I am in the garden again, drinking cool beer and with Good Book for company, but my mind is more distracted than how it was the day before. Despite the peace outside today, the noted absence of Vera Lynn being played on repeat throughout the morning, noon, and night, I can’t seem to get as much reading done.
Whereas yesterday I took some small solace in seeing our own street have a get together while practising distancing and staying away from one another, allowing a vast space in the middle of our cul-de-sac of no-contact, while still being merry with one another, the internet did as the internet does and ruined that moment by showing me the many who did not. People who flooded along the streets, packed as close to one another that you could count the eyelashes of each of their neighbours. The viral decimator does not exist to them in their minds. Threats don’t matter when they want to celebrate the end of a war the overwhelming majority of them never knew.
Who could have guessed that when one of the world’s next great disaster struck, that people would become so bored with it that they would forget or doubt its very threat. Hundreds dead every day sounds shocking, appalling, like society’s feet are being pushed towards The Brink once again, until you’re in it, I suppose. ‘Sure, people may be dying, but it’s no-one I personally know, so how bad can it be?’
And it is that attitude, or presumed attitude that left me feeling sour today. Apathy is the last thing anyone needs when vigilance is required, and even here, where the quota for vigilance is so low and effortless that everyone could easily manage, they still surrender to Apathy’s intoxicating aroma. They are spellbound, hypnotised, and the only thing that can break the deluded mind-view of Middle-Class Sharon in Kent is if her bridge club, that she insists on holding amidst all this, suddenly has an empty chair one day.
Cynical? Optimistic. The benefit of the doubt being stretched to cover 66 million people; thinking them as ignorant rather than uncaring, or worse, foolish.
Hoaxes, conspiracies, and other strange outlets are now fed directly to people through copper wire into their faces. No longer does the paranoid need to stand on the street screaming his demented visions with leaflets of fairy-tale facts in hand. It can be handed to people’s faces directly as they check the news for the day, and the too-trusting minds can drink it in, even share it amongst themselves and do the old freak’s job for him. There is a David Icke broadcast every second online, and someone whose brain was born without wrinkles agreeing with the poison they see.
And thus we get the morons trying to set fire to 5G towers, and the idiots who peddle on about it being a Chinese conspiracy, or a liberal conspiracy, or an authoritarian conspiracy, or a mixture of all three, orchestrated on high by the dreaded ‘THEM’ (in whatever form they take).
There’s little point dissecting their lies. The sane see through, and the insane were gone long before they tried to assault telecom engineers, and it all deserves to be a topic for another time. It’s far too big for the here and now.
But still we talk of easing restrictions. Asking people to be mindful in their own capacity without enforcement. How can that possibly happen when the above is considered? The economy is in peril, you argue, but how sustainable is it to stuff it full of human corpses? Shouldn’t other methods be considered, such as not building us all on foundations that must ever grow lest we collapse under ourselves?
Some crazed fools, foaming at the mouth, see all this and invoke that tiresome flavour of British nationalistic patter. The many invocations of the vague entity known only as the ‘Blitz spirit’ and the stream of hot-blooded quotes from Churchill of not surrendering, as if the virus is a sentient threat we can fight with our hands with, and negotiate when the head virus shoots itself with some kind of Sterilisation Luger.
The irony of calling on the Blitz Spirit (besides being invoked by no-one who’s actually lived through it ) is that staying home was part of the Blitz. Staying indoors, making sure your family was safe, and taking shelter until the bombing stopped. For eight months and five days, every single time when the sirens blared. These people would probably say that turning off your lights would be surrendering to the Nazis, and promptly be blown up by their own chest-thumping, jingoistic, hubris. No great loss, maybe, but that light would signal many other innocent houses nearby for other hungry German bombs.
It is precisely these idiots who are also endangering the neighbours we all have today. If they are even just stupid…
The only question I could think of, when pondering this with the sun beating on my shaven head, birds screaming to one another to warn each other of my lumbering presence next to the waterfall of the pond where they like to bathe, is who’s going to blamed when we hit the second wave? And is it just going to be the same thing again?
The rut we’ve all made in our homes these couple of months may run deeper than we realise.