I had been intending to write something next Thursday to mark four weeks since I last left the house. On checking the calendar, however, I discovered that I passed the four week mark last Thursday without even noticing. This failure to mark the passage of time might be thought a worrying symptom of cabin fever. But the truth is that being retired, all the days seem pretty much the same anyway. For the last four years, the only thing that distinguished weekends from any other day is that my wife wasn’t going to work. Now that she is working from home as part of the lockdown, I don’t even have that to mark the passage of time.
The situation is aggravated by the regularity of my habits. My memory has deteriorated to the extent that I find it helpful, if not essential, to have a routine. I pretty much do the same things at approximately the same time every day. That way, I don’t forget to do things – like taking medication. Or eating. Or putting pants on.
For the same reason, I have a place for everything and everything in its place. Otherwise, I can’t find them when I want them. And, in the old days when going out was an option even if not an obligation, this helped to ensure that I didn’t leave without something important – like my wallet. Or my phone. Or my trousers.
Am I complaining? Not a bit of it! Lockdown just isn’t a hardship for me. In a perverse way, I’m lucky. Over the past five years or so, various health issues made going out problematic. An ulcer meant spending as much time as possible sitting with my leg elevated. That was no sooner sorted out – thanks to our superb health service as well as my own efforts to sit comfortably all day – than my hips and knees started to give out. Walking ceased to be a pleasure and walking any distance is, as far as I can remember, quite painful. Even before the pandemic, I only went out when necessary – medical appointments and the like.
Am I complaining? Not at all! I could easily have avoided encroaching physical decrepitude by dying earlier. An option my wife rejected after no more than a couple of days consideration. It’s just stuff. Life is full of it. Good stuff and bad stuff. You don’t get to choose. It’s not a pick ‘n’ mix. It’s more like a bag of assorted broken biscuits. (One for the youngsters there!) If life is just a bowl of cherries, think yourself lucky if not all of them are rotten and full of worms. (Thought for the day!)
I recognise that for some people the lockdown is causing real difficulties. That’s what makes gloating so much fun. Only kidding! I just thought that as you all go round the bend it would be a comfort for you to know that I’m absolutely fine. No problems at all. I have my computers and my Broadband connection and my big TV and my Netflix subscription and my Kindle and an endless supply of books and my Bluetooth speakers and my Spotify playlists and a good woman to pop round the corner two or three times a week to do the shopping and pick up my prescription. Life in lockdown is good!
It is also safe. And that is my real point here. What I have described is what it takes to be safe. It’s what lockdown should mean. As a household, we have reduced contact with other people to the absolute minimum. Therefore, we have reduced the possibility of infection to as close to zero as we possibly can. What we are doing is only what everybody should be aiming for. It’s the way we beat this thing.
What’s a bit of cabin fever compared to being safe and helping to keep others safe?
More smug gloating from me tomorrow! Whatever day that is.
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