Heaven or Hell?

Or somewhere in between?

As I write this, we are a day away (in the UK) from further easing of lockdown measures, when we will be able to go for a meal indoors, mix with other households, go to the cinema, theatre and other events, and start to get back to some sort of normality—as is the chosen phrase. But do you want to, dear reader? Or, like me, will you be taking things slow?

I live on my own, have no partner, and work for myself; everything is reliant on me, including my two cats—Jasmine and Texas. I have spent the last year following the rules, doing what I’ve been asked, wearing my mask, keeping my distance, and accepting the vaccination; all because I believe in doing my bit, doing what’s needed for the good of all.

I am not naïve enough to believe I know (or can get hold of) all the knowledge, information, and facts, as I am NOT a scientist, advisor, or specialist, and so will NEVER know the reality of it all and so, rightly or wrongly, I trust in the powers that be. I also have consideration and respect for other people. I know people who have been hit by this virus, so I know it is real, with far-reaching consequences for the future.

I also know that not everyone feels or has behaved the same as me, so why, after being so careful over the last year, would I throw it all away by rushing out and resuming the life I had before the pandemic? The short answer is I wouldn’t, and I won’t.

I have always had a love of the arts; my diary filled to bursting with concerts, theatre trips, and cinema visits. My view of all the things I held so dear, though, has changed during the pandemic. The thought of being amongst thousands of people who may or may not have done as they’ve been asked fills me with horror. I would be risking my entire livelihood for that concert, show, or opening night movie, and that is a risk I am not willing to take, not for a very long time.

That’s not to say I won’t take tentative steps; these are some of the things that nourish my soul, after all. I will venture back to a socially distanced cinema, but it will be during the day when fewer people are likely to be there. To be honest, I’ve always preferred an empty cinema, as there is nothing to distract me from what I have come for—to see the movie!

Another tentative step I will take is to go for a meal with a friend (or several meals, as I have more than one friend!) provided, of course, that friend has followed the rules and has or is going to be vaccinated. For the rest, it will be al fresco, with masks!

One of my other great loves is travelling. The world is such a big and beautiful place and whilst I have been lucky enough to see a great deal of it, there is still so much I want to see. When I will get on a plane again is another matter. To be in an even more confined space with people I don’t know, with no way out, is a situation I have no desire to be in. For me, vaccination passports are the way to go. Even then, until the world gets this virus under control, I am in no rush to travel.

The last year has taught me many things, including the fragility of life, the value of good friends and family, and how everything I need I already have inside myself. I have learned the sheer pleasure of solitude and reclaimed past-times I’d let slide due to the hectic pace of my life. I have nurtured my garden into my private oasis, and I have discovered the best creative space within my home. I have no desire to leave any of this behind, so for me it is about finding a balance.

Some people have accused me of being afraid of the virus. I’m not. I respect it. What I am afraid of is those who refuse to see what’s staring them in the face.

As a horror writer, I choose the analogy of the zombie apocalypse, with those who refuse to accept what is, staring at the zombie chewing on their arm and saying, “It’s not real”.

In answer to my question though, dear reader, the lifting of lockdown is, for me, somewhere in between.

’Til next time,