There’s this romanticised theory that when this is all over the world will rejoice; Pubs will be full of laughter, people dancing together in the street, friends hugging, couples kissing. It’s easy to feel excited at the prospect of everyone coming together after so long apart and it is obviously well-documented how much us Brits love a pub. The UK can be very good at uniting on occasion; we do it once every four years as the Lions go into battle for the World Cup and there is no doubt in my mind that once BoJo announces the opening of the local watering holes, our people will flock.
I’ve seen many a lovely, hopeful, post on Instagram of how wonderful life will be when we emerge out of the other side of this Pandemic, seemingly victorious. It’s a lovely dream, but quite frankly I don’t think we’re wired that way. Friends and families are already gathering in parks in celebration, as if we’ve battled a war and almost won it. People are protesting against the limitations on our freedom as if it isn’t an absolute privilege to simply stay at home to be safe. Despite the continued guidance, people are starting to ignore the advice and go about their daily business, perhaps with a mask over their face this time but forgetting that all-important two metres.
I admit i’ve done my best to bury my head in the sand. I’ve avoided the news, ignored the articles and paid as little attention as possible to the statistics because it can be very easy to get caught up in the tragedy of it all, especially when you’re spending 23 hours a day in your house. I find myself getting increasingly wound up when I walk towards my local park and have to turn around and walk straight back out because it’s busier than I’ve ever seen it in the 12 years I’ve lived over the road. Anxiety manifests itself as anger as I insist on doing things for my parents because I don’t want them going out and about if they don’t have to. Despite my longing for sunshine and salt water on my skin, I find myself hiding away in the safety of my bedroom, avoiding even our enclosed garden. I know the longer this goes on the worse it will be and while I want the world to return to normal, I know it will never be a normal we’re used to and I don’t know how to feel about that.
The truth is that the romantic notion of all ‘this’ being over, doesn’t quite align to reality does it? Lockdown is easing up but paranoia is still in place for those of us who can’t quite forget about the threat of the virus. When Lockdown ends, the pubs won’t be open and if they are, measurements will still be in place to prevent those beautiful VE-day-inspired moments of celebration. There still isn’t a cure so our particularly vulnerable loved ones are still at risk, though it may be a smaller risk, it’s there nonetheless and perhaps we’ll alway be wondering about the people we stand near.
I often catch myself thinking of simple moments i’m looking forward to and then seriously wondering if I’ll ever be able to do those things again. It sounds ridiculous because it’s an affront to our way of life; to consider that we won’t be able to stand in crowded beer gardens on a Thursday evening after work, or wander through town dodging droves of shoppers on a Saturday, but whether we’re allowed to do these things or not will still change our own mentality about handling those simple tasks. At least, it will affect mine.
I don’t feel I can say ‘I look forward to the day’ because there will be no day when everything just shifts back to normal. It will be a long, arduous process and before you know it, we’ll be living a completely different way of life, reminiscing about the old days.