The Covidiaries Part 2
Written by Christiaan Troskie on Mar 30, 2020
Lord, the seventh seal must be broken. I appear to agree with Piers Morgan. A viral video of the Lord Asshat himself is doing the rounds where for once the man is making quite a bit of sense. All we have to do is sit at home and watch the telly. Nobody has to shoot each other or be burnt in an oven; you just have to stay on your couch for a few weeks working on your forearm strength and crosswords.
With each passing day the world outside somehow manages to become a little more mad despite the mandate to remain indoors. How? That is beyond me. Though the rate of infection at the time of writing is slowing, I wonder how many people are going to treat the last few days as nothing more than a long weekend, helping the stats boom. Time, as always, will tell.
In other news, feeling rudely healthy. Started the morning doing a pilates video on YouTube. A softly spoken girl led me through an hour of what must have been one of the hardest workouts of my life. Where she was on her mat in some fashionable suburb in Europe – speaking sweetly about lifting legs and activating cores – I was grunting purple-faced on a carpet in Westville trying not to evacuate myself. At the end I had been reduced to an underpants wearing goblin with a moist gland problem. An advantage of exercising with a digital instructor is that they cannot hear the naughty words you call them during the class.
We keep on keeping on eh?
I had an interesting moment this morning, it was something I noticed yesterday but tend to only pick up on patterns the second time round. This explains why I wrote most of my university exams twice. I am wide awake at five thirty every morning. There is almost no exception to this unless I have been drinking, in which case my colon seizes control and makes for the loo even earlier. In that scenario, I stagger to the toilet like a Tube Man whose fan is suffering from fits at four in the morning.
However, I had not been drinking and woke up at the usual time. For those of you not sharing our great nation’s time zone, it is important to note that at five thirty, there is darkness accompanied by birdsong. However, this morning, as with yesterday morning, there was nothing but serene silence. Again, I have that dangerous condition called a theory. I believe that usually, birds are woken by human activity and not by some natural rhythm of theirs. With the lockdown, the birds are allowed to indulge in their natural instincts to wake with the sun and not because John Johnson, Salary Man™, is starting his car to go somewhere else and run on a treadmill in expensive shoes. When the birds did wake up this morning, the warbling of a Pied Barbet was welcomed as was the sound of my landlord’s kids being threatened with violence.
I have a belief that quiet children are finally cashing their cheques.
I was a weird kid. I wouldn’t say strongly disciplined – my parents were happy to let me do my own thing mostly – but easily entertained by my own imagination. The thought struck me that like dogs who do not understand the motives of their owners, children behind a certain age curtain must be flummoxed with recent events. I don’t think it is wrong to say that modern children do not grow up with their own imaginations. Theirs is a generation of learning and catered distraction. With all the stimulation they are given, most are by far the intellectual superior to what my generation would have been at the same age, but it seems to have come at the cost of being able to stimulate themselves. Kids still play outside and engage in sports, but I am yet to see the old games of make-believe which occupied our hours make a return. I watch as my landlords spend hours entertaining their children on the lawn outside but at no point do their kids take up the task themselves. There are dolls which make an escape every now and then, but they are not engaged in acts of daring do and high adventure as the lead-based toys of yesteryear were want to do. If anything, I pity children during this time who have not been given the room to develop their worlds of make-believe. These are not bad changes; just different experiences kids have growing up.
An imagination is not only wasted on the young. Adults who lack creative thought can only be dreading the inevitable beige existence of their lives as they flick between puzzles and Netflix in the coming weeks. Imagination is the difference between saying there is nothing to do, and finding joy in finger-painting your loved one. Adults need imagination as much as children in these trying times. Believing (or worse, not evening understanding) you are above frivolity or entertaining yourself would be to deny the thing that makes all of this an experience worth remembering. Imagination is responsible for good times. It is strange how, as an adult, I have found imagination turning into actual, life affirming reality. My imagination has helped me process death, retrenchment, new work and crushing terror. Imagination has turned bad days good more times than I can count. As Tom Waits once said, don’t plant bad days, they grow into weeks.