • Photos of the moon never come out anything as beautiful as they should be. This morning’s walk started with walking west towards a huge pink moon. These are terrible times, but the world seems so precious and vivid on my daily walks.
  • Yesterday was a tough day. I resented my confinement, and was stirred up by some discussions of how long this will last. I found myself irrationally annoyed by the joggers who ran too close to people, and by the way the regulations have stirred up a snoopy, judgemental attitude in people – including myself. Social distancing is hard, even for people who should find it easy. I feel better today though.
  • The only news source I’m following on coronavirus (via RSS) is Vice, which offered a positive sign in an article about Spain planning to start lifting  restrictions after about 6 weeks. While I don’t want to lift my hopes up, I feel happier to know there are possible exit strategies from this regime; but I’ve prepared myself for this to go on however long it needs to.
  • Someone forwarded a hoax Whatsapp virus alert onto the housing block group this afternoon. I hated the confrontation of having to (very politely) ask they not do this. Rumours spread faster than viruses, and Whatsapp is particularly pernicious. Social media rumours can be incredibly harmful.
  • Someone dropped a 5G conspiracy theory onto a local mailing list, which received a withering response: “One effect of the reduction in flights due to the Covid-19 lockdown is that conspiracy theorists are now no longer being microdosed with the drugs from chemtrails which had been keeping them docile.
  • The lack of planes is a subtle but strange aspect of this experience. This prompted me to listen to Bruce Springsteen’s song Empty Sky, about the last time planes were grounded on a large scale – but nothing like this. A very different situation, but the same powerful image.
  • I’m really appreciating the blog posts where people have described their experiences of social distancing. Wordridden’s post yesterday, A Journal of the Plague Week 3, included this beautiful passage about a hard week: “I got intense Fernweh and stared out the window for ages, looking at the same bland street I look at every single day, longing to be in Portugal or Greece or Singapore—but not the Portugal or Greece or Singapore of now, obviously. The Portugal or Greece or Singapore of before. The world of before.
  • I’m very aware that, after this crisis ends, we’ll be in a very different world. Forgive yet another link to a Vice article, but This Is Year Zero for Life in Britain was a bleak descripton of how things have changed: “Somewhere between the morning’s death graphs and my third instant coffee of the day, I made a list of things that no longer make any sense: capitalism, fashion, celebrities, burglars, “wild swimming”, supper clubs, Condé Nast Traveler, Tyler Brûlé, Tom Ford, aftershave, Tom Ford aftershave, being “fussy about design”, being “particular about coffee”, lunch at Shoreditch House, dinner at Pret, Talksport, Tripadvisor“. British complacency has been forever disrupted, to both good and ill effect.
  • Probably the bleakest headline I’ve ever read come’s from this week’s New Yorker: The Coronavirus Is the World’s Only Superpower
  • But I continue to find moments of personal joy. My cooking is improving as I tire of the dishes I usually cook, and crave fresh food and unprocessed flavours.
  • I’m also discovering the value of a good personal library, and having a range of books to flick through.
  • After work, I had a video call from my parents. They were drinking wine in the garden, their grandchildren playing at a safe distance nearby. I think they have it pretty good right now.
  • Monday I managed a 71 second plank. My initial confidence about reaching 5 minutes is looking shaky.
  • The sea was so still this morning, and the moon so beautiful.
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