I have been reluctant to write about the pandemic – COVID19/ Coronavirus for a few reasons but mainly because I am so deeply blessed to be minimally impacted – so far. It is just wrenching to witness by media the deaths, family separation and the lines of the unemployed. I’ve had access through my literary hub to brilliant and beautifully crafted essays which delve into, through and beyond this insidious virus more eloquently than I could achieve. Writers – may we always, always have our writers.
For legacy then – this is our ‘Corona’ experience. There are just the two of us at home, three if you count the border collie. Retired now for several years, there were no job losses and the contract that my husband is leading continues with creative work practices and travel postponed. We live on a lake and waterway where we can kayak for kilometres and have the beauty of a wide and calming outlook.
Our beautiful beaches did not close for exercise purposes and as we are an easy bicycle ride, walk or four minute car ride – we have been reminded by emerging from the gym to more frequently enjoy our stunning pocket of our lovely coastal region. We did not lose access to fishing – nor did we catch a single fish! Our stand up paddles take us out on the passage under blue skies. Music plays in our home and the television is off. With the means for good technology we have stayed in contact with our families with the chats, the birthday hook ups, kitten catch up antics (our son and fiancee fostered a mother cat and five kittens) and some creative game playing – as such, some of these new connections are certain to remain as our little family and the extended one are spread across the country.
Some days were flop and Netflix saturation but these were minimal and always followed by a recharge of exercise, cooking, maintenance and e-learning opportunities. I had my first Zoom meeting on Friday with the Qld Hospital Foundation for which I shall be copywriting. I have managed to log into my Spanish nearly every day. A patron opportunity has progressed and is to be made official in May. When we come out of this and can get back to the new normal, whatever that might be, it will be satisfying to have not squandered this time of pause.
We followed the rules – all of them. We are still following the rules. For two months we have ventured only to our local walks, beaches and the community supermarket for essentials and have never stopped appreciating that we have such a privilege to do so compared to our global peers.
I have been impressed witnessing the agility of business and individuals to respond to the new concept of social distancing and contactless vendor exchange. In our patch the overall reaction was compliancy and politeness. Our area in no manner reflected the atrocious public behaviours in shopping venues and the urban spaces of larger cities, the ugly viewing broadcast on the news. We did, stupidly – fall prey to the toilet paper hoarders which ironically turned full circle when dedicated ‘senior’ shopping hours allowed elders to buy up the replenished stock for their children! This did go on for a few weeks before easing to the common sense understanding that there was no need to bulk up on loo paper.
Annie lost her job when the business closed. She is currently exploring options for post pandemic life which might include postgraduate studies. Her partner Jake, has never been busier in the family businesses of pet care and building. Alexandria is working from home with a suit jacket handy for zoom moments and is not missing the commute. She has found her kitchen access to cook delicious healthy lunches a welcome bonus and the added time to take walks, pleasurable. Her husband Greg is likewise working from home and with the drop in temperature in our southern states – it’s not exactly all bad! Our son’s laboratory has strict protocols and when he is on the wards of the hospital, he likens it to scenes from sci-fiction movies with the protective gear and face shields – once odd, now routine. His fiancee Heidi has been teaching on line, with reduced classes on campus and is presently preparing for the return of all students in the near weeks. Collectively our young ones have had personal travel and arrangements cancelled or impacted, taken some financial losses but have carried on – not only without complaint, they have adhered to the new norm and just got on with it.
Of course it is not a fairytale here in Australia. People died – sooner than they might have. Families were separated during loss. Jobs and businesses gone – some just started. Our economy will have a long road to some type of recovery where mass unemployment and reliance on welfare via borrowed funds subsides to more robust times of employment opportunity and future promise – especially for our young Australians.
We are part of a global community dealing with the world wide virus of 2020 – COVID19. There are many more questions and unknowns to be navigated. This curve we must ride together has been and will continue to be excruciating, unwanted but humbling. In our home we have made time for reflection, to be thankful and to acknowledge the pure good fortune to be Australian, to start each day with the luxury to have a simple goal, to be nice.