It's been a quiet week. Which I'm grateful for.
Over the last few weeks, I've paid attention to the news in terms of coronavirus, and the number of those infected in China. Watched the bulletins that told how it began to spread across the world. (At this point, I remembered the opening to Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes). Bulletins describing the first cases in London. The subsequent rise. Boris Johnson's stark warning that more would die. All of this, I took as clinically as I could, and focused on the basics. Basic hygiene. Social distancing.
Common sense. Or so I would have thought:
Usually I order groceries online. I found out the hard way about a week ago that won't be possible: as a Sainsbury's shopper, I find out that all the delivery slots are booked up for the next 3 weeks. Thankfully, I live within walking distance of a number of supermarkets and corner shops. 30 mins of brisk walk means I still get my exercise in. So, mid-week, I bite the bullet and hit the supermarket at the ass-crack of dawn. Not particularly surprised to see it busy. Some comfort in the fact that had I gone mid-afternoon, I'm sure it would've been a lot worse.
Supermarkets have less capacity for social distancing now. Those who can't place online orders are now left with options like 'click & collect' or to shop the old-fashioned way and go into store. My one time in store this, and I'm faced with a number of those not paying attention to their fellow human. No 'excuse me' or acknowledgement of me letting them pass. Not all people ...but some. Queues failing to observe social distancing, despite the signs. An old man so close to my ass in the queue, any closer and there'd have been penetration. Never mind the fact that he was frail enough to lean on a stick, so why he's so close behind me when I'd risk knocking him over is lost on me. Same with the signs at the checkouts that maintain 'social distancing.' Along with the cashiers wearing gloves. Eventually I told him to hold his position while I got served at a distance and got the fuck out.
Part of what pains me now is to see the city so busy. London Tonight has shown tube trains so packed, you wouldn't think anything was wrong from looking at them. As much as I love London and the hustle and bustle, I'd love to see more of the social distancing all round. I'm sure people have their reasons: the same way not all of those reasons are essential. With family members who've worked in the health service, I know the NHS is under pressure at the best of times. Social distancing will minimise the spread which, in turn, will minimise the impact on the NHS - and give them some breathing space. As of today's announcement from the PM, there'll be more of a lock-down after tonight: pubs, bars, gyms, theatres, et al. For which, I'm grateful.
I'm aware that things are drastic now, but they could get worse. Currently, there's access to food. Clean water. Electricity. Medicines. Phones/basic communications. Internet. I'd dread that things progress to the point where those aren't available. For those of us who write fantasy - or, at least, horror - we know too well how bad things could get. We can imagine it. From the likes of The Walking Dead to the likes of Twelve Monkeys.
I'd spoken to a friend in Spain this morning. A general catch-up. The expected 'these are some crazy times.' Thankfully, she's okay, albeit concerned for loved ones - as I would be. But she's taking steps to stay low and stay safe, as I am. Among other things, she asks me if I'm still writing. To which I answer that I am. At least the new Semen novella is published now; one less thing to worry about.
I'll admit that for a day, I watched the news to the point where I'd figure I'd take the day off. No shame in it, and nothing wrong with it. As much as I can be a workaholic, I also know the value of self-care: physically and mentally. If nothing else, self-isolation has taught me that time away from the gym has made me soft. 20 push-ups is no number at all. Still, I'll have time to work on that. But I digress. The writing still continues. Life still continues with some degree of normalcy. There's food, TV (Netflix and Amazon Prime), friends, exercise. The muse is still good to me. Work on the new novel continues. Right now, I'm working on keeping mind and body in shape. Even before the pandemic, there've been a number of hurdles to address. Not easy, but I guarantee they're not impossible. Still, it can be a trying time. Again - self-care is key. Thankfully, I'm in one piece. I'm trying to keep it that way.
For those that read this entry, no matter where you are in the world: thank you for visiting. I'm always humbled that people like my work, or are at least intrigued by it. And in this time of virus, I hope that you minimise the spread and distance yourself where you can. Protect yourself - and protect others.