The pandemic is creeping closer and closer. All of a sudden it has become very real as I discovered that yet another friend had succumbed to the dreaded virus during this past week. And much like last week, it claimed its victim in less than 3 days. How has that left me feeling? Distraught, confused and saddened for the wife he left behind as they had just celebrated their 43rd wedding anniversary. I am noticing that more and more people, like me, complain that this extended lockdown is starting to affect their mental wellness. I am unable to comprehend the fact that we have been in lockdown for over 100 days and there is no respite to this status in sight. But as I said last week, even if the lockdown was immediately lifted, I would still NOT want to be in a situation where I share enclosed spaces with strangers.
I would rather be pissed off than pissed on. And currently, I am definitely the former. Pre-lockdown there was a group of us who met every day (except Mondays) for coffee at a local pizza restaurant in our suburb. Not for the food, but they are situated in a garden and that meant that we were able to sit outdoors and pretend that we were not in suburban Johannesburg. We would have coffee, do a crossword and discuss the problems of the world at length. That contact was brought to a grinding halt on March 27th and although two of us still have virtual coffee almost every day, our conversations centre on the virus and what it has done to us. Both from an economic point of view as well as how we are dealing mentally. When I started this Wednesday COVID-19 diary, it was for selfish reasons. To share how I was feeling and coping with the mental burden. I understand that there are people who have lost homes, work, income and who might not be able to put food on their tables, but I cannot change their circumstances. Or perhaps I could if I was in a more positive headspace? I wake up full of energy and raring to be productive and withing a very short space of time, that is replaced with a lethargy that is so consuming as to render me almost incapable of seeing the wood for the trees.
I lwant to be in a place like Ha Long Bay again. Where the locals live on floating homes and they earn their living by catching fish. This place of solitude had its trials and tribulations, but it offered a tranquillity that would be hard to replicate digitally. Green-screen images in a Zoom conference do not really compensate for actually BEING in a space like this. However, I am uncertain if this would be seen as cathartic as in the back of my mind would be the overriding concern about my exposure to the virus and what that could bring.
I found these travel books on a shelf in our home and for now, this is probably as close as I will get to any of these destinations for the foreseeable future. At the beginning of 2020 I had no idea that overseas trips would be not just curtailed but placed on hold for a long while. Even though my wife and I enjoyed several overseas trips in recent years, there will be no international destinations on our bucket list for a long while. I suppose Poffadder, Parys and perhaps Upington might head up our travel list once we can cross provincial borders again.
Have you ever played that game “If you were an animal, what would it be and why”? Well, this is me…a grumpy-as-f*$k buffalo, just looking to pick a fight. Well not really pick a fight as violence never solved anything and in my 67 years, I can honestly say that I have never raised my fists in anger. But my tolerance levels to both stupidity and ignorance is getting shorter by the day. I have seen the rise of instant medical experts, virologists, economic experts and no end of “perts” that can wax lyrical about COVID-19 with absolutely NO evidence to back up their statements. The majority of these can be found spouting forth on anti-social media and making certain that their opinions are front and centre. For my sanity, I have distanced myself from these harbingers of bad news and unsubstantiated facts.
This is how I am trying to keep the world at bay. A small cog in a much larger mechanism. Am I able to change the world? Certainly not by myself, but I am trying to keep it at arm’s length by making myself look as threatening as possible. And I will continue to do so despite what family and friends might say. I have made a conscious decision to distance myself to protect others and that is how it will remain until I feel safe to break that self-imposed isolation. And in this isolation, there are no weekdays or weekends, just time that rolls almost seamlessly from one 24-hour period into the next. Days could be renamed Thisday, Thatday, Anotherday, Someday and Whatday. Followed by Whichday and Whoseday…and then the cycle would start all over again.
Well, that is it for another week. Much like the anti-vaxxers, there are now those who are anti-mask. If YOU are one of those, then I would rather NOT be in your company as I do not wish to place either myself or those that I love in danger. And I ask that I be respected for my decisions.
Until next week, stay safe, stay healthy and be aware. If you feel that you need to talk to someone, then contact SADAG at the number below.