I wrote an email the other day that talked about all the extra time that people have now the government imposed restrictions have come into force.
It provoked the biggest email mailbag for a while, with an interestingly diverse set of replies.
We are always delighted that
1) people take the time out of their day, already flooded with 10 times more online information than ever, and
2) that they take even more time to tell us their stories
It needs capitals I think.
Lockdown, Curfew, Rations, Isolation; Prison – military and wartime language, seemingly chosen very deliberately.
Dripping with drama and weight.
I HEARD FROM PEOPLE FOR WHOM LOCKDOWN IS ACTUALLY VERY ACCURATE… BUT FOR VERY DIFFERENT REASONS.
Emma: mum of two under 5s, working from home full time and whose husband is self-isolating.
Doing 40 hours of paid work PLUS childcare, PLUS housework and cooking PLUS getting the food and medicine, hearing about ‘all this extra time’ frankly takes the piss.
Jayne: leaving early morning to drive 20 miles to get to work each day – working longer hours with fewer staff in the office before she heads home after dark to see her husband and child, eat, sleep, rinse, repeat.
Seeing friends seemingly having an extended paid Summer holiday on her 30-minute lunch break, taking lovely family walks and relaxing in the hot-tub turning up the bitterness dial on an already fit to burst mental pressure cooker.
Single mum Adede: who has only lived in this country 13 months and no extended family to call upon in this country. In her home with her 3-year-old.
The only adults she spoke to were at her factory job and now she only speaks to her little boy. She hasn’t heard from her elderly mother and is getting increasingly worried by the day.
Laura: fitness instructor and PT, just started out in self-employment 9 months ago – so 100% of her income has evaporated and not even receiving Universal Credit (yet, fingers crossed – she’s working on it) so literally no money to buy food and the rent is due next week. Free online workouts make taking her fledgling business online almost impossible. (“I’m a fitpro not a tech specialist or a video maker and I don’t know where to start”)
Angela: mum of teens, newly separated from her husband but not yet moved out. Has had the symptoms of Covid-19 and is thankfully recovering In an environment of brooding hostility that she has no escape from anymore.
And then there’s Carly:
High Dependency nurse. Who tells us she’s woken up in a real-life horror film, desperate, sad, scared and angry. And working herself to the point of exhaustion.
Seeing friends and colleagues becoming ill, and wanting to stay well enough for long enough to help everyone.
Trying not to read the gutter press for their bad reporting and misinformation – whilst not being allowed to tell the real truth herself.
Money, relationships, illness, fear, time – everyone is Locked Down in different ways.
It’s very shit and I apologise for this unusually somber-toned post.
We see things from our perspective and this period of time feels the epitome of
‘you don’t know what goes on behind closed doors’.
- The woman who’s failed several rounds of IVF who would treasure the chance to be frustrated at home-schooling.
- The woman who lives alone in a remote village who would love to be overwhelmed by noise and stress.
- The woman who is wondering how she’ll pay for the shopping would love to be given too much work by her employer.
While two wrongs don’t make a right and we all would like to help all of these people
it may be possible to consider that sometimes when we think ‘well it’s alright for her’,
…often it isn’t all that alright at all.