Last week came and went like a blur. All days rolled into one and though I didn’t miss a single lesson nor a single minute of any lesson, I couldn’t really tell you what I did with them. I know that I was looking over my shoulder at my own kids and their work; I know that I was conscious of trying to entertain the classes online but also knowing that it was all being recorded and might be looked at by anyone. I can get away with quite a lot in the classroom that maybe I shouldn’t but it’s that edge which keeps the kids engaged and ensures that they do ok in my classes.
At this time last week we were teetering on the edge of the unknown; there was something happening that had taken us all by storm and dragged us to a point beyond anything that we might have expected in the humdrum of our lives; it had forced us to buy into it and we were well along the track before we even knew where we were or what was going on.
I suppose this is how these things have to be if they’re to work: don’t give people the time to think too much about things – get them moving quickly and driven my fear and it will be too late to turn back before they realise what’s gone on. It has all been so bizarre these past couple of weeks that none of us really know what has hit. And here we are.
I’m not suggesting that we’ve been duped – I take that head-on in other posts; it’s not what I’m suggesting here. I’m only suggesting that we never had a say in any of it. The initial response that I had – and still retain – is that I don’t fear the virus but the reaction of the people to the measures put in place. I guess we have to believe that the people in power really believe that this pandemic is worth the hassle because the measures that have been put in place and the costs that have been incurred to our way of life as much to our economy have been off the scale.
I know that I have said this before but I really am struggling to get my head around the fact that a mere couple of weeks ago we hadn’t even heard of this virus. A month ago if you’d have said that Ant and Dec would have to do a live show with no audience; that there would be no football on Saturday at 3; that the Olympic games would be postponed – any one of these and countless other disruptions would have been massive news on their own but to be all simultaneously dropped simply is astonishing. During the world wars they could still go to the cinema and he shops and watch the football. They weren’t restricted by the amount of hours that they were allowed out walking each day or the distance that they had to stay apart from each other…
It’s a tough sell and maybe when you’ve been in the house for a week like I have an not been able to taste the atmosphere of the outside world like usual it doesn’t feel all that real. People don’t buy into things unless they feel real. At the start of the crisis things moved quickly and there was something new every day to keep us on our toes; to make this beast continue to grow and become more and more of a danger. Half of that was through gossip and rumour – so when you force people into their homes half of the gossip and rumour slows down. Daily briefings announce the latest figures and seeing them rack up like a cricket scoreboard adds a sense of reality to a threat that otherwise could feel a lot more alien that the conditions applied upon us all.
I might have suggested that the Prime Minister’s acquisition of the virus was an interesting piece of spin and useful to ramp up the stakes as the public interest waned mid-week, but he does look rough. Then the Health minister went down with it and now the chief medical adviser, the one with the strangely alien face that we see on the new warning ads, also has it.
The news today was that we might have six months of these conditions if we’re to kill the bug good and proper. If they want to make that work then there will need to be a lot more enforcement.
We live in strange times but the strange thing is how quickly we’re getting used to it.