I wished for (and still wish for) a beginning to the end of lockdown. But not like this. Here is a sample of things I wished for:
- Public transport to return to normal, in particular the reopening of Blackhorse Road station and the end of the “one way system” at Stratford which necessitates a five minute Non Essential Journey and lots of people piling into a lift.
- Reopening of public toilets (you know, those places where you can wash your hands)
- End to stupid, illogical shortenings to opening hours especially in relation to parks.
- Recommencement of non-coronavirus related hospital appointments esp for people with life threatening/limiting conditions. Also for my dodgy ankle.
- Some move towards people being allowed to see family members and socialise in small groups, eg. group running sessions.
- Reopening of a small subset of businesses to start the ball rolling towards people returning to work. Like Pret A Manger in Stratford station.
What we actually got was:
- TFL on its knees, on the brink of going bust and only given half of what it needs in the government’s “emergency bail out”. Bus services down to every 30 minutes.
- Government orders everyone who cannot work from home and whose business has not been closed by law to get back to work immediately. 8375935 cleaners, factory workers, builders, shop workers etc etc join the essential key workers on the bus. Bus runs out of space for social distancing; fracas develops on bus as people try to sit next to other people. Everyone seems indignant that other people are on the bus despite the fact that they too, obviously, are on the bus.
- Boris tells everyone to walk or cycle to work, despite the fact that his government has priced most people out of being able to live within walking/cycling distance of their work place. The “traffic lights” sign permitting keyworkers to travel is removed and replaced with another telling everyone not to use public transport.
- So called friends, most of whom are working from home and refusing to step outside their door unless it is to pick up a Waitrose delivery, tell me to stop taking the bus and cycle instead, because obviously it’s not enough for me to be risking catching coronavirus to do my job, now I have to really endanger my life to reduce the risk of passing on the coronavirus that I might have caught to other people. It’s not the first time this week that I have caught myself thinking that people want me dead, then I tell myself not to be so melodramatic – they don’t actively want me dead, they just don’t care either way.
- I start walking half the journey to work, avoiding the bus, and also avoiding getting more than six hours sleep a night ever again. And once again, I’m the lucky one, because if I wasn’t healthy and able to walk from Blackhorse Road to Leyton every morning, then I would have no choice to be on that bus, breathing in other people’s germs, choosing between my health and getting paid – while all the better off people work from home or drive. Did someone say “eugenics”?
- Pret A Manger in Stratford Station reopens. Unfortunately, it opens a hour after I start work and shuts an hour before.