Even those of us relatively unscathed by covid-19 are feeling its impacts in probably a greater way than we thought we would. I have written at length about the weird feeling of having had a front row seat, but behind plate glass, during Lockdown 1 and subsequent lockdowns, fortunate not to be putting myself in physical danger whilst being an eye witness to the carnage, despair, and sheer scale of the disaster in the UK. At the time, I thought it had left me relatively psychologically untouched – as in I was angry and sad and appalled at the way the British government mismanaged the crisis from the starts and let innumerable people die unnecessarily, but I didn’t detect a significant amount of fear in my mind because I was (we were) being extremely cautious and taking all lockdowns very seriously indeed. It was only during Lockdown 3 that I started to get an inkling of the fact that actually my head was all over the place because of it, that there was a deep-seated fear deep down which I can now tell I will struggle to get rid of, possibly for the rest of my life. Some people I’ve spoken with have this sense of agoraphobia, don’t want to leave their houses, don’t want social interaction in public (or private) spaces, because they (and I) have unlearned the ease with which we used to co-exist with people. I think that’s part of the reason I am now so nervous about going away, although I know we’re taking all possible precautions.
Life has changed immeasurably in the last two and a half years, and it will never be the same, not in my life-time anyway, even if I do live to be the hale and hearty 125-year-old I want to be (not that it feels like I will this morning in my exhausted head). And I have to remind myself that I’m one of the lucky ones, that I didn’t have to work on the front-lines, that I am not on the poverty line right now because of Brexit, because of C19, because of the cost-of-living crisis (which one of my favourite people on twitter calls the cost-of-Conservatives crisis), that I am not facing financial and physical existential crises, and that I am blessed to be who I am and where I am. It doesn’t change the rage though, and nor does it alleviate the fear right now. Breathe. My biggest struggle all my life has been the desire to be rational whilst being the most irrational and visceral person I know.
Two hours until we leave. Ten hours till we get there. I know it will be hot there, and I crave the heat, and I crave the lazy hours sitting in the shade reading new books. And I had the brainwave yesterday of converting The Mortality Code to pdf and loading it onto my Kindle so that I don’t need to take a printed partial ms with me. I’ve got three small bank notebooks in a leather binding to scribble into when I get there. Maybe I’ll finish it in the next two weeks. Maybe I won’t. I finished Tettig’s Jewels long-hand when we were in Brittany decades ago, on the back of a dream. I will get on the aeroplane later, and sleep and dream myself through the four hours of the flight, and perhaps it will be finished in my head by the time we get to where we’re going.
AGGIE’S ART OF HAPPINESS – CHAPTER 126