Lockdown 'Unmasked' ALEX B CANN COLUMN
Face coverings are back in the headlines this week, with the news that Morrisons is about to start turning away shoppers who refuse to wear one. Clearly there are exemptions which mean you can’t wear a mask, but for everyone else, I do wonder if it’s really that much of an ask in the middle of a global pandemic for us to don a piece of cloth covering both our nose and mouth to keep others safe.
When doing a bit of research into this, I’ve discovered that you can buy a pair of ‘I’m exempt’ lanyards on a well known website for just £7.
I would have thought it would be a much better system if GPs or pharmacists gave these out, rather than anyone just being able to order one in order to circumvent the rules.
My auntie used to be a teacher at a secondary school, and recently said to me, in a class of 30 kids, 25 are lovely and comply with rules. Two are open to persuasion. Three just do what they want. I thought that was a good analogy for the situation we seem to be in nationally at the moment.
Whilst I probably spend more time on social media than most (for show research, obviously!), it does feel like a lot of national media spend their time looking for daft loopholes.
Does a walk around a reservoir and a five mile drive from your home with a peppermint tea class as a picnic? Does a seven mile bike ride break the spirit of national lockdown? The latter would certainly require a generous dollop of sudocrem, in my case.
None of us want lockdown to continue for longer than it needs to. I was given a little perspective recently when listening to a bit of Radio 4, and a disabled guest said that for her, lockdown won’t magically lift when everything opens back up again.
She has to meticulously plan every trip into town, every meeting with a friend, and can’t just pop out willy nilly. We’re getting a little bit of that at the moment, I guess, but that’s her life.
A lot of us are experiencing vivid lockdown dreams once again. The official term for them, I’m told, is ‘quarandreams’ (who comes up with this stuff?!).
It’s a combination of normal post-Christmas blues, uncertainty surrounding 2021, and possibly back to work or education (if you’re lucky!) mean we’re having some seriously odd cheese dreams at the moment.
My friend Helen and her sister were chatting recently about lockdown life, and she called it ‘brain escapism’ as she described dreaming about flying around the housing estate she grew up on, and popping into the houses of school friends and their mums, all of whom were pleased to see her.
I’m no dream doctor, but part of this must be yearning for the return of some normality.
I’ve really enjoyed more time at home with my wife Sofia, and her amazing Body Coach cookbook, to be honest! Home used to be somewhere I slept and visited, but now I really cherish it. I do, however, miss the days of being able to have lunch with a friend on a whim, and generally being able to make spontaneous plans.
I’d also like to give a mention to our postie, who’s been an absolute hero the last ten months. I don’t know his name, but he’s worked through all weathers, along with delivery drivers, police officers, and of course all other key workers. I’ll be buying him a bottle of wine this week to say thanks. Supermarket staff also deserve a medal for some of the stick they get daily from so-called ‘anti-maskers’.
I hope we can all agree to be kind to people just doing their jobs, and accept that nobody wants these restraints on our lives. If we all do our bit, we’ll hopefully see case rates and deaths begin to dramatically fall.
For now, though, it does require an effort from every one of us to make that happen. It won’t disappear without a collective effort and personal responsibility across the board.