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  • Writer's pictureCrone

What I wonder about in lockdown

Did someone leave that picture there as a message of love, or dump it because the recycling centre is closed?

Do you think couples are having more or less sex? Are they bored of each other and so disinclined, or so bored that they may as well? More because life is short and sex is fun? Or less because life is short and a good orgasm can take too long? What about porn? Are men watching less because their partners are home? Or more because there really isn't that much on Netflix and Amazon Prime? Are there reader's wives in lockdown sessions available right now for our delectation?

What about exercise? I've lost a bit of weight. A mate has lost 4.5kg. In two weeks. But others admit to gaining. To be fair, it's hard not to think about food. All the time. In the middle of my sleepless nights as well as during the long undistracted days.

How much toilet roll are the toilet roll hoarders using when they, well, you know? More than the rest of us in sheer glee at having a garage full of the stuff? Will they block their drains with excess paper? And as the virus is passed in faeces, could they be charged with chemical warfare?

How unkempt will we be when we are released from the 'safe at home' time? Eyebrows like furry caterpillars, beards progressing glacially toward navels, grey, scraggling locks wisping around our hips?

Are people reading more books or just getting lost in the news and social media? How much news and social media can a brain take before it decides it would rather be in a coma?

Has anyone worn anything other than jogging bottoms and jeans or the like for the last three weeks?

Are more people than usual dying of heart attacks and the like because they are too afraid of going to A&E? Has the suicide rate actually increased as one person told me? Or are fewer people dying on the roads, in work-related accidents and through polluted air (the number of deaths directly related to air pollution is actually shocking - and apparently air quality has improved)?

Are kids learning more and faster in their online classes than they usually do at school? Are they learning how to be in a nuclear family and starting to help around the house, paint rainbows and feel the sense of communal activism?

Will people move from commuting to home working? Will the communal spirit extend beyond corona-time? Will society improve in manifold ways after we've all had this reality check? Will we start to realise that we don't need so much stuff and so much busyness? Will we find new hobbies, interests and passions that are meaningful to us and invest our lives in things that matter more to us?

Or will we be so poor and the economy so broken that the welfare system falls apart and capitalism cranks up to exploit wage labour and make profit in the name of rebuilding society in an even more dramatically unpleasant form? Will we be more polarised, nationalistic and ungenerous, condemning, judging and excluding because if 'they' hadn't done 'that' everything would have been just fine, thank you very much.

Apparently, soap operas can no longer be broadcast weekly as they can't make more episodes so they're rationing them out. Will the supplies last until we're released? (I can't say I care, but people do.)

Will more people want to move house afterwards, being sick and tired of these darn four walls? Or will they never want to go outside again into the scary plague-world of the 2020s?

Are people actually using the yeast and the flour they desperately wanted or, with bread still on the shelves and in their trolleys, will they chuck it away three years from now unable to remember why on earth they bought it?

Will anyone, at all, learn anything from this? Like, that there will be another? Like, that climate change is actually far, far worse, because there will never be a vaccine for that?

How many people are sitting now writing pandemic novels and how many of the few that reach publication will be worth reading?

Will we see that wild food markets and global travel are not actually the only things that are wrong. Factory farming and consumerism, exploitation and tribalism, environmental devastation and skewed priorities, ignorance and exclusion, austerity politics and short-sightedness, bigotry and pettiness, bad communication and misinformation - there are so many different causes for the next potentially species defining disaster. This is just one. We're all, or at least nearly all, in our own ways a tiny bit or a bigger bit responsible for the next catastrophe. It's not 'their' fault or 'their' problem - in the bigger picture, it's ours.

None of us have totally clean hands. However often we wash them.

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