Reflections of life under house arrest

We’ve been in lockdown for 7 weeks. Working, schooling and even birthday parties are all done from home. It’s hard, but we’re healthy. Friends who have had the virus have recovered with minimal effects. Overall, so far, we’re feeling pretty lucky.

That said, this sucks. We miss family and friends. Technology helps, but video calling is starting to get old. We’re also missing just going out. Going out without being worried about every surface. Going out without awkwardly maneuvering around people on the street. Going out without thinking about this bloody virus.

But here’s the rub: I don’t feel like I can find this hard. There’s always someone who’s got it worse. That can be said of any situation, but I find this be particularly true now.

The truth is that lockdown is hard for everyone in different ways. As crazy as lockdown is with two young children—we have a house full of life. We have company on tap, 24/7. Whenever we want it—or even when we don’t.

We know there are people out there who’re struggling. All those poor families who don’t have a garden, for example. Or—God forbid—lost someone to this terrible disease. I’m not saying I never moan about this situation. I do moan. Frequently. But, on reflection, it could be much worse for us.

I feel sorry for people who’ve been suckered by the numerous conspiracy theories which have sprung up around Covid-19. That 5G causes the body to stop exchanging oxygen efficiently. Or that the government are planning to track us all via microchips in vaccines. I’ve heard many of these crackpot theories lately. One thing they have in common is the fear that we are being controlled. That there’s a secret society that sways the actions of the world’s governments by nefarious means. That must be a scary world to live in. Even more terrifying than a planet in the grips of a global pandemic.

It’s life Jim, but not as we know it

I recently turned 40. My daughter had her birthday a few days later. We both missed out on our parties. It’s a small sacrifice, and we had a great time at home. (Pass the parcel and pin the horn on the unicorn were particular favourites.) But it was hard for us—probably more so than her—for Roo to not see her friends on her special day.

Roo, blindfolded, playing pin the tail on the unicorn

Outside the world is the same. Except its not. It’s now perfectly acceptable to cross the street to avoid other people. “Don’t go near those other people” we happily tell Roo. Perhaps being rude is the new normal?

Play parks remain closed and abandoned. Checkout staff sit behind giant sheets of perspex. And every day a person from the government tells us calmly how many people died today.

The gate to the overgrown Southfields play park in Littlehampton. A sign reads Due to government guidance concerning social distancing, we are closing this play area until further notice. Thank you for your cooperation.

Caught in a holding pattern

I’m sure its different if you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms, but to us the threat seems diminished. The British people have done an excellent job at squashing this virus. As a result, we’re starting to see the rate of infection drop.

That said, the death toll is still high and infections don’t seem to be dropping hugely quickly. I think our overall feeling is one of cautious optimism. It’s clear that we’re in this for the long term, but there are some tiny green shoots.

The nation is caught in a holding pattern, waiting for our lives to return.