Socially Distant Day 4

What to say…?

Spent all day on twitter fielding robot drawings for Will Sliney as part of his #weWillDraw initiative. Will’s very good at this stuff, coming up with something and having it go viral.

Anyway, I got 2000AD involved (because – as you know, I’m a 2000ad droid now – that’s a message for myself in my twenties, in case I somehow invent reverse time capsules – and, while I’m there, buy apple stock.)

It basically took my mind of the whole end-of-the-world show.

Then today, the four o’clock press conference with Boris Johnson – who’s face now looks like it really wants to escape his head – announced that all pubs, gyms, cinemas and restaurants are closing. Forthwith. No messing around.

This was coming.

Now we sit and try not to infect our neighbours and try and keep ourselves from becoming infected.

As a unit, there’s four of us – me, Annette, Thomas and Nathan. Thomas has asthma and may be susceptible (though from what I’ve been told he may be lower risk than I first imagined).

Nathan at 15 has a tight group of friends, and while the internet can allow him to keep connected to this small social group, I can’t imagine what he’s missing.

I think there’s an optimistic hope in the air this is a two to three month deal. I don’t think so. I think this is until we find a quick acting test – at which point some strictures can be relaxed. But we may find things like international travel requiring you to have your movements monitoried for a fortnight before and after (so they can backtrace whoever you’ve been in contact with) and testing as you get on and off planes – possibly even three or four days of testing before the flight.

Then, 18 months later a hoped for vaccine. Which, I think, assumes the virus will behave itself and not start wildly mutating. In the event of that happening… well, the worlds a different place then.

I don’t think it’s easy to describe to people how different travel was before 9/11 – certainly in Northern Ireland the changes post 9/11 weren’t too great for us (we’d already had enhanced security at airports) but I remember the culture shock of going to London in the early 90s (pre 9/11) and seeing police walk around – without guns. At the airport, no guns. In the streets, no guns. It was amazing to me, having come from Belfast where armed police was the norm, and police cars looked like small tanks.

It will be a profoundly different place and we won’t really notice the difference. Until we watch old tv and it’ll seem weird, something not right – like rewatching friends and thinking “what’s missing?” “Oh yes. Mobile phones and the internet”.

I went to Dunnes today – it’s an Irish supermarket with a decent presence in the North of Ireland. There’s a distribution warehouse / store around the corner from where I live (as a matter of fact, before Dunnes bought it, it was derelict building of some sort where I used to play as a kid).

I’ve been nipping into Dunnes every day over the past week. A behaviour I’m not normally prone to, but I suppose – rather than hoarding as many people seem to have done – I’ve been just making sure … my cupboards don’t fall below … let’s call it “big shop level” (you know, you do one big shop, the place is heaving with food? that)

Today at the door one member of staff was there with spray, proferred (optional) gloves while I shopped, and asked me to wash my hands.

Inside the store tills had lines marked on the floor in two metre increments for you to keep a distance in the line and the exit was a one way system. Dotted around signage like you’d see in a disaster movie that was being heavy handed about fighting a pandemic.

At some point this will be the normal, and I’ll find it weird to get to close to someone in the queue. Which, in the end, may be no bad thing.