It was nice to see the postman today. Even though he was wearing blue plastic gloves and put the mail on the car instead of handing it to me.
I drove slowly along the marsh towards the shop, and a police car was patrolling the entire sea wall from Pett Level to Winchelsea Beach, looking for people who were ‘flouting social distancing rules’, by erm.. gathering… or walking with people they don’t live with, or something hitherto perfectly acceptable and life-enhancing. I am obeying the rules, but something inside me is deeply raging against the machine.. In the queue I looked at people in the eye, wanting to connect, wanting some kind of interaction. No one else seemed to want to. They seemed depressed. That’s what imposed isolation does to people. They eye each other as if the other were a weapon of mass destruction. On social media, many have become Stasi-like, pointing fingers, with judgmental tones, and talking (shouting) in CAPITAL LETTERS! I just watch, and post pictures of a painting or an uplifting article if there are any circulating. If it happens, the ramifications of taking our exercise privilege away will be far-reaching, unthinkable. Physical exercise boosts immunity against all manner of ills, not least , it improves our chances of deflecting viruses, depression, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, absolutely everything. I spoke to an eminent doctor friend, who advises the government about the importance of exercise at this time, and he soothed my fears and he said the CMO is fighting the proposed ban. It’s funny having friends in high places.
I said to N yesterday ‘I never thought in my lifetime I would be living under totalitarianism’. He didn’t answer so I gently pressed him for an answer, and he replied, ‘I have always known I have been’. He’s right of course. He usually is, in his cautious way. N being extremely well-read, I always ask him questions regarding history or politics, or any academic subject for that matter. Although his caution has often frustrated me, as I have been known to throw mine to the proverbial wind, although never quite daring to fall from virtue, like a rebel angel, but still having fun while doing it, he has maintained a constant state of equanimity in his choices and behaviours.
I always thought of myself as the optimist in our friendship, but in the case of this pandemic, it would seem he is the optimist, paradoxically because he has always been a pessimist. So he has prepared his mind for a situation such as this his whole life. When I wanted to sell our house and buy a smaller place in Hastings and one in Spain, or take out some of my own investment in the house, he always resisted. At this point in time, I am glad he did. I am glad to be away from people although I do so desperately crave them, but under totalitarian control, I need the space, and above all, the sea. Oh to be at sea. But I don’t have a boat.
‘The important thing is to not stop questioning’. Albert Einstein.