Becky says things about … social distancing

Greetings isolators!

Are we all having fun? Isolating like a pro? Cruising through week 6 like a socially distanced winner? Unfathomably and bafflingly relieved that the weather has turned to shite?

So this week I thought I’d actually do something useful and put together a collection of guidelines on how to social distance in the correct and most effective way. Having been doing it for several weeks now, I feel equipped to impart my knowledge and experience to ensure that we’re all on the same page. (Well, obviously not all on the same page, that would be a heinous violation of social distancing rules; strictly one person per page, or even every other page (or some in a separate book altogether, just to be on the safe side)).

Guideline 1 – Queue. Everywhere. Anywhere.

If you need to go into a shop, queue. If there is already a definable queue in place, join it. If there is an ambiguous queue, join it. If there is no queue, start one.

To demonstrate this guideline, I shall provide you with a helpful example of my own experience.

Last week I approached the local Co-op. There was a lone man standing slightly to the left of the door. I stood two metres behind him. A few seconds passed. The man turned round to me and said ‘Oh, I’m not actually queueing.’ Fine. At that moment, another man approached the shop door from the other direction and loitered by the cash point in the wall, so I went and stood two metres behind him. The man turned to me and said ‘Oh, I’m actually only here to use the cash point.’

Whilst this does not demonstrate the most successful queuing attempt, it demonstrates the intent to queue. You should always intend to stand behind someone or something for a short period before entering a shop.

Because do you really want to take the risk of just strolling gung-ho into a shop without being 110% certain that there is no queue?

Guideline 2 – Become a contortionist 

If someone is standing near an item that you want in a shop, instead of asking them politely to move whilst you socially distancely reach for said item, you must contort your body into the most inventive shape possible in order to a) collect the item without disturbing the other person, and b) keep your face as far as possible from the other person whilst still being able to reach your item.

This works best if there are several socially distancing people who desire items from the same area of the shop.

Guideline 3 – Perform the Social Distance Waltz 

If you suddenly come face-to-face with someone and realise that you have unwittingly entered the infested, germy, virusy, antisocially-distancey inner sanctum of within two metres of each other, you must both perform the sweeping Social Distance Waltz (or SDW, if you will) and gallop around each other whilst both apologising profusely and chuckling in acknowledgement of the mutual absurdity of the situation (see diagram below).

NB. It is crucial that everyone performs the Social Distance Waltz in a clockwise manner, otherwise the manoeuvre can become lethal.

Guideline 4 – React Appropriately to Enemies of Social Distancing (ESDs) 

If someone infiltrates your two metre radius, please see the below options as helpful examples on how to respond, with thanks to various pals for imparting this guidance from their own experience.

Option 1 – Mind-bending over-reaction 

Option 2 – Sarcasm

Option 3 – Passive aggression 

Guideline 5 – Don’t be afraid to take things up a level 

You can never be too distanced, and I admire those who are taking their social distancing seriously. The other day I was walking along a deserted pavement. This pavement was wide and had an equally wide grass verge. One could comfortably socially distance in a crisis. A middle-aged lady appeared on the pavement about 100 feet in front of me. I  moved onto the grass verge, but she crossed the road. Fair enough, I thought – but instead of continuing her journey on the other pavement, she simply stood, quite irately, on the opposite pavement and scowled at me as I passed. Once I had passed, I looked back and she’d crossed back over the road. Not only is this an admirable example of top-level social distancing, but it got her message across loud and clear.

I hope that these guidelines have been helpful and will assist you in making some quality social distancing decisions.

You                                      are                                        welcome.

 

 

 

 

Becky says things about … losing it in lockdown

Greetings isolators!

IT’S FRIDAY!!! Quick, get out the party poppers and the party hats woooooo.

Put your hands up if you lost it to the Week 3 Wobble last week?

MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE.

The Week 3 Wobble was borne from the following factors:

  •  By Week 3 I realised I’d completed most of the time-consuming activities I’d planned to keep myself busy (cleaned the blinds with a toothbrush, arranged my tinned food alphabetically, took all my books out of the bookcase, set aside one for the charity shop, put them all back in a slightly different order etc.)
  • By Week 3 the last dribs and drabs of work had fallen away completely
  • By Week 3 the novelty of having all this time and of being able to hear the birds and smell the flowers and see the sky bla bla bla had worn off
  • I suddenly remembered why we’re in lockdown.

