A strange new world

A strange new world

I have been self isolating for a week as I was unsure of my situation regarding legal, moral and social requirements due to Coronavirus. However after speaking to the MS community, it turns out that I can do what the ‘norms’ do (I’ll spare you the medical reasons why).

So, social distancing and a daily walk for me. Trouble is, I don’t recognise this strange new world. Not that I feel uncomfortable in it, it’s just weird!

Travelling with caution, I visit to the local Spar. There are signs on the shelves, asking customers not to take more than one pack of toilet roll.

At the counter, there is a box marked around the till area, which resembled a sort of demilitarised zone. There are signs instructing you to refrain from entering and instead use a spot marked with an ‘X’. I struggle to get my basket onto the counter without encroaching within the prohibited area. So I sidle up from the side. This is really odd!

On the way out, a lady gives me a very wide birth. Obviously embarrassed, she shouts in my direction “Sorry, it’s just this virus terrifies me”. This encounter is a prelude for things to come.

I decide to take a walk around the lake. There, a scattering of people are enjoying the spring sunshine. However they are enjoying it in a way that I don’t recognise.

Friends are sitting on different picnic benches and shouting across to each other. A couple of teenagers, smoking and smirking, obviously find my blue gloves hilarious. A young couple (who obviously don’t live together) are taking a stroll. The man is walking a safe distance behind the woman. A matriarchy? How refreshing!

As I stumble around the lake I sense that people are apprehensive. Everybody keeps their distance from each other. There’s a grandmother throwing bread for the ducks with her granddaughter. Both are wearing masks. I see a bike, abandoned. It has one wheel missing. The mind boggles.

Back home, my neighbour even says ‘hello’ from a distance. Now for decontamination of body and clothes. This new world is exhausting!