Desperate times call for desperate measures. I’ve decided that I have to start posting daily to release my inner angst – and anger! Constant. It is just constant and I, like many people, have had enough. From dawn until dusk, one is subjected to the latest figures and developments and, yes, one can choose not to watch the news or listen to the radio but, in this digital age, there is no escaping. It is not just the dreaded virus which is making people ill, rather a severe strain of ‘dramatitis’!
For my part, I feel as though I am privy to a performance. Enter the key players, Boris and his flunkies, stage right. The set consists of three lecterns. The audience? Journalists and cameramen plus a nation of millions. There is an air of self-importance as Boris, first, delivers the key speech heralding further doom and life restrictions, followed by the Chancellor who seems intent on highlighting the great significance of his utterances in historic terms. That is, perhaps, until today …
While in my head, I cannot reconcile the figures with the accompanying panic – latest being 3,983 confirmed cases in the UK with 177 deaths – bit by bit, normality is shutting down. Pubs, restaurants, gyms, theatres, cinemas, the lot! Enforced isolation. For one, neither a fan of people – in general – nor crowds, one would think it no hardship but, the truth is, I have always hated being told what I can and cannot do. My freedom has been curtailed, regardless.
I ventured into the abyss today – two supermarkets in a quest for toilet roll! Now, quite frequently my idea of hell, this is to be avoided at all costs. I was conscious, at all times, of everything I touched and the people around me but most seemed oblivious. The household shelves were, predictably, empty and so I stopped to question one of the staff who explained that people were there from 7.30am to clear the shelves! Weren’t there restrictions? Yes, but those who can just come back the next day and the next. She told me that there have been customers in tears at the checkout, one unable to buy mince for her husband who has leukaemia! Once again, ashamed of my fellow race. Who hasn’t seen that heartbreaking footage of the Critical Nurse in tears when, on heading to the supermarket, she found the shelves empty? I do question supermarkets and empty shelves. Me? I left with cereal, parmesan and wine!
I have long been aware of the strength of the mind; the effect of one’s mental health on one’s physical. What, then, of the incessant media coverage? The dramatic media coverage? Media coverage whose rhetoric is, seemingly, geared to incite panic? Why? I understand the potential threat of this virus to the vulnerable. I understand that it is an unknown quantity but what is it that we are not being told? There has to be justification for this media torture! It is the choice of words I find abhorrent. I made notes of a few examples.
‘Today, I can announce that, for the first time in our history, the government is going to step in and help to pay people’s wages,’ Rishi Sunak, Chancellor.
Why the need for that qualification? Why the drama?! Facts, only, required.
‘Although older people are the hardest hit, younger people are not spared … People under 50 make up a significant proportion of patients requiring hospitalisation.’
‘You are not invincible. This virus could put you in hospital for weeks or even kill you.’
Both of the above, courtesy of the World Health Organisation. Brutal! No wonder there’s a dearth of toilet roll!
Then, there is the announcement that social distancing may need to be upheld for up to a year!
For a country which had become very much focused on mental health, what has happened? All too much for most, there is no thought for those who were already struggling. This focus on the dramatic makes me so angry. The here and now is what is important. One day at a time. Why overload and depress with a long-term scenario which can only be predicted?
Not impressed. Not impressed by the foreboding media coverage, all-consuming in nature. Not impressed by the bid for the dramatic. Not impressed by the empty shelves. Not impressed by mankind, in general. While there is much talk of wartime and community spirit, I cannot help but regret what has been lost in the passing years: pride, respect and consideration for others. This egocentric nation lacks the very attributes which won two world wars and made Britain Great.
It is depressing, not least because there is no escape! Oh, to wiggle one’s nose and be in Rome … Italy may be the worst hit but the spirit cannot be dampened. To see footage of those in isolation singing, nightly, from their windows, balconies, roof terraces – united in a bid to beat the gloom – is uplifting. One can imagine no such thing here – well, without the accompanying four-letter words or the ensuing brick! There is little romantic about Britain at the best of times and this is anything but the best of times. That said, any comparison to wartime spirit, courage or endurance smacks of disrespect – and wishful thinking.
A sense of humour bypass, then. I’ll work on that for tomorrow. Meantime, let me leave you with this gem …
Schools closed today, as we know. For one Chinese boy – a pupil at a well-known boarding school in Perthshire – that meant his father sending a private jet to bring him home. Allegedly costing a mere £300,000, I wonder if he gave any of his friends a lift? What a sick world! No pun intended.
‘Somewhere … somehow … I want to find a place without any trouble. Do you suppose there is such a place, Toto? There must be. It’s not a place you can get to by a boat or a train. It’s far, far away, behind the moon, beyond the rainbow. Somewhere over the rainbow …’
The Wizard of Oz.
This is Trish, signing off.