Posts Tagged ‘Self-Isolation’

Week #32 of Shielding from Covid-19

October 20, 2020

I understand that the English government now requires me to think of myself as ‘shielding‘. The term ”Self-Isolation’ is to be deployed only in cases where symptoms of Covid-19 exist. I don’t like the term ‘shielding‘. It conjures up the image of knights in shining armour. Incidentally, when I first heard the hit song ‘Nights in White Satin‘ by The Moody Blues (circa 1967), the image of ‘knights’ in white satin came to mind. Having made this step I was irrevocably drawn to the conclusion that, at a deep level, the song was somehow about contraception. From that moment on, I couldn’t help laughing whenever I heard it or, even worse, heard it playing in my head. Thus folk would stare at me quizzically when, in social situations, my face betrayed amusement; this was especially the case where things were otherwise serious and demanded a certain measure of gravitas.

Be that as it may [and what a handy literarary gobbet that is for bloggers manqué], I shall retain the TLA (Three Letter Acronym) of VSI for what I call Voluntary Self-Isolation. VSI is laden with meaning and has every right to be regarded as a phrase of the highest rank within the pale of the Covid-19 language game (thank you, Mr. Wittgenstein).

I am pissed off with the October update Microsoft recently imposed on Windows 10 users. I am now unable to use my Wacom tablet for my digital graphics drawing either on my desktop PC or on my laptop. Furthermore, I think it is more than a coincidence that my PC now seldom completes its start-up procedure. Sometimes it takes me around 15-20 minutes dancing on the starter button. Occasionally it almost starts, only to freeze at the last moment. I have devined no logical rule to the start presses that will guarantee success.

I am pissed off with Steinberg, the company that makes the CUBASE digital audio workstation software. They did an update about 6 months ago and my program has stopped working properly. I can no longer use the music notation part of the package to compose my song tunes and arrangements. I put in a ticket and all I have got back from them is an email telling me that they have been inundated with queries.

One way or another I have been feeling very fed-up lately. However, it seems to me that being fed up is something that is best kept to oneself in these times of VSI. Other people really do not want to know about it, especially if they are higher in the entitlement to fed-upness rank order. Perhaps one should self apply the hackneyed addage: ‘suck it up, buttercup’. By the way, I believe ‘buttercup’ does bugger-all here, other than to provide a rhyme to the preceding phrase; it is an example of lyrical laziness.

Fed-upness should perhaps be recast as ‘feduppity’. Perhaps one has to possess the right to express feelings of fed-upness. So, this particular emotion should not only be distinguished from that of depression but also admitted to the domain of ethics. Let me proclaim:
Feelings of fed-upness may only be expressed by those possessing the right to such expression, within the given time and place of the situation.

Alone and out of earshot anything can be said, howled or shouted in whatever manner gives satisfaction. Examples of ideal locations abound: alone on a beach (with an off-shore wind prevailing); alone while driving one’s car (with windows shut) on an empty highway; to oneself within the privacy of one’s own mind ~ anywhere you like. Lest the latter example provide the reader with an ideal get out, one must remember that in such situations the individual may become so caught up in the process that his or her caterwauling might inadvertently slip out into public domain. Anyway, my point is that a person in solitude has the right to express fed-upness.

Within small social groups (such as the conventional family or, perhaps, a small platoon in the army), there may be a pecking order in terms of the right to express fed-upness. Particular individuals may collar this right for their own exclusive use. If they do this without good reason they risk the chance that they will be automatically defined as the local moaner in situ. In other words, there is a correlation between one’s rank in the pecking order to express fed-upness and the likelihood of being crowned the King/Queen Moaner in situ. It may be noted that the person occupying Rank #1 in Feduppityness cannot avoid the Moaner crown; it comes with the territory.

