Down the other side?

It’s a lovely, sunny morning, much as most days have been lately. We’re due rain later apparently, and the rest of the week, but it feels as if we’re coming down the other side of winter.

It feels a bit that way with lockdown, too. I don’t want to jinx anything, and I know better than to presume anything, but finally, at least, the infection numbers are coming down. From a peak of over 800 daily cases about two weeks ago, this morning the latest figure is 222. That’s the lowest for more than a month, and the trend is clear.

At this stage, we still face another month of stage four restrictions and mask-wearing. I had a welfare check-in yesterday from the office as part of their routine. I explained it was not much fun in this situation, but what can you do? It’s no fun for anyone, but the majority of us have accepted it as a necessary evil. Endure a bit longer, and we’ll get to the other side. No promises then, no guarantees, but at least we can then reset. We’re learning more all the time, and the experience of New Zealand is a reminder of how dangerous this thing is.

I reckon this will be a time we look back upon with curiosity – a surreal and testing time we yet endured. I look back occasionally upon the time I was homeless and it feels terribly bleak. I wonder how I kept going and why I didn’t wallow in misery – not that I was terribly happy. I wouldn’t want to go through it again and don’t know if I could. Enduring lockdown is child’s play in comparison, but I think we’ll come to look back and reflect upon all that we went without.

I got a message this morning from Mrs Cheeseboy asking if I was okay. I really appreciate the gesture. I live by myself with a dog, and I think it’s single people who probably have it toughest in these times of isolation. Speaking to a colleague yesterday who lives by himself, he was pretty frank in admitting how much he’d struggled. It hasn’t been so bad for me – not good, but not so bad either.

It could be the experience of being homeless was good preparation for this. In ways, it’s not dissimilar. The risk of a deadly virus isn’t there, and there’s no restriction on movement, but the social isolation is very real. For all my imagination, I’m also a very practical person – a rationalist, almost. These are the sums we’ve been given, this is what they add up to, and this is what it means. You try and take the personal out of it.

I was glad to get the message, though. Mrs Cheeseboy is a sensitive type and conscious that it isn’t easy for people by themselves. She’s thoughtful and, if nothing else, it’s nice to know that you haven’t been forgotten. It counts for more than you know.

Like everyone else, we’re eager to break free of these constraints and live life again once the lockdown is over. For her, it’s a brekky out. For me, a glass of wine and conversation. For a lot of us, the urge to kick up our heels and celebrate will be strong. Still need to be wary, but a little fun will go a long way.

Not there yet, though. The prospect of freedom is alluring, but we can’t afford to ease up now, or we might never get there. Them’s the sums.

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