And all of these factors clicked into place at exactly the same time, setting off an uncontrolled snowballing of doomish truths: suddenly my friends and family seemed very far away and I realised I was utterly desperate for human contact of any form –

– the prospect of another evening in my tiny flat was suddenly grim; the pressure of relying solely on my own motivation to keep myself occupied became suddenly overwhelming, and the fear of this virus as the deaths ceaselessly climbed to eye-watering and devastating numbers became suddenly acute and terrifying, and all of the above exploded in the Week 3 Wobble that manifested itself in a brief but fairly intense meltdown on the floor of my flat.

But having spoken to several chums, it would appear that many of them also lost it to the Week 3 Wobble, as the adrenaline of the novelty of the first two weeks subsided and stored-up feelings of frustration, despair and fear managed to break through the sunshine and blue skies and remind us all that

THIS IS DEFINITELY NOT NORMAL.

And whilst I feel much better this week, this lockdown is definitely starting to take its toll.

For example, I appear to be losing my ability to communicate with real-life human beings in a face-to-face manner. A few days ago I approached Sainsbury’s, and there was no one queuing outside but it looked fairly busy inside, so I stood behind the queueing barrier like a responsible socially-distanced-aware citizen and waited to be admitted.

Whereupon a woman strode right past me and through the doors.

Now, in my head the words that subsequently came out of my mouth – ‘Excuse me, I’m queuing here’ – were supposed to be uttered in a polite and gentle tone, something that sounded like:

Instead, due perhaps to this strange and unpractised form of face-to-face communication with a human being who isn’t on the other end of Zoom or Skype or WhatsApp, the words ‘Excuse me, I’m queueing here’ actually came out in a tone that may as well have said:

I immediately felt AWFUL about my aggressive tone, made worse by the fact that the woman immediately and profusely and so incredibly politely apologised and hurried to stand behind me, and explained so apologetically that this was the first time she’d been out in four weeks and she didn’t know the rules of shopping and she was terribly sorry, and I felt SO bad at my unwarranted outburst that I spent the next five minutes orchestrating a desperately friendly conversation, and by the time I was admitted into the sanctuary of Sainsbury’s I knew where she’d met her husband, the middle names of her four children, and her bra size.

This was not the only queue-related momentary loss of civility I have had.

Is anyone else noticing that, whilst there are many examples of some first-class queues forming outside supermarkets, there are also plenty of examples of absolute queuing abominations?

An example, for your delectation: outside the post office earlier this week, there was a smattering of people loitering on the pavement in a manner that can only be described as willy-nilly.

This is a bird’s-eye demonstration of what they should have looked like:

This is a bird’s eye view of what they actually looked like:

It’s as though the social distancing measures are weakening the gravitational pull of the person in front, and queuers are going spinning off into the Deep Space of the pavement like wayward space badgers – and because this ‘queue’ looked so slapdash, shoddy and slipshod, I asked one of the dawdlers, ‘Excuse me, is this the queue?’

His response was an unfriendly ‘Well we’re not standing here for the fun of it.’

At which point I again forgot the fact that I am actually a very placid person, and drew my sword, drove it through his heart and screamed in his face:

Well, I didn’t actually slay him, but I did say most of those words in an extremely murderous tone, the ignorant queue-disrespecting dick.

Happily, I’m not the only one who has had instances of losing it in lockdown.

A very good friend of mine told me the heart-warming story of her pushing her baby through a park the other day when, and I quote, ‘an egg-faced ham of a man and his smug-nosed pierced twat of a daughter’ approached up the path behind her, encroaching on the sacred two-metre realm around my chum, and she was forced to move the buggy out of the way while they heinously brushed past her, causing her to experience a solid gold loss of all decorum and scream after them:

After which she burst into tears.

So I don’t feel so bad about my public outbursts, I’m sure we’ll all lose it during lockdown and say and do things we don’t mean at some point, won’t we? You snivelling bunch of toads.

 

Stay healthy, stay home and look after each other xx