COVID 19 – One Month On

After my last post, which I have just re-read, I wondered how we might survive.

Of course, I knew we would, somehow. I am lucky. I am not poor (though not rich either) and am well accustomed to spending long times on my own or with the other half. In some respects, sitting now in the sun beaming through the patio glass, enjoying its warming rays, you might even be forgiven for for wondering what all the fuss is about?

But, as I said, I am lucky. I have food in the cupboard and the freezer. I have money if I need to get more. Sure, I’ll have to risk it, and spend inordinate amounts of time queuing to get into supermarkets, and then struggle to pick anything because I can’t make a decision without J… but if it had to be done I would do it.

There are those who aren’t so fortunate. Many have died, more than should have, and it’s clear that there are big questions to answer about the government’s strategy (though apparently everyone still wants to vote Tory). There have been job losses, and there has been a crash in the economy. I feel so desperately sorry for the self-employed cleaners, hairdressers, coffee shop owners, pub landlords and so on… the personal service economy was eliminated at a stroke, and no one is bringing their money back. Their businesses may never return, especially if they have clients who go bust through lack of income. The true depth of economical damage is still to be appreciated.

But I am lucky. Or maybe not lucky, just that I don’t spend all my money. I could do so. If I wanted to I could shop more expensively. I could furnish my house lavishly. I could have hobbies with high price tags. I could learn to drive and have a car of my own. I could travel extensively. I do none of those things, making my life less interesting, but meaning I have savings. I sacrifice myself, out of a fear for the planet, and a fear for my future. I live a tedious existence, feeling anxious over Netflix subscription costs and a TV licence. It should be one or the other, right?

But such is the limit of my guilt in normal times. Even expensive tastes, such as a latte and a chocolate square from Costa had to be jettisoned once that little combo crossed the £5 mark. Now I get a standard coffee and a cookie from McDonald’s at half the price. And even that fills me with shame about the unsustainability of it all.

To only worry about these things shows my privilege. I am comfortable, and I can eat. I am taking limited risks, and therefore hopefully won’t get sick. My business has taken an 80% nosedive in turnover, but I am not worrying too much. I hope that what I do is resilient enough that we will still be in demand whenever this is over. I can’t last forever, but my frugality and spending anxieties mean we could ride out two years and keep paying ourselves our normal modest income.

So I am lucky. I would like to be enjoying the current weather somewhere nicer than my grotty back patio. But hearing motorbikes scream along the A road, its rider clearly not interested in the rules, unbothered by the sacrifice the rest of us are making so that they may continue to be healthy does grate a little…

Then I sit here and think… well what would I be doing instead? It’s a good question that for now I don’t have to worry about answering…

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