Virtual is the Emperor’s New Clothes

Virtual is the Emperor’s New Clothes. Look, people said, we can switch to being contactless creatures living our interactions through screens 24-7 and getting everything delivered. Like we are all living in an episode of Black Mirror. There was an element of novelty at first, if you could turn your thoughts away from mass suffering and death for a little while, but I’m bored of pretending virtual works to sustain me. It doesn’t. It isn’t. It’s a Band Aid. The fact is, yes, it’s ‘better than nothing’ – but it’s still shit.

I’m so fucking bored of being a hamster in a giant wheel going round and round. I haven’t been out to exercise the past few days because it’s the same route. Always. It can never change under the restrictions. Sure, I can take a little detour up some side streets but, jeez, I could draw you a street map of my area from memory now. And here in the UK we have another month, maybe two, of doing the same shit every single day. I cannot be the only one who hasn’t decided to go study Nuclear Physics when this is over, if it ever is. Or taken up yoga. Or found new joy in baking pies and learning to knit. While some pump out the message that they’ve discovered the joy of community, millions are isolated and lonely and getting more fucked up with each passing day.

Do the scientists advising how we need to be confined and controlled to curb Covid-19 have even the slightest fucking clue about the effects on people of their suggestions? Do they know anything of any society, any civilisation, at any point in human history? I’m not saying they’re wrong about how to tackle the virus – they’re not – but they’ve got to factor in the impact of lockdown on the human psyche, and find ways to mitigate and assist us to get through this. Instead, we get parks and green spaces closing; talk of further restrictions, curfews; bans on even standing on your own front doorstep. Go harder, go faster, be more brutal.

No. The virus is a killer and it makes people very sick but we have to be able to live, and public backing for lockdown will start to splinter the longer it goes on for.

Right now, getting in bed and staying there, screaming into the silence, that appeals to me greatly. Maybe I’ll wake tomorrow and I’ll have gotten over the dark cloud that was there when I woke up today. I really hope so. Perhaps I can wake up as a Stetford Gay and spend days blending new pasta sauces for shits and fucking giggles.

I might wake up tomorrow feeling like I’m me again and not horribly lost in a slowly unfolding apocalypse. I doubt it though.

God help you when you go onto social media without your pom-poms, and don’t praise our glorious leaders for their sterling work in fucking up on protective gear. Overnight for some, the biggest cunts in politics have been transformed into Holy Men, blameless and courageous heroes. Call them out, you’ll get told you’re bitter and need to “look for the fun”.

Yeah, the fun. There’s a silver lining to this global plague and it’s my failing that I’m just not seeing it. Stand behind your leaders instead, and don’t criticise them while people are dying as a direct consequence of the decisions men like Johnson and Trump have made.

I’m doing everything ‘right’. I’m not breaching lockdown. I maintain the hideously-named ‘social distancing’. I will not pretend I’ve grown to love it, though; I won’t see new opportunities in this shitshow. The world we knew is gone and what’s next, whenever this virus goes, will be tough – but at least we’ll be living as humans again, albeit in a broken, bankrupted world. Our species has done it before. It can do it again. But if you’re alive through the end of this, you’re never going to forget 2020. The year that got written off.

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