I am coming out of lockdown. There is light at the end of the tunnel, but at the moment I can’t quite make out how long the tunnel is. Nor how wide, come to that: in many respects it is a tunnel of contradictions, with rough walls and large patches of damp.
And as the tunnel progresses, I have a growing suspicion that many of the other people in it with me are from a completely different species. I mean, would you queue up for four hours in the blazing sun to buy a flatpack from IKEA? Four hours? Really?
And would you go to a world-famous beach and jostle together with like-minded enlightened gentry, while encouraging people to jump from a nearby cliff and stand a good chance of killing themselves?
Would you gather in small groups and shout at each other from a foot or two away as though you were a character in EastEnders or Coronation Street?
Would you discard assorted unsavoury litter by the side of footpaths in as yet unspoiled countryside?
Admittedly the litter-sprinklers have been encouraged by the interesting decision to keep public lavatories closed in many areas. There seems to be an opinion rife in some management areas that people go to the loo as a way of passing the time. So in schools “bubbles” of pupils are being allocated a specific time to go to the toilet. This ignores the basic human biological fact about going to the loo, which is that you go when you need to, and there are times when you need to go.
This was brought home to me a while ago on an EasyJet plane back from Israel, already poorly provided for on the toilet front, where whenever we hit a bit of minor turbulence, we were told that the toilets could not be used for the next half hour. So what were we supposed to do? Play video games instead?
I am also a bit nervous about that light I can see. What kind of a light is it? The nearer we get to it, the more it seems like a world designed for young and fit people – the sort who have been joggling and cycling their way vigorously through the pandemic.
I am over 70. I may have mentioned this before. Although I walk a lot (and many of my age simply can’t), using a car makes life much easier in many respects. It’s also safer, when roads are uncluttered by distracting features like road bumps and contraflows. So why do post-pandemic plans centre on more cycle lanes and wider pavements, especially when we are being discouraged from using public transport in case we breathe on each other.
Interesting thing, breathing. Apparently gasping joggers and cyclists are no risk, but allowing people to get in a church and sing could be disastrous. I can only assume that people putting this view forward have not been in a church for a few years.
Praying of course, is even more risky. I hope I don’t have to explain to you why that is.