When I occasionally meet a friend or neighbour across our 2 metre social distance, I ask ‘How’s it going for you?’ (i.e. as in ‘isolation’ or ‘lock-down’). They might reply, eloquently, in a gush, of horror, of bondage, of deprived grandchildren, or deprived-from grandchildren. Another might mutter ‘O.K’, looking down. One has shouted ‘I love it! I don’t have to see anybody!’ (in-laws, or grandchildren?)
Fortunately, it doesn’t seem to occur to these people to ask me... their stories are often so interesting. However, if I were to answer truthfully, I would surely be taken for one of the Fs above.
At this stage, the only concern tapping me on the shoulder, is that this current imposed routine, could revert soon to open doors and social life again.
I insist that I am aware that, out there, insurmountable pain and difficulties continue, threatening many lives at many levels. We have been plunged into a totally surreal condition, into unimaginable challenges, on-going, with a trail. There are also the good, the heroic, to be learned from, every day.
Back to me (FFFF). I am, yes, in an enviable position, in my eyes, at least ... old, but not in the ‘vulnerable’ category; unhampered by obligations, in a kind and comfy personal environment, with a view of a quiet garden.
I can worry about exposed families overseas, but being unable to assist, simply Hope, for them.
I am not a recluse, though accustomed to being alone with my thoughts or occupations or naps.
Having pleaded my case... Dare I now admit: I am loving the self-isolation, lock-down period! (may be alone in that, maybe not!)
Never have I encountered such a sea… a tsunami, of, for example, cultural offerings or other interests, at the fingertips! Every gallery, theatre, museum, music hall, joke, email, message, entertainment, Zoom gathering, falls over itself to keep you/me, in mind.... that mostly unseen, but valuable and obviously needy, lonely, human (‘ I am not a Robot’) at the other end of cyber-strokes ! A vital silver thread will tie us together always, now.
I am seriously tasked to consider more personal, allotted exercise periods (I go out to clap for NHS), and I know that the sun is shining past the iPad.
But... how often will the invitation to write (about myself!) even about ‘anything’, to send and ‘get it down’ ... come my way? Or to accumulate ref. notes, vs clutter? What an opportunity! A younger relative is even searching out family memoirs. Seriously, and with time to do it!
All day, I forward, write, read, listen, laugh (FF)… No one is currently permitted to knock on my door (except for arranged deliveries). No longer trips to city centres, or to London… timed and pursued with determination for the pleasures. Just peace, innocent sleep and sensible eating unhindered...thinking time, too. (closer company remains active on-line, as over past decades).
So... as the ‘new normal’ takes over , as restrictions are eroded, and when the media and political bickering gets fully back underway... I look back - I see my lock-down receding all too quickly. But ...so good, so necessary, for others.
Excuse me. With love.
Amai. Senior citizen. Lives in Oxford.