Yesterday I donated over half my stimulus check to support the protestors, refreshed my memory about things to do not on the frontlines, wrote my MP, and felt a little better. I can’t do much but I did something.
Total sleep failure last night: scrolled and scrolled and fed my outrage and pain until 3 AM instead of reserving my strength to fight, to fight hard, in the ways that I can. Destroying my peace of mind does not end the struggles of those currently protesting. I need a better plan. Oh dear–sore throat? I hope from allergies and exhaustion. A strange hope but here we are. I’m full of anger at the government here going against its own scientific advice, let alone what the WHO says. The USA is no longer a country I recognize–or rather I do and this is exactly where I thought this would end up going all along. Terrifying and awful for everyone. And it’s going to be worse than anything they’ve planned or imagined and the rigidity about going ahead with Brexit despite the offers of yet another extension due to exceptional circumstances are, I believe, in the end not even going to profit the wealthy all that much. They’ve built fortresses of money but the systems they rely on are falling apart without people to run them. I hated reading ‘Atlas Shrugged’ but those scenes where even the rich couldn’t find restaurants or clubs to meet in because the world is grinding to a halt, that’s where we’re going. I remember the once-great mansions of Cairo and the concrete roads they built right next to them, their faded glory with the light blocked by the hulking monstrosity mere inches from the windows. Thoughtless growth, and descent from a locus of power to a once-great city fuelled by nostalgia. I can picture the same highway running along the Strand, choking the Palace of Justice and all the old newspaper offices. Hemming in the church and swallowing up Bush House and India House and Australia House. Fading, fading. All because we were not able to incorporate many voices and live pluralistically. To lift all up equally. Today has tasks in it but first and foremost must be doing the right thing: donating. A renewal of spirit is important today. I need resilience for the coming weeks and months.
Turned out my early meeting was THIS morning, not yesterday. I’m sleepy and feeling trapped in the house–I didn’t go for a walk until 10 PM because it was so busy earlier in the day and evening and even then it was still crowded around Wapping. The narrow pathway towards King Edward Memorial Park was full of other walkers and cyclists even in the dark. A group of youths were congregating around a motorbike on the pathway around Shadwell Basin in the corner where those little houses are and there wasn’t nearly enough room to pass them. I started down the alley for Pelican Stairs to have a walk on the shore but it was too dark and I was afraid of getting trapped down there by someone.
Watched “Contagion.” They got a lot right but a lot wrong also–they missed the volunteers and helpers and people rallying together. It’s not all mobs looting the stores. There was also an assumption that once a supply chain was broken it couldn’t come back, which so far has been false. So busy out yesterday I decided not to go to South Bank–looked lovely in the photos Irene sent but there was no way to get there safely. They’re going to start reopening things in June–I think this is a terrible idea. I think they’re heading for a second wave. But it’s the autumn I’m worried about.
Picnic yesterday was a success! Really felt like a picnic. I set up a little nest of pillows and blankets on the balcony and had my cheap rosé and my chicken salad and bean dip with veg and brownies… Really festive. Cora complimented me on coming up with innovative hosting formats that don’t feel like sitting around talking like a work meeting. That felt nice. A little more research on the Edinburgh front–I can’t tell if we’d be allowed to move or not. The guidance is unclear. I haven’t really properly looked at outside London either. Commuter belt. But I want to be far enough away not to commute. I don’t want to get back on the tube until there’s a vaccine, which is at least a year away. Christmas is going to be hard–I don’t feel I can go to my parents’ house because I don’t want to endanger them and I don’t know if I could get back. I wonder how many people on repatriation flights have gotten ill. International travel isn’t going to be the same until there’s a vaccine, I think.
Helicopters. Helicopters after midnight again. Has it been every night this week or does it just feel like it? I’ll check the Helicopter Circling map. That Twitter bot has at least saved my sanity as I look at where the helicopters are even if we have no idea what they’re doing. Citymapper’s traffic dashboard tells me the amount of people moving around has increased steadily, we’re at 15% of last year’s capacity at this time compared to 13% last week and 9% the week before. Now that a second minister has flouted the lockdown rules it’s only going to get worse. They’re going to need all the spare hospital capacity they shut down.
Irene invited me to meet her and Philias on the South Bank but I’m anxious about people not following social distancing rules on narrow pathways. I’ve started extending an arm when people run past me too close or when people are approaching from the opposite direction on a narrow walkway. That makes me feel more in control but also likelier to spur conflict. Village life seems more and more appealing. But only if I can continue virtual socials with distant pals–if everyone else goes back to in-person gatherings and I’m out there on my own I will be really lonely. I could just take up online gaming and make friends that way. Or stay in the city and give up on distancing. But that still leaves The Highway (fixable by moving to another part of London) and the helicopters (no fix in London.)
Helicopters galore last night: two Chinooks while we were playing board games, one ordinary copter, one later at night circling and circling and circling.
Yesterday was hot–Shadwell Basin collected its usual round of swimmers. Tower Hamlets Police have been more active patrolling the pathways and telling off swimmers and barbecue people but they can’t stop the inevitable tide of summer. I keep cooking and cooking to feel a sense of control and accomplishment but I can’t eat everything I make–it’s too much. Need better balance. How will I find it?
My employer’s marketing team has forbidden us from using the word ‘pandemic’ even in our social media handles and I’m fuming. Using metaphorical language and allusions to speak about the plain bare facts helps no one be accurate or form the right size of the problem. And they’re really overstepping by encompassing our private writing as well–who do they think they are? They own my time but not myself.