The spaces between us.

So we’ll have to wait a few more days but at least by then we’ll know if the government have decided to ease the 2 metre distancing rule which hardly anybody is following anymore, and that’s working on the assumption that they ever did. It’s a big decision, except that when you think about it it isn’t. What will happen if they decide to maintain it? Not sure? I’ll give you a few more seconds of thinking time. OK then, I’ll tell you. Fuck all. The answer is fuck all. Fuck all will happen. People still won’t socially distance themselves to the tune of 200 centimetres, the economy will still look like a freshly clubbed seal pup and we’ll still be blaming anyone but ourselves for the whole sorry mess.


A few days ago the 12 year old health secretary Matt Hancock was caught patting some chum on the shoulder in parliament and so we can see just how seriously the big important people are taking social distancing and making an effort to set such good standards. Frankly I wouldn’t have cared if Hancock had cupped the other fellas balls and asked him to breathe out because every time I’ve been shopping lately I’ve ended up having to squeeze far too cosily past countless miserable, petrified pensioners, and believe me that’s after trying all other resorts. We can’t help but gravitate towards each other, just as some people can’t help touching their faces. I myself am forever fondling my face for one reason or another: a scratch of the chin, a rub of the nose, the stroke of an ear or wipe of an eye and then the perpetual massage of my furrowed brow. To casual onlookers I must look like I’m giving racing tips the the invisible man. I’m afraid Matt Hancock was acting on impulse and that’s just life. The fact he’s also an arrogant, cretinous prick is neither here nor there.


I shan’t be rushing back to the pub if Boris reduces the safe distance to 1 metre anyway. You wouldn’t notice the difference because one persons metre is another’s couple of inches. It’s not the distance that bothers me but the sheer boredom of it all. Why would you bother to queue for an age just for a couple of pints, a rum and coke and a packet of crisps which you then consume as you shout at someone for a few minutes, before joining another enormous queue to use a gender neutral toilet facility? Just go and sit in the garden and pour yourself a glass and if you don’t have a garden then ask yourself why not. There is also nothing I need that desperately from TK Maxx or Primark that would warrant joining the shuffling lines that curve around the block to get in. I worry for the economy but I buggered if I’m that desperate to want to jump start it like that.


Perhaps the best solution is to just relax the whole thing. Just get on with it and then if there’s a second spike people can just decide for themselves. Our neighbours on one side were having gatherings in their garden smack in the middle of the lockdown and clearly didn’t care about spreading stuff, but that’s fine as long as they don’t expect anyone to care back at them when they end up breathing into an NHS pillow. I’ve been back at work for three weeks and at no point have I ever really felt that social distancing has been a viable option, and while I’m sure there is some droplet of underlying concern I can’t say I’ve given it much thought because unless you do something stupid like lick a colleague’s eyeball you are probably at no greater risk that you are from touching a Sainsbury’s trolley or stroking a feral hamster.


We have learned to accept that we are no longer guided by the people who are guided by the science because it turns out the science is a bit shit at best and the people guided by it are wankers and have been lying through their teeth for weeks on end. So now we must operate by our instinct and where possible trust our own judgement. If you feel it necessary to ask me whether you should trust yourself then you are clearly simple and so the answer would be no. I’ve just sent out a birthday invitation to a few people and in a months time I hope we can gather within reasonable proximity to one another without getting too anxious, though I’ll be very cross with the first person who decides to exhale heavily on my sandwich for a laugh. For years we’ve been told that it is polite to respect the personal space of others and then just when we’ve had to do that because of science we’ve found ourselves lacking. But we’re lacking in so much these days I’m beginning to think it’s barely worth caring.


G B Hewitt. 20.06.2020

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