One thing not in short supply

Well, we’re shut down.

No surprise there; the only surprise is in how long it took. The Federal Government has mandated the closure of ‘principal places of social gathering’ with effect from midday today. Shops and businesses will close unless they can offer their employees and customers a safe distance to work in, which translates as 4 square metres (13 square feet) per person. Essential businesses remain open: supermarkets, petrol stations, convenience stores, banks and pharmacies. Oh, and the bottle shops (liquor stores or off-licenses). Of course…

We don’t have to stay in our homes, it will simply be harder to gather with a large number of other people and share our viruses around, and at home, at least you’re probably safe.

Knowing it was coming, I went into town this morning. I mailed something, I went to the pharmacy to get each of our prescriptions filled in case of emergency, I got some blood test results and I bought a bit of food. Bread, eggs, fruit and vegetables, that sort of thing. I maintained a safe distance, sanitised my hands and waited behind safe lines to pay with a card tap instead of folding money. Others were not so compliant. I had people reach across my face for things, hanging around in the centre of the aisle talking on their phones and preventing others passing them safely, and worst of all, abusing the checkout lady because they couldn’t bulk buy whatever they liked. As if she had any control over bogan buying behaviour, or the timely decisions of her head office in limiting quantities so everyone could get a bit. I couldn’t buy flour. Well, too bad…

But there’s one thing my online community has in abundance, and which it’ll never run out of.

The more you have, the more you make. Use it, share it, give it freely. It doesn’t need sanitising, it can’t carry the virus, and it will nourish your soul.  In the ugliness of restriction, fear, disease, social isolation and shortage, shine a light. Make something beautiful, clever or useful, and share it. Bring a bit of beauty into the lives of others. Build community in the midst of isolation, invite friends into your virtual creative space. Blog as you’ve never blogged before. Encourage and support, rather than scoff at fears and reject ideas.

Because we need this.

We are humans and have to feel connected. Without the reliable physical contact and emotional support of normal life, many of us are going to feel lonely, afraid, depressed and despairing. Creativity and virtual contact can help bring us all through this.

Yes, out there is the monster: COVID-19, the Coronavirus, SARS CoV 2, however you want to name our enemy. But in our hearts we have love, solidarity, courage and hope.

We will not be defeated.

54 thoughts on “One thing not in short supply

  1. Thank you for the good suggestions about sharing things – happiness is still out there – less noticeable maybe, but maybe more important to recognize…and I like your mug!

    • katechiconi says:

      I think happiness is going to become more internal: things we make, or read, or eat, conversations we have, and so on. I must make a point of going to the beach at an unpopular, empty time of day, so I can fill my lungs with the air and my eyes with the distance, to ‘hold’ me for a while…

  2. Marty K says:

    We’ve been “shut down” for a while here. Schools closed a week ago and online instruction starts tomorrow (without everyone having computer or internet access). Glad I retired last year — I can only imagine trying to teach science online to a bunch of 13-year-olds. Oy.

    I went shopping today too — no flour and no TP, but I was able to get a loaf of bread this time plus some laundry sanitizer to wash my foster cat’s bedding. So, silver lining.

    I’m sure Mouse will be happy to have you at home so he can get tons of affection. Looking forward to reading about your creative endeavors! 🙂

    • katechiconi says:

      The school situation’s been a bit chaotic up to now, with some states closing them and others not. All will now offer online learning, but for those who simply cannot stay home with their children, schools will accept them. It does at least free up critical personnel…

  3. cedar51 says:

    NZ just stepped up it’s levels and by Thurs, only essential services operating. I already can’t go food/other shopping as I’ve been in Level 3. I can go on solitary outings.

    However, I realised I had to address a few other things. I wrote about it here:
    Hoping it all goes according to plan.

    And you will see what has occurred about “creativity” – it might be coming right now, but I’m not rushing to it…I did brave the end of the driveway today and take walk, a couple of blocks. The streets busy as it was just on “letting go home time” – that will cease!

    • katechiconi says:

      Don’t you find that making is a good antidote to restriction? I always feel it as a challenge, to overcome what is imposed on me in a creative and enjoyable way…

      • cedar51 says:

        I’m pretty sure it will return – now that it’s not just me in “stay home mode” although I don’t truly have anything to see/do with any neighbour here.
        I bought a block of online workshops late last year to make books and various other related things. I have most of the supplies, if I don’t will make do. Some of them needed a sewing machine, at the time I hadn’t quite decided on a brand. I’ve got it now…had since before Xmas. And I’m sure I can do this…

        But and there are buts! Can I sustain it day in, day out …

        In a way it seems funny to say that because I had been doing this…but because I had options to drift off the property and say go to the Art Gallery, the Winter-gardens greenhouses or off to the beach on Tamaki drive. I often took those days out to “nut out things” – I was away from “things/art etc” and I could clearly see what I needed to do…

        I’m living on a very small section in an even smaller unit – and I just don’t have that “get away realtime space”

        Head space will return, just have to recreate…

      • katechiconi says:

        I’m hoping that by ‘polishing up’ my creativity bump, I’ll enable it to become a habit of living. There are always going to be days when restriction, worry about my distant family and frustration make creating difficult, but I don’t think anyone will put us in jail for a mental health excursion in the fresh air, so long as it’s done responsibly.

