The accountancy mentioned is strictly of the emotional variety. As a woman remarked of pandemical behaviour in general “The nice is very nice and the nasty isn’t very nice at all.” Never an optimist, cockeyed or otherwise, I expect the worst and celebrate the best. I don’t believe Covid 19 will all turn out for the best but I do believe this is the only wakeup call the flatulent over populated spoilt world would listen to – no pop concert, no million billion Facebook friends, not the demotion of killing disease – none of that could have made the difference that this nasty bug has made. It has frightened us half to death and we needed frightening.
You have to choose who you talk to in these terms. The Kandinsky Kid only wants everything to be all right – her main progress in the last year has been to admit that about herself, before we were all Pollyanna’d to apoplexy. Pam the Painter admits she can only stand so much reality sandwich at any one time but it’s more than it ever used to be. Bunslove (having sold his millstone maisonette legally correctly) is now restored to bracingly cynical Celtic gloom and Ginny (presiding over job and house repairs of equal demand) is the blessed realist of the quartet. You can say anything to Ginny, she won’t have a sleepless night. She’ll sleep and fight again. I do truly know who my friends are and I bless heaven for them. Especially if the over 70s are going to remain in lockdown for the foreseeable future.
So when I talk about keeping the books, it’s about balance. I felt very badly when the sun came out and I had a series of eye disturbances and head pains which frightened me, discovering that the hospital level tests are currently no longer available at the oculist ( because of social distancing) and that my specialist is doing video consults only. But then I remembered the patient voice of my first eye specialist (now retired) who referred to my eyeballs as eccentric (very long apparently) which allows too much light into the wrong part of the eye – literally, a pain. So while appreciatively noting the sunshine, I don my dark glasses and close the shutters. It may look precious but it’s gotta be. I am very grateful for whatever vision I have. Balance.
I regret to tell you that having time doesn’t make me want to study for an extra mural degree or take up yoga, though I am impressed by the often very young who figure out how to make masks or shields or something useful. Far too many of the joggers have the same self righteous attitude as many cyclists in the past. They go straight at you, scattering body fluids generously, social distancing less important than the maintenance of fitness (obsession, anyone ?), very short on grin or greeting, clearly imagining they are a higher form of life.
The queues remind me of childhood. I have always loved to talk and to be spoken to and that’s definitely on the plus side though there are still many glued to the phone. And last week in Marks I met a Scot I know by sight (I’ll call her Maura), roughly my age, and a much younger woman and we began what I can only describe as joshing, verbally fooling about to our immense pleasure and, gathering from his grin, the delight of one of the shelfstackers. We wound up laughing like the sillies we are but observed social distance , it cost us nothing and when I walked round the fitment, another customer said “Thank you for laughing.” I gave her my best smile and said that I thought laughter was power.
Yesterday I met the street sweeper whose wife has had corona. And how was she ? “Well, quite honestly” he replied “Better than for ages. Because she has diabetes, and she gets bronchitis every winter, so she had to stay home and away from everything, complete rest. She was pretty ill but she’s OK and so am I and –“ he grinned “the streets aren’t half tidy! “ Because large numbers of people are at home. Balance.