In the recent weeks since the beginning of Britain's Great lockdown, a lot has changed in our daily lives. For us, having Sam at home everyday has reminded us of the effort doing simple things like leaving a room without being followed, or going into the kitchen without having to bring back a snack, like he's a helpless puppy desperate for affection.
Now that we can only leave our homes for defined purposes, I find myself taking stock of the small pleasures in life. Unlike many, our house has no garden, the late Victorians could not have cared less about the pleasures of people that would succeed them in the centuries to come, so a yard not wide enough to fit a recycling bin is our inheritance from the beyond.
Thankfully, a park lies not to far from us, so we can enjoy our allotted daily exercise as bestowed by our benevolent government... It's this though that I find myself struggling to deal with. See, many of the houses in our area lack gardens, and even more have kids at home, longing to go out into a world where until recently they avoided at all costs for a game of Fortnight.
Now, you try and go out into a park in the middle of the afternoon, when the sun is out at the start of Spring in Lancashire - a wait that most people round here spend eons longing for. You go out for a walk in a park and try and find 2 meters of space on a 6 foot wide path, when there's more people thinking the same thing because they're not allowed to do anything else. It's a nightmare.
I suppose what should I expect, with so little to do most people are bound to end up coming to the same conclusion. Yet in spite of this, nobody seems to know how to act around other people any more. When you walk past someone coming the opposite way, are you still allowed to nod a simple "hello", or do you both pause in caution at the impending precipice of taking a side step before continuing as you would have anyway.
Or, worse still, do look at the family with the child that has learning difficulties and squirm in fear and hatred because they have no idea what's going on and could not care less about social distancing. You know, because they're a child!
To such people I ask this: What do you expect? Are your scowls, that you cannot hide, a judgement passed on me as a parent because I refuse to do the honourable thing and lock my SEND kid away in a cupboard to protect them, as you imagined would be the case? Or are they an expression of your own fears that somehow walking near someone who looks disabled magically makes you personally more susceptible to catching diseases like COVID-19, malaria, or good old-fashioned stupidity?
I find the whole ordeal tedious. We all have a right to leave our home for set purposes, so don't be judgmental because everyone else picked the same time of day as you. There is no need to be so grumpy at the existence of other people. We may be in a pandemic, but this is a far cry from 28 days later. The people you walk past are not zombies sniffing out brains to eat, and even if they were, what would be so special about yours? Are you a connoisseur of Grey Matter, do you know your Frontal from your Temporal Lobes?
Yes all this sounds ridiculous, but this is the point. You should be cautious around other people when leaving your house, but there is no need to be afraid, especially when the people you're walking past are clearly too young or cognitively able to get what's going on. We're not asking for much, just try to show some tact, please.
Otherwise, if you truly are afraid of the outdoors right now, remember:
Stay Home; Stay Safe.