Day One: 'Presents of loo roll and offers of recycling bags are now a thing…'

Contributor: Jennifer:

“Together we are going into this self-isolation on a positive note seeing it as an opportunity to be able to achieve and explore projects that were on a list to complete or as an option for self-growth.
Having stated a new job on Thursday of last week at a university, I
feel in a bit of limbo. The evening before they had told the students
that the workshops were now closed to them, so naturally some
were in and collecting work, advice, photos equipment and
materials; and then we made sure the workshop was shut down for
‘the foreseeable future’.

Such an odd phrase and not one that was commonly heard before,
maybe, a couple of months ago, most times there is a vague idea of
how long something should take – our society is run by legislation
and contracts stating start dates and end dates – even your
takeaway pizza has a timescale attached it! Food has best before
dates, roadworks have boards with an end date (not that it means
much sometimes), and then to meet worried students for the first
time, try to convince them that I am a good hire and come out with
something as woolly as ‘the foreseeable future’ – safe to say the
strangest start to a new job.

So today is Monday 23rd and the Day 1 of isolation.
After sending a photo of myself to my new workmates – a
recommendation from my line manager since I met about a fifth of
the team and we don’t know when we will be back. Then on to the
new starter online inductions – time consuming and boring, but if
ever there was a time to do them

At lunch I found myself in the garden with the neighbour’s cat,
enjoying the sunshine and contemplating whether I tackled that
weed that was taking liberties now or later (it didn’t last long, the
weed is gone). Having only my previous workplaces to compare to, I found myself realising that at this point I would have just been on my
phone, pointlessly scrolling waiting until I had to return to work –
maybe self-isolation had more potential then I had realised. And like
that without the need for a long car journey, it’s the end of the day
and I am home.

I can’t help but feel that today has been good – a work life balance
where small jobs in the garden that would get forgotten and would
go unseen were started. Or maybe I have spent too long recently
talking to my nan, who seems to think when this calms down, she
may need some extra bits from the shop – that sense of optimism is
contagious. However, in my head I know from Italy, China and Spain
that things have yet to get worse, and this is just Day 1 of Isolation.

I find myself thankful for the WhatsApp group on our street and the
people that are on it, as all the daft messages that come through
remind me that we are a community of people who are looking out
for one another. That presents of loo roll and offers of recycling bags
are now a thing, and concerns about vulnerable neighbours are
discussed. Its so easy in this time to become an island and just look
after your own, as shown in the behaviours around food shopping
displayed currently by Britain; but I hope that when this passes that
people have a look at how that behaviour is damaging and try on
some level to adjust their thinking. Having seen the video of the
Swiss supermarket, pictured above, we know it is possible to have a calm response to
uncertain times.”

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