And like that, our first working week is over. I know for many others that this was week 2 or 3 and if I’m being honest, I’m not sure I’m looking forward to the length of this. Maybe if I had been in my job longer it would make this easier, I’m trying to balance expectations of myself, my new work colleagues and all the things that I would hope to accomplish within this time. But we are doing this, and we are ok.
Ben pointed out that he isn’t looking forward to Saturday, as it will feel like the days gone by; so, as an effort to change that we are setting new routines – one for the week and one for the weekend. I’m hoping that way we can get a magic back to the weekend and some reasonable expectation for the weekday.
People’s reactions are completely understandable to this situation, but in reality all that is being asked of us is to stay at home.
No extra measures. No extra effort. No extra cost. No extra time.
So we stay in, keep ourselves occupied and out of trouble.
“For a contribution today, I thought I’d provide what I hope is a bit of entertainment. These days, I am a self-employed creative writer and to keep my brain alive I often indulge in one hundred word pieces of Flash Fiction. I thought I’d share a topical one with you.”
Correct Distance by AnthonyL Church
“Granddad, what did you do in the great Corona outbreak?” I smiled proudly. “I got on with it my dear.” The little face thought for a second. “Did life really change forever?” “Of course not, my darling.” It was time for them to go, so I bumped my elbow with my son-in-law and virtually kissed my granddaughter through my new-age smarterphone. The other half was already in bed when I went up. “Did they get off ok?” I nodded and then got into bed ensuring that our trusty bolster would keep us at the correct distance apart throughout the night.
“Don’t tell them – they’ll probably want to sell up – but I actually LOVE my next-door neighbours. And next-door-but-one. Also next-door-but-two. The same for the other side and don’t get me started on those across the road. I love them all.
My emotions appear to be running high. Last night me and the neighbours met fleetingly on the street, like lots did across the UK, to applaud our beloved NHS workers. We clapped and whistled – at doors, on garden paths and in opened windows – for those carrying out brave, selfless and crucial work on the frontline of this crisis. Also to each other, we waved and shouted “hello” and I felt, for a little while afterwards, that frosty isolation had been wrapped snugly in the warm embrace of community.
At some point during this, I confess, a small salty tear MAY have slid silently down my cheek. Whether it’s down to an irrational, media-hyped fear of the virus taking us all out or simply the desperate lack of human contact, I sense that my emotions have the potential to properly embarrass me in the weeks ahead.
We should all be prepared to have the odd isolation-induced emotional meltdown but, to get through such a thing with sanity intact, we mustn’t suffer it alone. That’s where ‘knowing the neighbs’ is going to help. I’m really lucky that there’s already a couple of WhatsApp groups on my road: a general one and another with more immediate neighbours – a brilliant way to ask about anyone not seen or heard from for a while and also the source of much funny stuff that keeps us smiling through the worst of the news.
And when I admitted recently that something posted had actually scared the hell out of me and I felt pretty daft, neighbours jumped in to reassure that I wasn’t alone in this. If I hadn’t shared my fears and had them put into perspective by others, I’d probably be worrying about those fears still (only by now of course, left to do their own thing, they’d have magnified in my mind to gargantuan proportions).
Social media groups like these are one way we can preserve and strengthen our communities and ourselves through the quarantine. If you get the chance to chat/laugh/share with neighbours, whether you knew them well previously or hardly at all, take the chance and feel the love”.