No one in the world could have predicted how CoVid19 was going to manifest. Did we even understand what was happening to us all? One thing is for sure. It changed lives dramatically for some but not so dramatically for others. Looking at my life, I realised that I had slid into the not so dramatically category. It wasn’t directly affecting me in a way that it did others. I live with my parents caring for my chronically ill mother and was on a form of lockdown anyway due to being a carer. In our house we simply slid from semi lockdown through to permanent.
Day 1 for our household had Dad and I sitting down at breakfast. Our day starts the same. Coffee, news and sitting together for a chat about the news usually. As the lockdown guidelines for chronically sick and elderly slid into place, we had already been practising a form of those for a few weeks so it was nothing new. We simply reviewed what we were doing and made sure that we had all our bases covered. We knew we could do only do so much and just simply had to make the best of the situation.
This was a shopping day and having seen the news footage and read the stories of people queuing for items and seeing the images of fights in supermarkets, I can say I was not looking forward to it. However we had not done a shop for a couple of weeks so we were well overdue for items. It was now things we needed as opposed to things we wanted.
I headed out with a list, grabbed my trolley and took the complimentary wipes so that I minimised the risk to myself and others. Pushing my trolley with one hand and list in the other it was easy to see the panic in people. I wanted to stop them and shake them and remind them that they are still alive and the world has not come to an end. I wanted to remind them that by taking twelve bottles of sanitiser they were taking from the elderly and sick who may have a higher need.
Every now and then I stopped and just watched, people watched. When I got to the canned veg aisle there was two tins of baked beans on the shelf and no one around refilling. I noticed two women, one at each end of the aisle standing like they belonged in a Clint Eastwood western. I couldn’t help but smile wondering who was going to get there first. Had we really come to this? A stand off over baked beans!
I then found myself wandering up and down the toilet roll aisle. A man coming the opposite way up the aisle stopped close by and raised his eyes. He started a conversation with me and we both concluded that the panic shoppers were idiots! We found ourself meeting up alternate aisles directing each other to things that we knew the other wanted.
Once I got to the checkout with my huge trolley I found that I had turned into one of those that I had criticised. I was told on several occasions that I had “too many of a certain category” . It turned out that you are only allowed two items from each category of food. I still managed to get, I would say 99% of what I wanted so a successful shop. We had enough in for a few more weeks and then my challenge would start again.
Over breakfast on the second day, Dad and I were discussing old movies. This was a carry on from a conversation we had following the death of Kirk Douglas. Dad commented that 20,000 leagues under the sea was his first cinema trip as a child. I sourced the movie and it was a treat to sit and watch something with a parent who had such vivid memories of the occasion of the first viewing.
Old movies were then the talk of the town. the Jazz Singer, Singing in the Rain, The Great Escape, The Dambusters, Reach for the Sky, The Longest Day and many more were discussed. The memories attached to the movies almost as strong as the films theirselves. The Jazz Singer a personal favourite due to being music that I danced to at my wedding. Singing in the Rain due to seeing the show with my late husband and parents.
We now have a list of movies, a pile of DVDs and many Sunday afternoons to watch them.
Day 3 saw memories start to evolve and discussions around family members. My Dad had received an email from his Aunty Pat who he realised had little knowledge about life in Australia. He had informed her that they were remote. He meant in terms of big cities like Brisbane and Sydney. She thought that he meant remote in terms of nothing for miles and a kangaroo in the back yard! This one little scrap of information sent him on a mission to share information with her. A video was soon sent of his house. He emailed her information about Australian seasons and temperatures. He sent pictures.
The lockdown saw me catch up on emails with many friends from my local area, England and Ireland. Catching up on these emails including sharing my mum and Dads lockdown 50th wedding. Even in lockdown, we had managed flowers, cake, balloons, dinner and a nice dress for her. Those memories, thanks to the power of the internet went sailing around the world to friends and family.
Lockdown for us has probably done the opposite of a lot of people and families. For us it enhanced a sense of family. The family bond was already in place but lockdown appeared to be strengthening it as we realised things about each other that had long been forgotten.