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Corona Diaries: it will not be like this forever

June 10, 2020

Ben Macintyre, writing in yesterday’s Times, cheered us all up by telling us how the coronavirus will change our world permanently. I suspect the headline wasn’t written by him, because it says “The world will never be the same … in some ways it may be better”. He then proceeds to give us the usual litany of all the things that won’t get back to the old normal because the virus will be with us for ever – just like the common cold.

Only at the end of the article does he suggest how things might change for the better. He starts by telling us that there will be a surge of creativity. Maybe, though I’ve seen little of it yet. Just those TV paeans to loneliness and frustration under lockdown that have bored me near to death, or otherwise had me reaching for the prozac.

Then there are cycle paths “spreading through the cities”. Sure, though that’s a bit of a low blow, because surely nobody can say the cycle paths are a bad thing, can they? Well actually they can, and I do. They’re fine, as long as they’re fenced off to prevent kids, pooches, old ladies and blind people from straying into the path of these pious, planet-friendly masses of muscle hurling their way to work. Ever encountered these? Try Copenhagen, where you take your life in your hands whenever you venture out into the streets. Though I have to say that if I have to be knocked down and killed, let it be by some heart-meltingly beautiful Danish woman. Just as long as she doesn’t get hurt as well.

Then he talks about sick leave, which will “no longer be a sign of weakness but a civic duty”. Civic duty? I thought it already was. As in it’s your duty to throw a sickie so that the rest of us can be spared your description of your depravity the night before. Or because the last thing we need is to witness your misery as you thrash around in the last stages of Ebola on the office floor.

He ends by saying how adaptable we are as a species, and how robustly forgetful.

Well, I’m afraid I don’t want to adapt. I want the world back. I want to travel, to mix with my loved ones and to mingle in crowds. Not now, perhaps, but soon. And if Macintryre thinks that we as a species will put up with social distancing for ever, he’s wrong. We aren’t designed that way. We’re gregarious. We thrive on touch, on close proximity. We want to breathe the air that others breathe, to share the food we cook and the love we make.

I want all that for myself, and I want it for my kids and grandkids. I’m prepared to wait a while. Most of us are. But I’m willing to bet my life on the likelihood that this isn’t forever. It shouldn’t be and it won’t be. Otherwise life would be so tedious that we’d bore ourselves to extinction.

From → Social, UK

  1. And in Belgium, as soon as the lockdown restrictions started to lift, the traffic jams returned.

    I imagine some things may change but, for the most part, these changes will be a lot less significant than various commentators like to suggest.

  2. Andrew Robinson permalink

    Spot on….although here we are lucky to live with psychopath-free cycle paths already.

    “♫And in The End….boom…tah-da-daa…..♫”

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