Things are starting to ease a bit. There are cars in the street (oh joy, oh rapture) and most shops are open. I don’t think the birds, who have become my lovely and steady companions, like this. I saw a distinctly pissed off dove surveying a small traffic jam earlier.
You think you’ve cracked open your cell door and are finally out, only to realize the door opens into a wider cell. People are walking around in their sports clothes with expressions that range from dismay to dulled indifference. I’ve never seen so many track suits in my life. I’ve also never seen so many living room angles revealed by one magic virtual instrument or another. I’ve become so familiar with the look of some friends’ sofas I feel like I’ve been sitting on them all my life. The sofas, not the friends. I know their mugs and their lamps and their slippers and I worry if the fridge magnet in the background is missing. Oh no, whatever happened to your Greek island?
In more interesting news, I’ve been reading Daniel Defoe’s Journal of the Plague Year. I’m astounded at how little has changed in 400 years. The Lord Mayor’s orders in 1665 are as clear and detailed as the press briefing by the French Minister of Health the other day. Content wise, not much is different. Look:
‘That all plays, bear-baitings, games, singing of ballads, buckler-play, or such-like causes of assemblies of people be utterly prohibited, and the parties offending severely punished by every alderman in his ward.
‘That all public feasting, and particularly by the companies of this city, and dinners at taverns, ale-houses, and other places of common entertainment, be forborne till further order and allowance; and that the money thereby spared be preserved and employed for the benefit and relief of the poor visited with the infection.
‘That disorderly tippling in taverns, ale-houses, coffee-houses, and cellars be severely looked unto, as the common sin of this time and greatest occasion of dispersing the plague.
I wonder if I’ll miss all this once we are out and we can once again go to tippling houses and attend singings of ballads.
Will I look back fondly on all the times I stared at my wall in wonderful peace and quiet? Will I think oh give me back those bra-less times, will you God of all things elastic? Entirely possible.