Lockdown one; a privileged view
Alastair Oatey, Sept 2020
I hope you are doing ok
The worst thing about lockdown one was the legal requirement to include “I hope you are doing ok in these unprecedented times” in every email. OK, maybe not the worst thing, but right up there with talk of the new normal and the unnecessary use of “social” before “distancing”.
The authorised COVID narrative is of the isolation caused by lockdown, of the losses imposed by the virus, of pain, hurt and death. And yet, some of us were incredibly lucky; we were incredibly lucky. We were lucky enough to have a house where we are not cramped, a garden to enjoy summer evenings, jobs that can be done well from home, and a low-maintenance teenager who– thank the Lord – needed little home schooling by us.
The greatest of all our luck was a good Internet connection, our gateway to Zoom, shopping, music, theatre, box sets, gaming (for the under 50s), WhatsApp groups and addictive levels of news endlessly mutating and adapting to new facts, whether true or not. How different living though a pandemic would have been in my childhood. How lucky we are that this bad luck hit now.
How was lockdown one for us?
In truth for us in our little bubble it wasn’t much of a struggle. There was a guilty pleasure of spending time with family (2 legs and 4 legs included), of escaping the office, of a more fluid work and home lifestyle.
There was a regret of missing chance encounters, of no have-you-got-a-sec conversations as all conversations had to be premeditated and given a Zoom link.
Mostly, though, there was gratitude for our community, where more people offered help than needed to ask for it, where more people said hello as you walked past them in the village, and where a weekly clap became a prelude for a chin wag with neighbours about the unprecedented times in which we live.