Tuesday, July 28, 2020

unlocked

two weeks ago, when we took the plunge and decided to venture out of home for a 3 day ride/vacation, thanks to the governments of UK and Ireland deciding it was safe to do so, and bnbs and campsites opening up to take guests, we were finally out of our home for the first time in 4 months, down to the day (11 march - 11 july).

we didn't decide on our trip until literally 36 hours before our departure time: we read all the guidelines, news, statistics, thought long and hard about the precautions we could take, etc.

and then, we hopped on to our trusty motorcycle and enjoyed the ride. sanitizer every where, frequent hand washing (in public washrooms, which aren't really known for being perfectly clean, and in these times, gave a feeling similar to navigating a minefield!). i joked at one point that we're probably the cleanest we've ever been on a ride.

while we were riding back, we told each other: precautions notwithstanding, we'll stay away from everyone for the next two weeks. just one of us doing groceries, once a week, wearing a mask, etc.

that was not to be.

by the time the weekend had neared, our friends were making plans to meet up. we wanted to stay away from people to minimize risk, and thought it shouldn't be difficult. staying 2 metres apart in a park spread over thousands of acres, right?

and then there were other friends planning to meet up. the cafes were open. people were making plans to consume some good ol' alcohol in each others' homes.

and every time we accepted an invitation, we told ourselves: we'll take precautions.

sure, we didn't do silly things like sharing food/drink.

but you can't play exploding kittens without touching each others' cards. and we were probably a foot apart at the cafe. literally shoulder to shoulder with the windows closed in the car we pooled in.

and so, here's the tally over two weeks:

meeting in open spaces maintaining more than 1 metre distance: ~19 adults + a few kids (we did gather closer for a few seconds for photos)

meeting in closed spaces maintaining 1 metre distance: 3 adults

meeting in closed spaces not maintaining 1 metre distance: 13 adults

meeting in close proximity: 6 adults

restaurants/cafes visited: 4 (3 on vacation, 1 after)

oh, and we have collectively made over 5 grocery store visits in 2 weeks after the return from vacation + at least as many during our vacation itself (it's surprising how quickly these add up!) + visits to other shops + 2 ferry rides.

when you add these up, the numbers are mind boggling! we're up from meeting 1 person in an open space at over 1 metre distance over a two week period, to 41 people, most in higher risk situations over the next two weeks!

i just hope whatever analysis fed into the decisions to reduce restrictions and the test-and-trace programs that have been recently kicked off do their job in case the number of covid-19 cases increase.

Sunday, July 12, 2020

life after a pandemic

the last few months have involved more than a few revelations, as far as my relationship with "life" is concerned. it started with re-evaluating the obvious stuff: work, private open spaces, friends, food, health, my couch (oh yeah, I'm sure a lot of people feel very differently about their sitting arrangements now). but beyond the obvious stuff, there's a lot more that I've had the opportunity and time to evaluate.

my marriage, for example. being with the same person 24x7 has changed us. we have covered in 3 months what we would have been lucky to cover in 3 years in more ordinary circumstances.

but the biggest revelation of all, one that I think I have observed for the first time today, is that travel has something to it that cannot be explained by anything else. I used to think it was just about new experiences, a break from the normal, pushing myself, planning (just kidding, my travel does not involve anything more than very superficial planning), or maybe just time with my two wheels... but no, it's not any of those. because travel is not the only way to experience anything I could think of. and in these 3+ months that I couldn't travel (in the way I would like to), I think I gave all of the alternatives a shot. and they all worked, up to a point. but then they didn't.

I still can't explain it. but all lack of rationalisation notwithstanding, I will sleep in a strange (hopefully well sanitized) bed tonight, exhausted, but fulfilled. a feeling I have missed for these months.

a feeling I've felt every time I've travelled. 

static

 I realize most of life is cyclical. Ups and downs. Never a straight line. A dynamic equilibrium. Seasons are cyclical too. And this pandemi...