It’s been a while internet people. I haven’t had the time, nor really the inclination to write anything for a while, even my regular projects have fallen a bit by the wayside.
Since I last posted, we are still in lockdown, here in Blighty the government has decided to change their official policy from one of clear advice and instruction to vague handwavy suggestions. So instead of stay at home unless you are in a key or essential job, we have go into work if you can’t work at home, but don’t use public transportation. You can go to the park, but you still can’t go and see friends and loved ones at home, you can see a friend in public, but not be close to them. You can go and exercise as much as you want, but there’s no gyms. It has been somewhat confusing. We are getting daily briefings, but less and less actual information is getting across. So lockdown continues, death-tolls rise and we somehow know even less than we did in the past.
It’s been a scary and also somehow boring time and this has created unique mental health stresses in unexpected places. I am still in work, my work is not healthcare essential, but I am a key worker in that I am in financial services and people still want paying in this situation. With my wife (the MIGHTY Rosie) working from home, it wouldn’t be practical for both of us to do so, so I go to work every day as usual. The unusual is the workload, the constant interruptions and the no knowing when things would get back to normal. Giselle the dept manager was off last week, I can understand that, I genuinely can, but it dropped me and the Disney Princess into a huge vat of the brown stuff. It got so bad that she had a bit of what she called a breakdown on Friday. It was difficult to see that, partially because I know how that feels and no one wants to do that in front of people at work. The other reason is that I couldn’t just go over and hug her. She’s not a hugger really and with people I am not close to neither am I, but I would have anyway except for social distancing. The company’s director (also her brother) came in and offered to do all kinds to help, yet when I spend 2 years complaining about how we are understaffed and over worked, nowt. Still it looks like we are getting help and that sounds like a good thing. But whilst most people are working from home or not working, I am working twice as hard as ever and feeling the strain. I get up, go to work, go home for lunch, go back to work, go home. Every day of the week and I have been feeling the strain.
When the announcement came that schools would re-open early June, my primary though was “that’s nice, but my son won’t be going in.” We’ve something like the highest infection rates in Europe and we need to be sending children into places were social distancing won’t be viable. Have you tried keeping 4 year olds away from one another? Try it, it’s like herding cats. Even if children aren’t catching it as much, they’ll still carry it from their homes to one another and this looks likely to increase the rate of infection. Science may not back me up, but it still seems too soon to be doing this and it be safe. It turns out that our city Mayer agrees and Liverpool (along with Hartlepool) have chosen to defy this June return date. Our city has decided not to reopen schools on the basis of public safety. I am in the position of being proud of a political body in this country. That is a bizarre feeling I must admit. The safety and well being of my son has been my focus in this era, getting him to focus on reading and learning while he is off, making sure he keeps social distance from everyone, even his devoted grandparents and trying to manage his hayfever in an increasing warm climate is the thing that I am focused on, so I don’t see him going back to school straight away, even if other kids do. It does make me look like a bit of an anti-vaxxer, but I get the feeling that this is an unprecedented enough situation to get me the benefit of the doubt, I want his life to get back to normal as soon as possible, but never at the expense of his well being and safety.
So these are the things that are going through my head right now, well at least some of them and I felt the need to get these things out there. But here’s the thing, it’s not all doom and gloom and I feel like I need to get some positives out there.
1: My love of comics has made a resurgence, despite all of the local comic shops being closed and the distribution being stopped, I have been re-reading lots of comics as well as using the sales at Comixology to enjoy new things. DC comics have started doing digital first comics, 17-22 page one and done comics that aren’t so continuity heavy and aimed at younger and laspsed readers. They have been really entertaining and at 80p per issue, really well priced. Superman, Batman, Aquaman, Wonder Woman and the Flash all have one and I have been really enjoying them. I think there is a Swamp Thing and a DC Girls one too, but I haven’t been reading those.
2: Local shops have become a staple of my shopping in a way that they haven’t been for years. There’s a bakers that sells the cream soda that you used to get from the lemonade van that used to visit the streets where I lived during my childhood and that’s been a lovely slice of my childhood brought back. I have also spent money at a butchers and a fruit and veg shop nearby as well as several corner shops and newsagents, rather than visit Asda or Tesco and deal with queues and shortages. Asda and companies like that will be fine, so these smaller outfits need our support and our £s.
3: Delivery businesses. There are local firms that deliver fruit & veg and others that do cakes and treats and as a result I have had some lovely cupcakes recently. I know I should be eating better right now, but damn that’s been some tasty stress eating.
4: Whilst I have not been able to binge watch TV, I have been able to enjoy what has been available and will be posting about that soon enough, but I have been able to enjoy a re-watch of How I Met Your Mother with SuperSam and the MIGHTY Rosie, a Power Rangers re-watch with Super-Sam and Grey’s Anatomy with the MIGHTY Rosie. I also watched the ‘documentary’ Chris Claremont’s X-Men, which I found interesting.
5: I have started exercising in the morning, some pull ups, push ups and stuff and now have a fitness tracker on my wrist (wow that’s a high pulse rate) and it’s kept my physical well being close to the front of my mind, which it should have been anyway and that early exercise has helped start my days off well.
6: My people. From the extended family I can only contact via social media, to my family (the aforementioned MIGHTY Rosie and SuperSam together with Lottie the Loopydog) my people have been the best thing about all this. SuperSam is reading stuff that I have given to him and we are walking the dog together and enjoying one another’s company. The MIGHTY Rosie and I are talking more and whilst we are both suffering in our mental health, we are talking about it more and being more of a team than we have in years, a year ago things were falling apart, but now even with the world ending outside our door we are good with and for one another.
7: It’s going to be okay.
I am not by nature an optimist, I suffer from anxiety and depression and as a result the negative is never too far away, but I honestly believe it’s going to all work out. The pandemic has exposed the ‘leaders’ in this world as being as uncaring as we feared, that the system is rigged against us and that all we are in reality all just in it together. But we are all in this together. Strangers say hello from 6 feet away, “Stay safe” has become the new “see you later.” We finally recognise our healthcare workers as the super heroes that they are and we are using social media to care for one another in a way we haven’t been for a long time. These are scary times, people are dying, but this shall pass and one day this will be alright and we will be able to walk in the sun again. We will be okay and if you are reading this, I hope that includes you. Well this random bit of verbal incontinence is done, take care of yourselves.