Of course, where the members of the small group are dispersed separately across a variety of other groups on a day-to-day basis, the impact of any one of these groups will be diluted in proportion to its general importance. The implications of this for the Covid-19 situation hardly need to be spelled out. Under VSI/Shielding virtually all face-to-face social interaction takes place within the household bubble. My analysis is therefore highly pertinent to those inhabiting bubbles of this nature.

I now move on to say a few words about individuals who might habitually fall to the bottom of the Feduppity rank order. Indeed, they may even collar that position as others may collar Rank #1. Such individuals will automatically be crowned as the bubble’s Saint. One will seldom hear a negative word pass the Saint’s lips. The Saint will arise early and, in a dish-washer-less kitchen, sort out the clumsily stacked mound of dirty dishes precariously balanced atop the washing-up bowl, in unstable equilibrium. Once washed, dried and put away, cups of tea will be brewed on demand and sandwiches made, if requested. The Saint, as domestic servant will serve without complaint. An everlasting smile lies beneath his or her skin to be switched on in a trice. And upon his or her gravestone will be inscribed the epitaph: ‘Never Knowingly Complained‘.

Finally, I should say a little about myself in regard to all this. Although I do have a side that aspires to Sainthood, I have to acknowledge that I can sometimes be moody; some might even say that I am a Grumpy Old Man (as epitomised by the character of Victor Meldrew in the BBC sitcom One Foot in the Grave, played by the actor Richard Wilson). I would say that I yo-yo up and down the scale in bipolar fashion, falling short of Sainthood by quite some distance.

On this note, I will sign off. Speak to you later, my dear blogophiles.

Week 3 of Self-Isolation

March 31, 2020
    I have just started my third week of Self-Isolation; the last time I left the house was on 16th March, 2020. As a 75 year-old git, I am taking it all fairly seriously. Part of me feels that I am living in an existential no-man’s land. The logical thing for me to do is stay at home, in the house, until such time as I can be vaccinated. However, the development of a vaccine could take a year or more, so I can see that a modicum of deep readjustment may be required in order to navigate the unlimited flow of quotidian events with no discernible end in sight. The problem is knowing how to pass time in a satisfactory fashion.
    I have pottered in the garden. Summer is around the corner so there could be more to do on that score. Bedding plants might be a problem. I normally buy in some plugs from a local garden centre (about a 5-10 mile drive away) but I can’t do that in Self-Isolation. I have used a nursery near Manchester in the past for various bits and pieces, and I might see if I can order something remotely from their catalogue (assuming they still have staff working for them). Last year I planted some cabbage plants and put in a few potatoes. Unfortunately, all the leaves got eaten. Perhaps I should have fixed up some netting. I think that will be too complicated for me to sort out for this year.
    In general, I find my mood and motivation swinging up and down in a mildly bi-polar fashion during all this. For example, the other day I needed to do a small amount of D.I.Y stuff. Ordinarily this would involve multiple trips down to the B&Q store to get the  bits and pieces that are needed (perhaps  replenishing an empty pot of screws or something like that). In a way, that is normally an enjoyable part of the project – one can pick up all sorts of ideas whilst idly wandering up and down the aisles of  the  store. Yet this is something I must now forego.
    Turning to another area, I am used to taking the Metro to a nearby city, about once a week, for a good browse in the book shops and the library ( these are much better than those where I live). All that has gone.
    With regard to the  daily TV briefings on the crisis (in England) I feel glad that I had some training in statistics. This means that I can more or less understand the  graphs and have some idea as to how to read them, while being aware of some of their limitations. I had no idea, back then, how paying attention in double-maths classes at school/university might pay dividends as I trundle through my 70s. I hasten to add that in no way am I a trained statistician, I am merely numerically literate.  I feel sorry for some of the politicians who have had no training in science and yet are having to talk about this in an apparently convincing fashion.
    I think this is enough to be getting on with today. Time for a spot of  lunch. I think I shall make a sandwich and have a banana for desert. Speak to you later, my dear blogophiles.