It’s perhaps not the best title given the chaos already unleashed by this dreadful virus, and the fear is it could get worse before it gets better. You could say my title is in bad taste, perhaps.
What we Know
People are at home with their lively-hoods at stake. The Entertainment and Hospitality industries have been hit the hardest – I got a call this week telling me that work was cancelled. I’m a freelancer and I don’t know when I’ll be back at work, so I don’t know when I will next get paid. I have a little in savings, as this industry is so precarious you quickly learn to prepare for the worst, however I don’t know how far my savings will get me.
Tennent’s are worried about rents. Homeowners are worried about Mortgages and supermarkets are struggling to cope with supply and demand. Working mums and dads find themselves in dire straits as schools close indefinitely. Grandparents are unable to help out and human contact is almost prohibited. The last time I checked we were at 137 deaths confirmed in the UK from Conoranvirus. Fear sets in and that brings out the worst in people, less so than when Brexit happened but still the face of humanity in desperation is a very worrying sight. May we as a nation never condemn or judge anyone having to flee their country or home for the sake of saving their families.
I could go on – but you’ve been watching the news, listening to conversations and you know of the impact this deadly virus is having on our communities.
So how has it saved me? Good Question. Let me explain.
Getting back in the car years later
I am a huge fan of public transport. I almost rely on it. It allows me the time to read, learn lines, prepare for auditions and catch up on ‘Life Admin’ before jumping into a full days rehearsal or shooting schedule. But – the outbreak of Covid-19 got me worried. Public transport is surely regarded as one of the biggest carriers of the virus. Thousands of people up and down the country pile on to buses, tubes and trains on a daily basis. And this got me thinking – how was I going to get to work now?”
I had learned to drive back in 2004 and I can honestly say I hated it!!! Yes. I said that! I hate driving. I get bored. As a result I don’t drive much. I didn’t ever invest in a car as I thought my money could be better spent elsewhere; learning to dance, act, sing, books, plays and cake!!
My brother recently bought a new car. He didn’t want to sell his old one because to be fair it is a pretty decent car. It’s a 2 litre GTI Golf, gun metal grey, 11 years old and in mint condition. I’ve driven his car a handful of times over the 11 years and mainly when he’s had one too many at a family gathering. He wanted the Golf to remain a part of the family. And one evening he just came out with it.
“Do you want the Golf? I’ll put you and mum on the insurance”.
At the time I had no idea when I would drive it, however it was there, insured, M.O.T’d and ready to drive. We shook hands and the car was mine. When pandemonium hit our country last week, I thought well, what d’ you know! I can now drive to work. We took it for a test drive a couple of nights ago. I drove for about an hour on the dual carriageway and through neighbouring towns. And I have to say – I did enjoy it. I was surprised I hadn’t forgotten how to drive. It’s a little like riding a bike or swimming – once you know, it’s a skill you have for life. You just need the confidence to be shit hot at it. And I thought now is my chance, to take full advantage and free myself from the grime and confines of public transport. However, things are changing day by day and the country is most likely to go into complete lock-down come Monday. Still, it’s good to know, should biological warfare break out – I can fill the golf up and drive the family…somewhere…anywhere…to safety. On second thoughts – I can just drive to help get some supplies in for my neighbours!!
A TIME FOR REFLECTION
As we sit waiting for further news and trying to keep ourselves busy, I’ve suddenly became super aware at how quiet it is out there on the streets. We live on a very busy main road, right outside a bus stop. Though the buses are still running, there are hardly any queues and literally only about 2 people sat in the buses themselves. It is serene out there. I can hear the air. I feel a sense of cleanliness and of course that’s a direct result of less pollution. An article published by CCN on 17th March 2020 claims in China
“the lock-down has had an unintended benefit – blue skies. The average number of “good quality air days” increased 21% in February, compared to the same period last year, according to China’sMinistry of Ecology and Environment.”
Over the last 48 hours I have found myself in a very philosophical space. I felt like for the first time in ages, I was able;
To slow down.
To sit still.
I felt free of guilt. I didn’t have to steal myself away from my family and my nieces to learn lines or read a script. I could give my time freely without putting a limit on it. I found myself, properly understanding what it meant to ‘Let Go’. My work situation is out of my hands. I cannot control that any more than I can the weather. Resisting is futile. What will it achieve other than further frustration and unanswered questions. More annoyance at the fact that I can’t do what I want to do. I can’t anyway – there is no work.
In my reflective state, I have also realised that I don’t even blame the current government. They don’t know what they are doing. They’ve never known what they were doing. So I expect nothing from them other than incompetent, weak leadership as we plunge deeper into oblivion. They are not my government – I didn’t vote for them.
We have been on this treadmill for years now, running out of steam and just going through the motions. We have allowed ourselves to become slaves to our bosses, businesses, consumerism, capitalism, fame and in doing so we sealed our fate in material goods and quick cheap gratification. We didn’t leave time for soulful connection with our families, ironically we were too busy working for them. We stopped making love and going out for dates because we were too tired and a conversation over a cup of tea, with our loved ones became…an inconvenience.
We stopped going for walks, listening to the flowing stream, or the birds chirping, the leaves bustling in the wind. We didn’t feel the rain on our faces. We didn’t notice the beautiful colours of the butterfly or that sweetly annoying buzz of the bumble bee. We forgot that the sky existed and that clouds made funny shapes. We kept looking down and so our thoughts became low. Our phones got more love than the actual people in our lives.
We. Literally. Forgot. To. Breathe.
It seems like Corona was a calling to all of us. Its arrival has sparked fear but it has also brought with it the need for connection. A connection to the soul of humanity which is in the rebuilding of strong communities. Be that a virtual community or a physical community. During these testing times we have noticed that the face of twitter has completely changed. It has become a place of hope as friends and strangers share positive stories of acts of kindness, virtual hugs and art. Our spirits are lifted, our souls are fed, and in a way we are nurtured.
Covid-19 is a fucker of a disease and we don’t know how long it will take to bounce back. But we will bounce back – with a renewed sense of love, connection and understanding towards our fellow human beings and nature.
Nature is as resilient as Art and so are we
As I sit here in my bedroom, with my window open for the first time in a while, I can hear. And it is…peaceful. There are no cars, loud motorbikes, quad-bikes, trucks or Lorries disturbing my state of mind. I can hear Mother Nature silently repairing as she’s pushed the reset button on us.
We are all in this together.
Here is the article that inspired this blog.