On the Cusp

No, COVID-19 Coronavirus Was Not Bioengineered. Here's The ...

Today is Monday April 27th. Kia ora katoa! Kia Kaha!

At midnight tonight NZ is scheduled to move from level 4 to a level 3 Covid 19 lockdown. In practice, this means little change for me. I will still be encouraged to stay within my bubble. John is permitted to show homes for sale, but it seems the regulations around real estate aren’t that clear. Today the weather is not so nice. It is colder, and it rains off and on during the day.

Under level 3, I may be able to get certain foods delivered, i.e. pizza, but any shopping is still non-contact, i.e. you shop online for delivery to your home. There is supposed to be no contact over payment.

It is Sunday in the Northern Hemisphere, so nothing much is doing in the media world. This morning’s newspaper here is interesting, however. There is regret about coming out of our level 4 lockdown! Jane Bowron writes a nostalgic column (“I Hear Voices -they’re mine”)  missing our time in the “olden days”; Lana Hart writes about the new “normal”, “We need post Covid 19 vision and quickly”) in hope that former injustices will be remedied; and there is a story reprinted from The Times about homeless people in London staying in hotels. Now that is a smart move.

I think that Bernie Sanders’ revolution has happened, or is happening, and while many weren’t ready for it, many of his supporters were. Well, this pandemic has forced and will force enormous social and environmental change, and here we are on the cusp of it.  Most people agree that things will not be the same again as they were before, that they cannot be. While there was much to like, there was a great deal not to admire, namely the excess of wealth displayed so often, and the vast inequality, where surely there should be a warm home and enough food and accessible medical care for everyone.

One feels the kind of optimism there was in 1989, when there was “glasnost” in the USSR under Gorbachev, when the Berlin Wall fell, it was the end of the Iron Curtain and communist rule in Russia and the Eastern Bloc, and Nelson Mandela became leader of South Africa.

While many terrible things have happened since then, it was still a wonderful time, when you felt anything was possible, and there was hope again, as when Barack Hussein Obama was elected (twice) President of the US.

Many countries are now seeking to “reopen” their economies, some against scientific advice. There is huge movement to do this, to restore some kind of “normalcy”, which I guess means primarily that people can pay their rent or their mortgage, their credit card bill, their other bills. What will happen to tourism, to eating out, to travel, accommodation?  I think people will be (or should be) scared of infection for a very long time. So we should continue to practice some kind of social distancing. How does that work for cities? For any kind of queueing? For travel, by plane, train or bus? Or eating at a restaurant, or borrowing library books, or buying anything pre-loved? Spacing out tables at restaurants may well make them unviable; air-conditioning or central heating in any institution may well spread germs; even if a trans-Tasman bubble allows flights to and from Australia, how do you travel safely on a plane, cramped together as you travel,  and then do you have to quarantine for two weeks on arrival?

That makes a mockery of popping over to Australia for a weekend, or even a two-week stay.  Here in Aotearoa, we have proved that you don’t need all this stuff; you don’t need to have a hen do in Bali, or a stag party at Las Vegas. You don’t need excess. We can stay at home, not travel, and cook our own meals. We survive, and we don’t grieve for loved ones killed or badly hurt in road or industrial accidents, either.  I feel it would be great if New Zealand can be a kinder, more egalitarian society in future, respecting all people’s rights and needs.

While some have found it so hard to endure some isolation, have gone “stir crazy”, many introverts have coped just fine. You don’t necessarily feel lonely if you live alone. On the other hand, a person feeling trapped in their family situation or a loveless marriage may feel a desperate need for some relief or escape; I think anyone in a difficult situation needs a break from time to time.

For many people, it has been an eye-opener to see how well they can cope, how they can slow down, be less busy and frantic, and enjoy the peace and quiet of this special time. It’s also been nice not to have to put up with many advertisements that would now be highly inappropriate. I guess they will return, or some of them, eventually.

Another encouraging thing to come out of all this is a great deal of thought and discussion. I am a podcast junkie – I listen to lots of things, and I have learnt so much, about different people’s situations. At some point, though, I will have to get a haircut and buy some new shoes! In the meantime, it’s nice not to have to dress up, or wear makeup.

Today there is a bit of a mess-up with the numbers of Covid 19 cases. There are a handle of new ones, but some previous “probables” turned out to be negatives, so the upshot is minus one new cases, making the total 1,469, I think. There has also been a further death, of a woman in her 90’s, in a care home, bringing the total number of deaths to 19.  So like the oil price last week, we are in negative territory!

We went shopping this morning, or, at least, I did, and JD drove me there are back, given that it was raining. We had run down the food supplies, so it was good to re-stock. The store had most things I wanted, too. Seeing we have so few cases of Covid 19 now, I feel much more secure in going shopping.

In the UK this morning, 20,732 people had died in hospital, while in Spain children are allowed to go outside. In the US, the total infected is 986k; the number of deaths, 55417. The number of Americans who lost their lives in the Vietnam War was 58,220.  No doubt there will be more news tomorrow.

On a lighter note, I enjoy reading. At the moment I’m reading Vasily Grossman’s Stalingrad, a huge and well-written novel. At one point, a character sings Gilda’s aria from Verdi’s Rigoletto.  I play this on YouTube. There is a version sung by Maria Callas. I also find out the beautiful song sung by Bill Nighy in “Their Finest”: it is called “Will you go, Lassie, Go”:

Oh the summertime is coming
And the trees are sweetly blooming
And the wild mountain thyme
Grows around the blooming heather
Will ye go, Lassie go?

And we’ll all go together
To pluck wild mountain thyme
All around the blooming heather
Will ye go, Lassie go?

I will build my love a tower
Near yon’ pure crystal fountain
And on it I will build
All the flowers of the mountain
Will ye go, Lassie go?

And we’ll all go together
To pluck wild mountain thyme
All around the blooming heather
Will ye go, Lassie go?

If my true love she were gone
I would…

That’s it for now.  Talk again tomorrow! It’s almost time to say haere ra to level 4.  Nga mihi nui

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