When will there be good news?

It is now Sunday September 6th. We are now in Auckland, where new adventures await us.

I wrote this on Wednesday September 2nd but did not post it. Kia ora katoa.

All the news has been quite dispiriting, lately. The concert we were to go to on Saturday evening was cancelled; instead the orchestra played and the concert was live-streamed, so we watched that at home. The music was intense, and the NZSO played beautifully: Elgar’s Cello Concerto, and Tchaikovsky’s 6th Symphony, the Pathétique. It was conducted beautifully by a young New Zealand woman, Gemma New.  What an amazing experience. We were wowed by it. The seats at the MFC are very close together, so best perhaps not to be there; Ticketek have promised to refund the ticket price, in due course. On Sunday evening we were supposed to go to an old friend’s house, but JD’s cold put paid to that – it was rescheduled to one week out.

On Sunday evening Auckland was due to go to a level 2 alert for coronavirus. In fact, in spite of more cases of Covid 19, it went to a new level, 2.5. The maximum gathering size is ten people, although you can have 50 for funerals and tangihanga. Imagine our joy at getting a call on Monday morning, inviting us both to our friend’s funeral. We are honoured to be asked, and said we planned how to be there.  This will give JD plenty of time to get over his cold.  I go shopping and buy more masks, more cough mixture, and more echinacea capsules.

There is an element of risk in going to Auckland, but this is one of my most special friends, and it would take a great deal to keep me away, once invited. We did not expect to “make the cut”. Presumably the cafés and restaurants can open again. On Monday evening we watch a documentary about another strong woman, Ruth Bader Ginsburg (RBG).  It is very interesting and well worth watching. She did some very interesting things.

We have planned a trip, driving there and back, and stopping in Taupo and Napier en route. There’s no rush. We have booked accommodation, but there is no restaurant where we are to stay. There is free parking.

On Tuesday I go to my Tai Chi class, and tell them I will be away next Tuesday. It will be the end of Term 3, so I will have a few weeks before seeing my friends there again, (perhaps to their relief – Auckland is a dangerous place to go to, according to some).  Mask-wearing is now compulsory on all public transport. I have no argument with this. On the commuter train back to Wellington, everyone is wearing a mask, and there is a QR code.

I go to the pop-up library Te Awe in Panama Street, and settle down to read The New Yorker for 30 minutes (the allotted time for a library visit), but a woman sits quite close and keeps coughing, so I don’t stay there. I wear a mask on the bus back to Johnsonville, but there is no QR code on the bus.

Overseas, there seems to be little good news. In the US, Trump’s latest advisor favours herd immunity – a grossly failed strategy first favoured by Boris Johnson, who continued shaking hands and denying the reality of the coronavirus until he had it himself (and was hospitalised and in Intensive Care for several days).  Schools are “open”, with a mix of online and in-person learning, but there seems to be chaos, and no firm guidelines, to keep children, students, teachers and support staff safe.  Some universities have re-opened doing in-person learning, and consequently there are many new cases of infection.

My granddaughter is in a pod with three other children, and this seems to be working well for her.  Hopefully this continues to work well.

There is now some violence in urban centres, spurred no doubt by Jacob Blake’s being shot in the back 7 times. Any lessons learnt from George Floyd’s death seem to have been forgotten by the police in Kenosha.  Meanwhile, along with largely peaceful protests against police violence and racism, right-wing armed supporters have turned out too. Trump, incoherent as he is, seems to encourage his supporters, and remains totally deaf to the very real protests that many folk demonstrate, against the very raw deal that black people tend to receive.

These demonstrations are relieved by the ongoing dramas of the Conway household, and extreme conspiracy theories, up against the continuing death toll, which now seems forgotten. It is now over 184,000, with over 6 million infections. I remember watching a Bill Mayer show, where he interviewed Kellyanne Conway, and asked her what she would say to her children about her support for Trump. She waved this away, but the birds she’s unleashed are coming home to roost. Her 15 year-old daughter, Claudia, feels very hard done by, and indeed, why shouldn’t she?

There are now three desperate issues in the US: the election race, schooling, and the coronavirus infection and death toll.  Other issues, such as health care, unemployment, lack of normality, evictions, seem to take a back seat. It is hard to get news without hearing Trump, which I have no wish to do. People sometimes talk about the time back in January – February, when we were (mostly) so innocent, living our lives, concerned about “gut health” and climate change, and whether we should plan another trip. They were different times, back then.

Good-bye for now. Nga mihi.

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