New Zealand Lockdown: Day something or other…

Still the only first week of lockdown? Life is becoming surreal.

Rip Van Winkle famously escaped his nagging wife to fall asleep in the Catskills for twenty years. Waking and finding the world a different place, he seemed to get over it ok. Gender stereotypes aside, its a tale worth rereading. It’s short and most of us have time on our hands.

Rip, who ended up moving in with his accommodating daughter post snooze, apparently coped quite well with dropping off the grid. He was asleep, perhaps that’s easier than four weeks at home, even with access to online yoga and a trampoline.

He had missed the American Civil War, and from all accounts woke fairly refreshed. He also kept the beard.

As our lockdown days bleed into weeks, our eyes becoming slowly more square as we crane over screens of various devices, we homebodies can be forgiven daydreaming about what the world could become post-Covid-9.

Could the world band together and spend more on Hospitals? Could we stop buying so much Junk and stop manufacturing Stuff? We could even save the environment in the process.

One thing for sure, whatever changes or doesn’t change, there is definitely a deficit in global health. What this virus has illuminated is not only the way in which pandemics can bring us to our knees, but that we simply haven’t spent enough time or money on the health sector.

Scrambling for masks, hand sanitiser and PPE, not to mention hospital beds, reveals a chronic and historical complacency. Medical professionals have been sounding the alarm for years, similar to the education sector, in many countries.

It seems they haven’t been heard.

Shortages are not only a governmental deficit. The ordinary person in the street snapping up sanitiser and masks in bulk whether to use or sell on may also have to change their behaviours.

Did we learn hoarding behaviours early in life? (Aesop).

Aesop may be partly responsible for our collective ingrained instinct to hoard.

Does anyone remember the Ant And The Grasshopper?

Will the post-covid-9 world leaders rethink where money should be spent? Will initiatives to attract students to medicine be introduced? What about lowering medical degree fees?

If there were more doctors, surely they could work shorter hours and be less fatigued.

What will be different when we emerge after our social slumbers?

Currently, we are still locked down. Empty streets, roaming police cars and people standing at least two meters apart, the new normal has become normal. A short walk a day, stepping onto the road when other groups of Hobbits pass by. A nod, a hello, but no real opportunity to chew the fat.

Online advice is fairly constant: Keep your routine! Make sure you get up early and shower! Don’t just dress from the waist up!

One wonders how long people can keep it together.

The fabric of our lives is somewhat frayed at the edges. Along with any sense of time. Those whose jobs require long Skype or Zoom type contact are the sanest of the locked down, but there are huge swathes of the nation who don’t have to keep up appearances. If your work only requires a “check-in” now and then, the temptation is to just put a jersey over ones PJ’s and press “Background Blur.”

Small problems when compared to the plight of thousands of ill people, vulnerable people and of course the essential workers. There is a certain amount of soul searching also, the guilt of NOT being a doctor, nurse or Epidemiologist.

One took an easier road at University.

New Zealand news stories are running the full gamut of journalistic range. From serious international pieces to articles about how to survive a month locked in with an excessively messy partner.

There really is something for everyone.

A popular bit of news is that at last Director-General of Health, Dr Ashley Bloomfield has had a day off. After over a month of continuous work including over forty press conferences. Apparently this was Saturday.

New Zealand as a whole hopes he managed a nap.

Keeping informed we must, but also there is a call for keeping it light. A call to opt-out following the rabbit down the hole. It’s enough to stay home. Stay apart and wash our hands. Panic won’t help anyone.

Leading the charge on lightening our mental load is Wedding Dress Mom, Curtis Sittenfeld, who posted what most parents are going through.

Her post is completely on point:

“Social distancing Day 12: Today my kids wanted me to wear my wedding dress at lunch & I couldn’t think of a reason not to..”

Currently the funniest Mom on the internet. (Curtis Sittenfeld.)

Eating jelly for breakfast? Why not? Brush your teeth with custard? Go for it.

Let’s all wear what we want and break the routine, if for just a few weeks.

Who knows, we may grow beards and end up keeping them.