  4. Inspirational 🙂 Creativity is essential to live simply and frugally… and that’s what we need to do right now… baking bread, food prep from scratch, gardening, eating what we grow, keeping ourselves amused, mending, making stuff we might not ordinarily like yoghurt, pesto, mustard… as well as creativity for pleasure gives us a positive focus, feeling of accomplishment and sense of wellbeing.

  5. Yes, you have plenty of creativity. The second thing I’m concerned about is how fast this is going to bankrupt many families who cannot work from home and have no way to make income. For so many, it’s a months paycheck that will put them in the streets. No one here will be standing by to pay their bills or cover their medical. Staying safe and well is front line of course. This is quite the test of our metal. I’ve been checking on all those I know who are more alone than physically. Lots of texts, and cards this week. Keep up the great work, Kate. You inspire us.

    • katechiconi says:

      Here, the Government has doubled the welfare payments for the duration, but you have to stand in (well-space) line to sign up for it. They’re also paying employers to hang onto their employees so the economy doesn’t go down the gurgler when all this is over.

      • Our government, well you know the answer to that. Sigh. If he’s not voted out, I’m moving somewhere for my duration.

      • katechiconi says:

        Well, someone needed to demonstrate that a) denial, b) minimising, c) baseless optimism and d) promising the unpromisable *didn’t work*. It has been a valuable lesson for the rest of us… sorry it had to be at your expense :-/

  6. Trying to stay positive, and concentrate on one day at a time. Trying to drum up the energy to tackle all those domestic chores I’ve been putting off for so long. Maybe another post or two from you will do the trick….
    Take care xx

  7. Great post Kate. I was chatting with another blogger today and we decided more regular posting is in order at this time. I have always loved the global community we have about our blogs and now I feel also immense gratitude for it. We go into Lockdown in 48 hours – I put myself into it (again) today (I kept falling out of it) after seeing the crazy folk out there and their complete disregard for themselves or others. This is a crazier world than I ever imagined – let’s absolutely spread our creative forms of sunshine and sanity wherever we can!

    • katechiconi says:

      There are still so many oblivious/selfish people wandering about getting in the safe space of other people… It makes it altogether safer and more responsible to stay home. Plus it reduces my temptation to yell abuse at the thoughtless!
      I had a lovely FaceTime chat with Sue of From the Magpie’s Nest today – we haven’t talked in person for ages – and it made me wonder why we’d left it so long.

  8. A healthy mind begets a healthy body… & if you add creativity to it how could we go wrong 🥰

  9. tialys says:

    I have been feeling a bit unsettled and, although I’ve been making, haven’t really felt like blogging about it and wondering whether anybody wants to read about it anyway. However, I have been enjoying reading others’ blogs and, as you say, social contact of whatever sort is more important than ever now. So thanks for the kick up the butt.
    I wonder about friends and family who don’t have any creative interests. What on earth will they do with themselves?

  10. nanacathy2 says:

    I posted a card today for Mrs G’s brithday in a fortnight’s time. A man just stood by the door to the post office- for goodness sake I thought. Town was much quieter than ever, people were keeping distance but you can feel the fear.
    Last night a childhood friend had come down to visit his parents grave while he could and popped by to speak- he stood on the drive and me by the door as we chatted. parting had us both nearly in tears , he bowed and courtsied ( That spelling does not look right). Anyway you get the picture.
    Strange times and hurrah for the internet, phones and even Facebook.
    Stay healthyxx

    • katechiconi says:

      I think it’s curtseyed if it’s anything like the ballet I did as a nine year old 50 years ago… I’m hearing from far-flung and rarely heard-from members of my family – mainly to tell me how dreadful life is, but it’s nice to know they’re still going strong! We had to take Mouse to the vet today for a couple of things. No question of social distance when you’re both wrestling with a highly reluctant 35kg dog with muscles of steel. Poor boy, he was very stressed but good as gold.

  11. I love that mug Kate! Schools here shut on Friday though children of key workers (medical, food, deliveries..) can still go if their parents choose to send them as otherwise those essential people would have to stay home. All pubs, cafes, restaurants and many non-essential shops have had to close. Because so many people went to beaches, National Parks and so on at the weekend (and I can understand the need to get out) car parks were full and people wewre far too close to each other so many of them have now also been shut. I will be going out for essentials but making as few journeys as possible and keeping my distance. Gardening and being creative will get me through! And I love reading all the blogs. I will try to add my share for you all to read.

