It is funny times. The world as we knew it has turned upside down, stepping from our doors we enter a world fraught with invisible danger, we are constantly thrown by simple acts such as opening doors or paying for food, floundering, stress rises. And that’s to say nothing of those who put themselves in danger by serving us nor the heroic medics whose lives are endangered.
The fear in the air is palpable. The last time this ancient soil I walk upon each day was invaded was by the Normans a thousand years ago, even Hitler’s bombs missed us, though my mother was bombed in a radar station upon the cliffs 40 minutes drive away.
They stepped back abruptly as if my crutch was evilly coronated. It triggered my humour and further along, moving out the way for another couple I said, “Voila! Corona-space.” She smiled, he was not amused.
In the shops they are fraught as they deal with us corona creatures wanting all sorts of things. Waiting outside each store, even the doctor’s, the two metre space is respected but the odd person slides right up to you and starts chatting until you politely say, “Oops, give me corona distance.”
A crisis brings out the best and worst and line ups are tense but the odd joke eases the stress on people’s faces. Twice people in city-smart clothes have pretended they didn’t realise their was a long-two-metre queue and I've laughed and said, "Queues are a feature of CoronaLand."
No wonder, people are cooped up in the little homes (not those queue-jumpers though). But at eight on Thursday evening virtually the entire nation stepped outside their doors to clap for the NHS. I couldn’t help yelping joyfully, up the hill somebody cheered and smashed a wok, down in the valley they yelled and waved glasses of cider.
A man in posh clothes walked around our hardware store collecting expensive pots and pans, obviously an ‘incomer’ with a second-home or somebody who has rented a holiday home - some are paying £15,000 a month for corona-free space! That’s as much as many a local earns in a year. On the campsites people sit dinking chilled white wine outside their motorhomes. Last week the attractive old fishing port of Lyme Regis was packed with swaggering crowds on ‘holiday’ from virus cities such as CoronaLondon, forcing shops to close early to save their staff and themselves. Locals are angry - these folk stomp about our spaces without thought for the bug they have brought down here and who strain our already frail supply chains. Will they soon strain our small hospitals? It feels unfair.
I asked the man who runs our vegetable shop if he’s doing OK and he said, “Too well. I don’t like exploiting the situation.”
“You’re providing a valuable service, your prices are low.”
“Trouble is, I have to reflect the prices I pay and things have gone up. Ginger is four times its usual price!” “Wow!” “People think it helps fight off coronavirus so wholesalers can’t get the stuff and so prices rise…”
Yes, it is frightening, but do only what you have to. I use my left hand as my dirty hand - for doors, tapping in my code. The right is for removing the card from my right pocket, for the keys in there too. Masks are virus-air traps. Plastic gloves retain the virus for 72 hours but they discourage me from touching my face. Soap is the virus-buster! (yes, read that). Washing gloves still on my hands with each return home has become routine. Keys too. Credit card as well. Just in case….
And here's a proven exercise to help you cope (also posted last week). It is based on scientific research and really works, but only if you are attentive whilst doing it. Make it a habit and bust the corona-fear.