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Tuesday, 26 May 2020

Plague: Bittersweet benefits

Don’t get me wrong: the Plague has been, is, and will be a nightmare. People I’ve valued have died, the world’s potential shrunk, the cost horrific. But…

Online grocery shopping: At first it was a scramble to book delivery slots. Now it's routine. I may never visit Tesco again.

Cold calls/scams on landline phone: Disappeared.

Glyndebourne Opera Festival: Swanky, expensive, exclusive. We'd been twice, at others' expense. This year we may watch Mozart's three greatest operas (Figaro, Don G., Cosi) in matchless performances, at any time of our choosing, lolling in our living room FOR FREE. Under normal circumstances, given the degree of comfort we will enjoy, this would have cost £900 plus three 400-mile round trips by car. A donation seemed in order.

Hay Festival: Three weeks of wide-ranging cultural experience (Science, philosophy, literature, politics, what-have-you) is online FOR FREE. But this is sadder. Hay is nearby and had become an annual social delight with two friends from London and grandson Ian. A donation seemed mandatory.

Local friendship: We are not normally sociable; our interests are not outgoing. In the weeks of lockdown I've said more hellos to people living on our estate than in the whole of the last twenty years.

Local generosity: Despite our surliness two neighbours have regularly done unforeseen ad hoc shopping for us. Reducing the Plague risks of shopping in person, given we are both in our eighties.

Family integration: Regularly, each week, three elements of our family (living 24 miles, 64 miles and 170 miles away from Hereford) foregather on Skype for meaningless chat. Except it isn't meaningless.

Singing lessons: On Skype. Even more intense than in V's living room. V's eyes bore in, critically. And ears, if ears can bore in.

10 comments:

  1. There really are some lovely "side effects" of this pandemic. The kindness of neighbors who ask us to please let them know if we need anything from the market; the strangers on the local streets or local trails that all very agreeably give us 6 feet of social distancing; the way all the shoppers and staff agreeably wear masks and smile all the time with their eyes.

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    1. robin andrea: We don't visit the supermarket in person because of our age. But we do exhange a voucher for the newspaper at the supermarket filling station. A real friendship is developing with the women who work there. I told them I would recommend the supermarket pay them more because of their cheerfulness. They laughed - cheerfully

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  2. Your Positive effects of Pandemic are Uplifting, there are some benefits. I'm glad you felt compelled to make Donations, I fear so many wonderful venues won't survive otherwise.

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    1. Bohemian: Disregarding any emotional concerns, the sheer value of what we are receiving from Hay and Glyndebourne is astonishing. So far a terrific inside view of reporting the Trump White House by the BBC's special correspondent (at Hay), and a splendiferous Figaro (at Glyndebourne).

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  3. Those really are some positive side effects of "the plague." I also like the online grocery (and alcohol) shopping. But it is an extra cost what with fees and tipping the delivery people, so I will likely go back into the stores eventually. Alone. My husband hates shopping and I like taking a good long time.

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    1. Note how I started out nearly the same as robin did. I didn't mean to.

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    2. Colette: You were right to include alcohol; where would be without it? Sober and that's no state in which to face the Plague. We don't tip the delivery drivers, it's not expected. And the delivery charge is a mere £4 ($4.92). Spending a long time at Tesco? I already feel I've spent half a liftetime there, pre-Plague

      In writing, always distrust your first instincts when starting a piece. The next (considered) thought is likely to be better

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  4. What a lovely list! I've only been semi-quarantined, as I have a husband and son at the hospital most days, and I've been rather sad to have yet another book come out during a major disaster, but I do see that some good things are coming out of this strange time. I miss my volunteering--nobody wants someone with hospital connections--but have enjoyed new online collaborative projects.

    My main worry is my mother, 91 and 900 miles away. How to get there without worry of infecting her... My fantasy is that I have antibodies when they get around to testing ordinary people. Then I would be less concerned about the nasty possibility of making her ill. It might be possible--I was sick after I flew back from LAX in early March...

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  5. Marly: Now you really have emotional and moral problems; I sympathise. And problems of extreme distance. An advisor to our prime minister - generally hated by all and sundry - is now in the frying pan for giving in to a combination of circumstances very similar to the ones you outline. Suggesting there's one law for the elite and another for the common herd. Were you ill from covid-19 on the flight back from LA? That, ironically, is good news, as you suggest.

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