Reflections on Lockdown

This is just a short post to put up some reflections about the lockdown.

Some people have reported a fraying of the lockdown where they live. Personally I haven’t seen that much evidence of that here. As far as I can tell, everything that was shut at the beginning of the lockdown is still shut. There are a few more people about on balance I think, and not a massive amount of mask wearing [that seems to be a small minority]. I don’t know about town [city centre] because I have had no reason to go there.

A thing I have noticed though is the ‘Clap for the NHS’ weekly propaganda stunt seems to be declining in popularity just going on the noise levels and glances out of my window on 8pm on a Thursday. [I always find it so weird. If the USSR in the 1930’s had suggested a ‘Clap for Stakhanovite workers’ campaign it would be derided today as obvious state propaganda and control].

Now, the media keeps pushing the idea that there are these big dastardly rule breakers everywhere. I have seen even less evidence of this. The only ‘rule’ I have seen being broken is there is a sign up in the park saying don’t take your dog off the lead. I have seen people play catch with their dog off a lead (the evildoers! and murderers!).

One thing I’d also like to talk about is how social interaction just got very, very strange. Now I’m a socially awkward person who is not very good with normal social things. But it just got some weird new rules.

I had a strange yet completely banal interaction with a woman at the park the other day. This woman had taken her kids to get some exercise etc. She was carrying a baby and the baby’s hat flew off and landed at my feet. Now of course I bent down to pick up the hat so I could return it, because that’s what you do. Then the thought ran through my head ‘argh what if this woman thinks I’m dangerous and bad because I touched her baby’s hat and maybe she thinks I’m trying to poison her kid with covid 19.’ Fortunately this ended up being a completely normal social interaction where she thanked me for picking up the hat and put it back on the baby’s head.

Trying to avoid people is also very strange. I don’t know the other person’s intentions or feelings. I don’t care if a person happens to come near me, but I don’t know if the other person in the interaction is a fear porn believer. So when I’m in a shop I find myself having to avoid people in spaces where we will inevitably be closer than 2m because of size of aisle, etc. It is really clunky, but I find myself going to do it because I don’t want to be screamed at. I have also had interactions where people stand out of the way when walking down the road when there is enough space for me and them to pass at once. It’s also strange because you wonder whether the other individual is a fear porn believer or whether they are doing it because they think you are a fear porn believer.

So there are my reflections on lockdown and this ‘new normal’ they keep talking about.

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