Hello! I hope this post finds you as well and as safe as can be. Thank you so much for your wonderful comments of welcome in my last post. I too, have thought about you a lot in the intervening years of silence, and it means a lot to be able to continue our links. Sending virtual hugs!
New situations call for adaptation, and the thing we need to do now is to become adaptive and find ways to cope with the limits to our existence, and make things better where we can.
As we try hard to adjust and cope with this very strange new existence, it is healthy to recognise our feelings of anger and frustration because if I have learned anything in life, the more you smile nicely and swallow other people’s s**t the less your own needs will be cared for and the worse it turns out for you. I’m going to share my own feelings here as my own ‘therapy’ and to help provoke some noise to make changes that need to start happening.
I think there is a thing called ‘too much’ and I for one am definitely feeling like there is too much news about Covid-19, and not enough focus being paid to how we’re all going to come out of this in as resilient a spot as possible. The good news is that if official statistics are to believed, we are getting on top of infections. However, there is a way to go before we’re all allowed to relax, and this intervening period is starting to give me concern.
I’m starting to feel angry. I see my neighbours socialising openly with no regard for appropriate distancing, and it makes me very mad. Don’t they realise that doing so only increases the chances of a prolonged lockdown if they inadvertently spread the virus on? We’ve all read about people who have Covid-19 and feel perfectly well. Can they guarantee they don’t have the virus? And how do they know they don’t when the only people I understand are being tested are travellers and people known to have contact with Covid-19 sufferers?
There’s a 12 day window in some cases before symptoms start to appear. How hard is it to keep yourself to yourself for just a few days????? I’m mad because it means more people will lose jobs, and more people will suffer tremendous hardship and suffer from the consequences of the actions of the selfish few for many years to come. So please, people. Do the kindest thing you can possibly do and be proud of yourself for doing so. STAY AT HOME. It’s that simple. Do you think I should make a copy of this and put it in everyone’s letterbox? I really feel like doing it.
Going out terrifies me now. The sanctuary of my home is very much where I’d rather be for the next while, yet as the family’s only adult and sole breadwinner, I am forced to go out because I can’t get all the essentials of life delivered. And there is so much fear and stress out there.
Today, I ventured out to find the fabled flour that has suddenly become extremely scarce (I don’t blame panic buying or hoarding. I suspect most people are naturally doing what they would turn to when faced with more time on their hands – doing something fulfilling and creative like making bread and baking). Walking up to the queue, I saw a man standing in front of me with a trolley which was already full of food. He had stopped, and wasn’t moving along in the queue, which was moving up at that point. I thought that perhaps he was just walking by, having done his shopping, and was waiting for me to take my place in the queue before going past me. So I asked him politely “Are you queuing?”to which, and said in an extremely aggressive tone, “I’m there” (gesturing to the point where I was standing (which was not in the queue, btw)) and “you’re here” (to behind him) “are we all good?” This was kind of shocking. All he needed to say was “yes” and I would have kept moving past him? Why did he need to make such an extreme response? That was not kind. He was probably feeling stressed out having already queued once for food and now having to queue again. Unfortunately, this sort of reaction is becoming more and more common as fear, stress, and uncertainty overtake our worlds. I’m really beginning to wonder if the Government has taken the right approach to controlling this outbreak. Is the cure worse than the thing we’re trying to fix?
Don’t get me wrong. I agree that distancing is a good thing. However, here are my thoughts:
Fear is the overarching vibe I feel all around me. It’s the destroyer of worlds. In order to maintain control of fear, people’s basic needs must be met. And here’s how these needs are not being met right now:
1. When you’re queuing for a long period of time for an activity you never had to queue for in the past (this starts to make you feel anxious). No one smiles. The hapless guy manning the queue at the front is feeling just as scared as everyone and says unhelpful things like “take it easy” to people, which only increases stressful feelings.
2. When you finally get into the store, and find the things you take for granted are not on the shelf, not.a.single.scrap.of.it (ie. bread, flour, shall I go on?) (this makes you suddenly feel like you’ve warped into an alternate universe where there’s a war on, and you start to feel anxious about feeding your family – what was that about there being enough food for everyone??)
3. Supermarkets taking a high handed approach, despite the fact that more than half of New Zealand is voluntarily sitting on their hands at the moment, and that they effectively have a monopoly on the supply of food and essential products (don’t get me started on how much things are costing at a time when a lot of people’s income is reduced – my supermaket bill, for the same things I normally buy, was at least $30 more than it usually is – why? When they are making more money than they ever dreamed of? Have you noticed how quiet they’ve been about their profit margins?) Why can’t they get their act together to home deliver to anyone except for the ‘high risk’? (This increases the chance of infection because people have effectively been forced to congregate at a single common point where infection could occur at high rates). This is not a time to give the people whose sole existence to date has been about making money, the power to be in control of society’s well being. It only bodes well for exploitation.
I think perhaps it’s time for the NZ Defence Force to take over operations and comandeer any available delivery vehicle not already in use for essential purposes just to help clear the backlog.
Sidenote: I know that other businesses have now been allowed to start delivering essentials and there is such a thing as food boxes (which I am also using to prevent unnecessary trips to the hated supermarket). This will help to some extent, but I believe that more needs to be done. Not everyone is in such a privileged position.
This scenario just throws up how ill prepared we are as a country to cope with sudden large scale disasters. I don’t care if that sentiment upsets the people who are trying. It’s just a fact. I’ve seen it time and time again, where I have been the only one asking “and what if, and have we thought of?” Maybe, coming from a family with a long history of military careers, this thinking has been bred into me. It still surprises me, because we live in a land more prone to disaster than many others on the planet due to our high risk of earthquakes, for one. We’ve had a number of pre-shocks in recent history to get help get us sorted (SARS, Christchurch, Kaikoura, even the Whakaari/White Island event should have got us thinking) and yet… How can we learn from this? I hope it means that in future, those in charge of response to events think a little harder about the consequences of failures in our systems and have a good line of communication and response sorted.
Up to this point, the vast majority of the populations of the world have been compliant with requests to stay at home. How long will this last when the very fabric of normal existence is being torn apart? I’m starting to feel very worried about the consequences.
Having got people to comply for now, the governments of the world need to be focusing on giving people reasons to continue to comply, besides instilling yet more fear into people or the big stick approach. Not all countries are culturally aligned to being compliant and now is not the time to expect drastic change to automatically happen. Meeting as many basic needs as possible will go a long way to preventing the rising feelings of anger and resentment I’m beginning to both feel, and hear all around me. Helping people to feel that things are under control and everyone is getting access to things they need, will help.
What say you, my readers? Do you agree?
We’ll return to normal knitting commentary in next post. 🙂
Stay safe everyone.
PS: And in case you are wondering, yes, I did get the flour. Rationed to one bag only, but at least it’s a bag! And no, it wasn’t from Countdown, my supposed local supermarket in charge of the well being of the good people in the area where I live.