The Coronavirus Diaries, 14th April 2020

I delivered some groceries to Celia this morning and we had our separated conversation. I was Romeo to her Juliet on the stairs above me. She had tried to comment on yesterday’s and Sunday’s posts but for some reason her comments are lost in cyberspace. She told me she was glad to hear of my lethargy because she too has days like this. I tried and almost succeeded (I think) to articulate some of the feelings I have at the moment. I am impressed, wowed even, by the response of theatres, museums, galleries to lockdown. You can see anything and everything free and online. If you want to learn accountancy, astrophysics, tai chi or tap-dancing there will be an online class, though your neighbours may not be happy if you choose the last. That makes me think of a wonderful television play I saw decades ago where Maureen Lipman, playing a bored housewife, takes up flamenco.

I am getting inspirational emails from my professional organisations and colleagues about virtual work, about CPD, lectures and all manner of wonderful, imaginative, innovative responses to lockdown. Does my heart sing when I see them? No it does not. I have the equivalent mental reaction to turning my face into the pillow. I don’t know why, so I have been trying to unravel my response. It is not yet clear to me, so forgive me the clumsy attempts I am about to make.

We are living in unparalleled times. We are learning more and more from accredited scientists about why this virus is so devastating. It is becoming clear that our lives as human beings are largely responsible. We have eroded other creatures habitats so much that we now live much closer to other members of the natural world than is healthy for us or for them. Viruses other creatures carry to which we are susceptible therefore can migrate to a human population, a population that travels around the globe, taking the viruses with it. OK, say some, kill the other creatures who have these viruses. Job done. No, problem exacerbated, because we need other creatures, including the house fly, for our own survival.

If, when we go back to normal, that normal is how we have been doing things up til now, we can expect more pandemics. We as a species have been astoundingly successful, but now there is a reckoning. We don’t have another planet to pull out of our collective back pockets. To survive, we have to change. I think the reason I am so reluctant to avail myself of the astounding things online is because it seems to me they are sending a message that life as we know it can continue via the internet until we all get out and about again and resume our lives as they were before this pandemic. In other words, they are denying that change is necessary.

I saw a tweet someone had sent to Greta Thunberg this morning saying we had a bigger issue to think about than climate crisis. Wrong. Climate crisis is all part and parcel of our current situation. Coronavirus does not exist in a vacuum; climate crisis does not exist in a vacuum; enviromental issues do not exist in a vacuum. Everything, whether you like it or not, is connected.

Wake up and keep well.

12 thoughts on “The Coronavirus Diaries, 14th April 2020

  1. I think the online resources are also to help us cope with the lockdown – and of course to keep us in mind of the theatres and museums and galleries and concert hall that we will want to be there when we emerge. You’re right that change is necessary, and hopefully this will be a catalyst, but a lot of what we had is worth keeping.

  2. Yes makes perfect sense to me too…I do truly hope that people will use the time to reflect right now and emerge feeling that things need to be different in the future.

  3. Our lovely state Governor outlined the steps we will take to emerge from this lockdown. The final step – after the slow opening and return NOT to business as usual, the testing testing testing, the continued social distance and face masks, the identification of a vaccine – is to prepare for the next pandemic. (He did NOT offer a timetable for any of this). You are so right: human beings in our vast numbers made this possible. It isn’t the first pandemic and because we are deeply stupid it won’t be the last. I truly appreciate and admire all the creative people still creating beautiful and inspiring and challenging art; still sharing that art by any means available. I think I’m also in a state of mourning for how much of that communal human celebration isn’t going to return, possibly ever. Take care.

    • Of course they would still happen, but the scale and frequency are likely to be accelerated by our behaviours. So when we go back to ‘normal’ it needs to be a new normal that tackles these behaviours and ameliorates them.

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