    • katechiconi says:

      It sounds as if we’ve caught up with you on the precautions, if not the statistics (thank God!). I am fortunate to live in a country nearly the size of the US but with only a population a little more than that of London. We have our share of precaution-ignoring idiots, but we also have a lot of empty space to help with cabin-fever and the need to have some distance against the eyeballs…

  12. mlmcspadden says:

    Creativity is probably one of the biggest things that is keeping me from rebelling too much at this point. i’m immune compromised so I really, really shouldn’t go much of anywhere. now normally I don’t……and it doesn’t bother me. but under restrictions when I’m now going days on end only seeing myself in the mirror, i’d be going nuts if it weren’t for my quilting. The commissions andF2F blocks have been benefiting as a result!

    • katechiconi says:

      There has to be an upside, right? I’m in the same boat after cancer/chemo, but I don’t normally let it hold me back much. In this instance, though, I think I’ll pass.

  13. modflowers says:

    Thank you for a sane and sensible post amidst all the madness. Things here in the UK are probably a week or two ahead of you in Oz, (judging by the news, your post and my sister’s phone call info).
    People here are still trying to bulk buy, food is getting scarcer, shops are pretty much shut for the foreseeable future unless they sell food. And yet there are people treating it as a holiday and flocking to beauty spots and beaches, gathering in hordes.
    I feel I should be blogging and being creative and all that, but at the moment I am sort of hunkered down with the family, trying to maintain normality whilst feeling a bit panicky inside as to how much worse this will all get before it’s over. Hopefully I’ll get a grip soon and be able to be more like my normal self.

    • katechiconi says:

      It’s siege mentality, and the independent mind rebelling against it. I understand it, I just wish they’d control the urge to *get out* for their own sakes as well as mine. Hunkering down is completely understandable, and at some point your mind too will ‘get a grip’, as you say, and you’ll look up and realise a degree of normality is possible. The show will go on, it’s just going to be the condensed version!

  14. Jule says:

    Germany has shut down as well. Last Monday schools went into Easter holidays two weeks early, emergency care at kindergartens has been arrangend for. Most of the shops are closed except for essentials. Permission to go out is limited (two people per group, with exceptions), but I can still go grocery shopping or for a walk. Hoping there will be a solution for the tp crisis very soon, I’m running out of stock. (Sorry, I’m not considering your solution.)
    Business as usual at The Boudoir, with some extra time to spend on crafting for lack of appointments or events. I never went out a lot anyway, so no problem keeping my own company. Dave the Muse is supplying ideas, ready to smash every single virus with his baseball bat.

  15. Dayphoto says:

    HEAR! HEAR! A standing ovation…well, written, my friend.

  16. Kate, you’ll keep us all sane. Thank you! This is beautifully written (and I laughed at a few parts too, mostly comments). I don’t image you suffer fools much, and I can imagine you letting someone know they should behave themselves. Seeing grocery clerks take the brunt is unconscionable. I’m searching out the positives when I can. It really helps.

  17. Sharon says:

    Echo all of the sentiments already written. We are a few weeks ahead in closing it all down. In Washington state, one of the top 3 here affected ~ keeping busy and been sewing masks for anyone needing them. Creativity, kindness and positivity are the key words through this. Hugs

    • katechiconi says:

      I’ve made a few masks too… There are those who feel that only ‘approved’ PPE should be worn, and then you read the stories from out of the UK and Italy, when supplies ran out weeks ago, and you realise that for them, anything is better than nothing and maybe those masks you made will be needed. The CDC directives have said that lacking the correct equipment, home made masks are better than no mask, and recent research has indicated that they are 50% as effective as correct PPE. Which is a whole lot better than not effective at all.

  18. anne54 says:

    Heartily agree with you Kate (no surprise there!). Let me add another dimension…..I am thinking that creativity is one of the main things that will get us through this. We need to find creative solutions to the dire problems we are facing, on an individual, national and indeed global level. I think the key creative question is ‘what if….?’ What if we 3D printed ventilators? What if we took up your solution for lack of toilet paper? If we can’t do it this way, what if we tried that? What if we worked from home? If they can’t do the Comedy Festival, what if comedians sold tickets to online gigs and did live streaming for paying audience? The old ways are being severely disrupted and we are having to come up with creative solutions. ~ hugs~

    • katechiconi says:

      We humans are endlessly creative and adaptable. I’m sure we can come up with solutions, it’s getting them implemented that I think will cause trouble! But perhaps I’m being too cynical, and post-corona, people will be more willing to listen to more off-beat solutions 🙂

  19. Joanne S says:

    Well said. Yes to creativity!

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