I (like so many others) have been working from home for a week now.
At the start of said week, a friend texted to check in and make sure I was doing ok, and one of the things I said is that I would probably write a lot during this time.
I’ve been thinking a lot about that, because there is a lot in my head, but putting it into words on metaphorical paper is the challenge. It’s not even about having some new and original thought, or some kind of epiphany (lord knows, I’ve never been about that). It’s about being able to turn any of the noise and colour into words and sentences. Honestly, I’ve found myself speechless.
It is not even that the current situation is unprecedented. It is in my lifetime, and in the vast majority of cases, but we know a lot about history, so we know that this kind of thing has happened before. Biology has always dictated it was likely to happen again, which is why the SARS and Ebola crises were both so scary. We have been waiting for our next pandemic for a long time. I’m not shocked that other people are shocked though, because this isn’t expected, or normal. It feels like the big deal that it is (despite the many people still behaving otherwise). It’s such a big deal that it’s a challenge to comprehend. The numbers are already far beyond what I can expand my mind to imagine.
I’m speechless at the international political reaction. Sometimes in good ways, sometimes in less good ways. The people we have chosen (in some cases) to lead us are doing…a job, and only time will tell whether it is a good or a bad one. In the main, I feel like the UK government has said the right things, but a little slower than we needed. The lack of real information provided alongside most of their promises is the thing which leaves me worried though, because saying the right thing is all very well, but putting my fiance out of a job, and then taking two weeks to announce that you’ll also not be giving him any financial support (he started after the furlough qualification date of 1 March) is quite another.
Ultimately, the political decisions which have been made will likely save a lot of people from the coronavirus. But they may drive hundreds of thousands of people below the breadline and into destitution. The UK government may be saying the right things, but saying them after 10 years of destroying our health service and welfare systems, and repeatedly stamping on those who most need their community to stand with them, really reduces the impact of “saying the right thing”.
While we are on the community, the way people have come together (again, metaphorically) over this crisis has been heartening. Yes, there have been burglaries, and scams, but overall the reaction I have seen around me makes me feel proud to be part of my local community, and I hope I’m able to help somehow. I’m also proud of my communities online, made up of the people I work with, sing with and act with, who are continuing to do all of the wonderful things they can from afar.
I don’t know when I am going to see my family again. I don’t even know if I will see them again. That’s a sobering thought.
Like everyone, I’m also so convinced that I’ll “use this time well”. Today, I have spent 6 hours playing Skyrim and watching Ru Paul’s Drag Race, so I think I need to examine what I feel is time well-spent. I’m also doing some online filing though, and I plan to spend tomorrow writing accounts for my choir. As a busy person, having time in the house means ticking a lot of to-do boxes I would otherwise have struggled with, but it’s also hard to see what value any of it will have in the long-term.
Long-term is a difficult concept right now.
I feel like I’ve struggled to engage my creative mind at all in the last week (maybe that’s why I haven’t written anything until now) because I’m so tired. Physically, emotionally, socially – it’s amazing the energy it takes to be engaging over video-conference, and I’m not sure I’m managing it to be honest. Like everyone who is still working through this time, work is taxing right now, it feels relentless and still unsettled despite already being incredibly cyclical and predictable.
I started this blog as a travel blog, and now I am watching other countries shutting down, wondering if I’ll ever get to travel again and what the world will be like when I get there. The UK will probably (in the grand scheme of things) be ok. The developing world is much less secure.
I have no idea where we go from here. I have no linear thoughts, nothing to hold on to, just shapes and colours and tonnes of feelings. I don’t remember a day recently where I haven’t cried, and I have no idea what I’m crying about most of the time.
And on top of all of these thoughts, I am overwhelmingly aware that I am one of the lucky ones. I have a job, I have a house, I’m not alone. I have the time to sit around writing blog posts. I am still well.
When the colours and shapes settle, maybe I’ll do a playlist post or something.