Yesterday afternoon I had not long sent the copy for my previous #ICCL1 I was pondering what to do about my somewhat impetuous decision to call it Lockdown 1 and how it had rather forced me to write a 2nd one. Before I go on, I need to explain something further.
I talked a bit last time about how my wife is particularly vulnerable and is in a group of people being advised to take even more stringent measures than the rest of us. Technically, she's not supposed to go outside. Realistically she has given up both her voluntary jobs, doesn't go into town to do any shopping and doesn't see any of her friends. Staying indoors would have been too much not least because the sense of being trapped would have been deeply distressing for her2. So we go out every day and make every effort to avoid other people. We have started taking our rabbits out with us. It's good for them to get fresh air and exercise and it's good to get them outdoors while people are more or less forced to keep their distance. Well, most people.
All of this is why we are out near our home. We are both carrying a rabbit and I am looking around nervously for anyone who might get too close. A couple of people notice the rabbits and talk to them from a safe distance. Then one man (I'm going to say idiot) leans over to stroke them.
I'm going to ignore the fact that he doesn't even ask. Not only is it polite but he probably would have been bitten by our little girl. It's interesting that people treat rabbits the same way they treat pregnant women. Sometimes they will ask to talk to them but often they will just come up and stroke them without considering if it's unwise or unwanted. Some people will just shout 'rabbit' in case we had forgotten they were there. Some people, absolutely always old men, will say 'rabbit pie'. I can only assume these people are incapable of empathy.
Meanwhile, this man approaches my wife to stroke our non-bitey boy rabbit and I have to spring across the two metre gap we have established, crying ‘no no no, keep away from her' like a possessive lunatic. I think I managed to add something about her being vulnerable but I was mainly shaken by this apparent lack of consideration.
This has always been an issue for me. I have a greater than usual sense of responsibility for a person whose wellbeing would be important to me even if she weren't physically fragile and even if there wasn't currently a deadly global pandemic to which she was particularly vulnerable. I have to somehow manage that anxiety while simultaneously not becoming controlling or suffocating. I can't pretend I always get it right.
This anxiety extends to shopping trips as well. I don't know what it's like where you are, but the shops I use have taped their floors to indicate appropriate distances, signs everywhere and make frequent announcements. Some shops have introduced one-way systems. And while some people are happy to wait their turn patiently, others are so desperate to get their packet of painkillers and 5th spare hand gel that rather than waiting 30 seconds for you to investigate shampoo options they breeze through your unusually large personal space so they can get on with their incredibly busy day.
Sometimes I think I might be overreacting. But consider the worst-case scenario of personal carelessness: somebody dies. Now weigh that up against the expectation that you simply do not go within 2 metres of anyone you don't live with. It's a very basic and uncomplicated action to avoid a pretty dire consequence. When you consider that most people have nothing else to do it makes me want to get
Printed on a T Shirt.
I'll let you know how that goes.