It seems unbelievable that only a couple of weeks ago, I had no idea how the coronacrisis would escalate and change our lives. My second-to-last entry was basically “is this really necessary? Seems like overkill to me!” and I have to concede I was probably wrong there because a lot of people who know what they are talking about think that the Cancelvirus is the best way of tackling the outbreak. Nonetheless, it has been completely devastating. Here is a full list of things in my calendar that have been cancelled/closed. For ongoing things, the cancellations are mostly currently until the end of April but expected to be extended:
- All races, including small local ones. For me, so far, that’s been Lea Valley Run Fest, four RunThrough Chase the Sun events, the RunThrough Easter event, and the Brighton Marathon 10k.
- All gyms
- All trips to pubs, restaurants or cafés
- The Ladies Pond
- My physio
- Four gigs (Aesthetic Perfection, Empathy Test, Front 242 and Leaether Strip).
- The Rootstech genealogy show
- The Triathlon Show
- Margate Beer Festival
- All running clubs, however small
- Whitby and Slimelight (I wasn’t actually planning on going to either but they have a place in my heart so earn a mention)
- EastEnders and Corona-tion Street. (Did you see what I did there?)
Here is a list of things not cancelled:
- My clinic appointment on April 27. This is literally the only thing in my calendar for April now. I am now looking forward to it like it is the party of the century.
- My eviction. (I have asked the landlord to reconsider, and offered to raise my rent if she offers me a new contract. My proposal is under consideration.)
- Work. Work will be the opposite of cancelled from now on, unless of course I actually get the coronavirus.
We are currently at the stage of “social distancing” which means that we are supposed to keep a distance from other people and avoid leaving the house unless absolutely necessary. Unfortunately, people’s definitions of “absolutely necessary” vary (and some of the house leaving doesn’t appear to be even slightly necessary by anyone’s definition). If you live with your family and have a job which is secure and easily done from home, it’s probably not going to be that hard for you to stay in and do nothing for the next twelve weeks (or however long it ends up being). If, like me, you have a job that is about to go through the roof with stress and workload (or like many people you have a job or business that is under threat), if, like me, you live alone and face the prospect of not seeing a single friend, let alone your elderly mother who recently had an major operation, “just stay home” isn’t so easy. It’s like saying “just go and run a marathon” to someone who doesn’t run, or indeed “just go and stick your foot in this boiling water” to anyone with feet. There really is no “just” about it. The prospect of this indefinite isolation makes me feel completely sick. It feels like everything I live for has been taken away.
The thing that really doesn’t help is that people don’t understand why we are social distancing and have an unrealistic expectation that if we all stay in for a few weeks, the virus will just run out of people to infect and go away. There’s actually a meme circulating that says “The longer you resist social distancing, the longer we’ll have to do it”. This is the opposite of the truth. Social distancing is designed to prolong the epidemic, so fewer people have it at once, and hospitals can cope. The better we do it, the longer it will last. Social distancing is not supposed to stop people catching the disease altogether – only social isolating does that. That is why at this stage, we are isolating the vulnerable and distancing everyone else. The healthy population need to catch it.
For someone like me – who has no choice but to travel to/from work on public transport up to twelve times per week, and then mingle with co-workers, many of whom live with paramedics – it seems inevitable that I will catch coronavirus and for that reason I am kind of hoping it is sooner rather than later because once I have caught it I don’t need to worry about passing it on to others.
It’s funny how when Caroline Flack killed herself a few weeks ago everyone was full of mental health awareness, “be kind!” and assorted waffle and all that has completely gone out of the window now some of us have the lurgy. People expect me to work my socks off doing six twelve-hour shifts each week because I’m providing a service that they might need. It’s fine for me to sit on a bus for an hour each way and come into contact with all sorts of germ ridden people because I am doing my job, but should I catch a bus to go out and run for the sake of my own mental health, suddenly that is “selfish” and “a jolly up”. I was even called selfish because I was annoyed at my local station closing, adding a cold, dark, 20 minute walk in each direction to my twelve hour shifts. The people saying these things are the same people who post about the importance of mental health, how running has transformed their lives and how they don’t know where they would be without it. Suddenly, mental health is seen as a triviality and it has been completely forgotten that just as many people take their own lives as die from coronavirus. Perhaps when all the health care workers are off work, sick from exhaustion and depression, and there is no one to treat the coronavirus patients, they might stop begrudging us a little time for ourselves.
On a lighter note – because this is supposed to be a funny blog and my last couple of entries have been anything but – you will be glad to know that the lack of parkrun this weekend didn’t stop me falling arse over tit whilst running in public. I went to the Olympic Park yesterday to earn a virtual Runthrough medal (my confinement for having a cough finally over) and promptly ran a kilometre and went arse over tit. I didn’t even trip over anything, I literally tripped over my own tangled feet. I bashed my knee and bruised my ribs and my fingers were dripping with blood but because of the bloody social distancing no one saw or was around to help so after a couple of mins I got up and slowly finished my 5k. I guess some things in life can be relied on after all, my propensity to falling over being one of them.
As total lockdown and a ban on running in public seem a strong possibility, I have started sizing up treadmill hire online. This is something I thought I would never, ever do.