We moved house a few months ago. Our new home needed cupboards and bookshelves so we put a lot of books and clothes into storage and unpacked the rest. We got as far as having one set of cupboards and one set of bookshelves installed before lock-down made any further work possible. Piles of books prop up the TV set. Boxes of books are squirreled away here and there and cupboards are uncomfortably full. We feel as if we are camping, waiting for a time when we can get on with alterations, settle into our new home, and create order.
It has got me to thinking how many people were in some sort of transition when the country went into lockdown.
I hear tales of people who had decided to leave their partners but are stuck having to live with them because they can’t look for alternative accommodation at this time.
I read about people whose cancer treatments have been suspended. Doctors, we are told are worried about people who are postponing going to hospital or their general practitioners in the normal way to discuss symptoms that may well be serious. There are significant drops in the number of people attending Accident and Emergency Departments. They can’t all be suddenly well.
These are not the only kind of treatments postponed. There are people who need the kind of help that Alcoholics Anonymous provided. The AA website reads “whilst our ability to help you during the coronavirus crisis may be restricted our willingness is not.” A telephone number is at least provided.
There are people with all sorts of mental health problems and, not only is their access to help put on hold, but their mental health will surely deteriorate in isolation.
I hear of vulnerable children who normally live in some sort of care facility who have now been sent home for their families to simply do the best they can – however unequipped they may be.
I wonder what percentage of people had their lives in some kind of steady state when lock-down went into operation. I suspect a whole lot fewer than we think.
The ‘pause’ button has been pressed for all of us. What choices will we have when lock-down ends? I suspect the ‘play from where you left off’ button won’t be an option for everyone. The ‘play from the beginning’ button won’t work. The ‘fast forward’ button might work as many of us frantically try to catch up on lost time. But, sadly, for many people life has been irretrievably changed. The new economy, for one thing, will see to that.