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.