We are living in strange times. Coronavirus has hit the world like nothing else and deaths multiply by the day. It would seem as if the world has been cursed.
Everyone has been affected in different ways which has led to massive contrasts in people’s lives. A real dichotomy exists between the thousands of those that work out on the front line and those that are confined to home.
For the frontliners it’s crazy crazy as they relentlessly pursue the saving and protecting of people’s lives and the delivering of essential goods, working crazy hours around the clock. In contrast, for those that remain confined to home living in self-isolation, they are far more likely to be going stir crazy.
Yet there can be huge contrasts even for those self-isolating. For those living in confined spaces with several others and no outdoor space, it can could be extremely claustrophobic and difficult, compared to those living in bigger homes, with patios and gardens. No-one is in the same boat. Indeed, it has been said that whilst we are all in different boats, we are all on the same sea and heading for the same destination.
Whilst many will be working from home and others will be furloughed – and clearly there could be huge financial and emotional issues related to that – everyone will share the same sense of having far more time on their hands than usual. Time to reflect and pause for breath in these busy lives that we all lead. A time to clear the mind and think afresh, to consider and assess what really matters.
Time for many to get fit, to walk, cycle or pound the deserted roads, streets, parks and countryside as and where they can. Little time to stop and linger though as the new rules need to be observed. Benches in picturesque places remain unseated as most abide by the guidelines.
Gardens will be looking gloriously resplendent like never before, with not a blade of grass out of place, patches planted, patios blasted and fences creosoted. Jobs lists ticked off on a daily basis.
In contrast, for many others, the opposite will be true. Too much time can lead to frustration, boredom, loneliness and depression. Alcohol sales are on the up, domestic abuse similarly. Sad times. Some are definitely cursed.
There are so many disparities. Whilst the chattering classes in the shires are fretting about the cancellation of their hair and waxing appointments – indeed some have even now gone to the desperate measures of cutting each other’s hair – the real desperation and angst is reserved for those at the other end of the chain, fighting for survival as well as those at the forefront of the survival process.
Communication is hugely important for all in these times of uncertainty and isolation, right from the government at the top to those holed up at home. The government communicate yet are roundly criticised for not communicating with enough clarity or stating enough of what people want to hear. The curse can lead to confusion.
In contrast, the isolating classes seem to be overloading at times with their communication, sharing all and everything whether the recipient wants to receive it or not. Smart phones and tablets are taking a pounding on all forms of social media and WhatsApp seems to have grown off the scale. It would appear that everyone now belongs to several different groups, it can be hard to keep up. ‘Funnies’ or ‘unfunnies’, as many prove to be, are shared around like confetti. Too many and even that can feel like being cursed.
Group video chats have become the new norm – zoom, teams or houseparty – seemingly now being used by the whole world. It is quite extraordinary and such a complete contrast to how the business and social worlds used to operate only two months ago. Tik Tok has appeared from nowhere too and is energising the nation’s youth.
The coronavirus curse continues to cull, with no apparent end in sight, and as it does so the contrasts will continue. Many of those on the front line will be tired, stressed and tense and will be desperate for a break whilst at the other end of the spectrum, those confined to home, will be desperate to end this break and get back to working and seeing people again.
Contrasting lives, contrasting views yet all with the same wish – for the curse to disperse and for life to return to some form of normality. It cannot come soon enough.