Field notes from the end of the world…

In the end… it’s going to be by default that we exit from lockdown. People will soon have had enough.

Even necessary trips are now painful. At first, a trip to the supermarket was – once the panic buying had died down – kinda okay. Everyone was muddling through as best they could, both staff and customers. Wear a makeshift mask, keep your distance, bimble around the place as ever you would, only stopping to wonder who the fuck suddenly needed 300KG of pasta bowties.

But now… things have changed. The jobsworth brigade have had time to get organised. A visit to the food shop now is like the trudge from the train to the gas-chamber. “Einkäufe Macht Frei” says the new sign over the door as you go inside and join the snaking queue through the pointless bit of the shop you only ever visit if you need a £3 bra, or some pants that will chafe your balls raw. The 10 dithering bints in front of you all get distracted from the process of moving the queue forward to fondle the polyester merchandise at length, but you can’t get past them because the aisle isn’t wide enough, and the yellow-tabbard social-distancing police are loving their newfound power.

Then there’s the one-way aisles and the mix of conformism, defiance, and utter incomprehension. Chaos.

And there’s the utter pointlessness. The checkout woman has a metre-high plexiglass screen to protect her… but it’s only a metre wide… at the side where you stand before she serves you and the side where you stand when you’re packing? Nothing. Just two open spaces punctuated by a completely pointless £300 plexi screen. And she’s touching all my shopping, without having washed her hands since the last customer. Pointless.

Tannoy blah blah covid blah no more than 3 of any item blah saftey of you and our colleagues blah. Rinse and repeat. *Headphones on*

Almost no-one was wearing a mask. I had my skull & crossbones bandana over my face because it’s both camp and alarming. Next week I’ll be using a black ski mask and for the week after that, I’ve got a lovely niqab. I’ll be accessorising those with a tyre iron and a vest full of C4 respectively. But the vast majority of people? Nothing.

Everyone (apart from a few zoomers working there) was utterly miserable. Ashen-faced, slow-moving, dead-eyed miserable.

There will come a point – and I don’t think we’re that far away – where an awful lot of people will say “to hell with this. This isn’t living. Let’s get on with life and if I get it I get it.”

And that is all before we consider the massive numbers of people who are in suspended-animation (furlough™), whose livelihoods are in stasis, unlike their living costs. A good many of these people don’t have a week’s money in the bank, let alone another month.

No, sheer forces of nature are going to bring this lockdown to an end before Boris is back at the helm making the big decisions. Quite what the coppers will do about that is anyone’s guess.




6 thoughts on “Field notes from the end of the world…

  1. Interesting post. Where I live, the supermarkets started out exactly as you describe, but now, people are rolling their eyes at it all, apologizing for taking time with their selections and telling others to feel free to pass them. People are actually stopping to have conversations with strangers rather than just going about their business.
    I was in town a couple of days ago and it was like people had already decided to fuck the lockdown off. Quite busy and very little distancing. And not a copper in sight. Lancashire police have actually been a lot more reserved then some of the other forces

    • That makes for an interesting regional comparison. Down here in Surrey, they were always going to be more cowardly, conformist and defeatist than in my county of birth. If only you could make actual money up there :-(

  2. My bandana mask is a “skulls and roses” print. Artful, yet disturbing. The rumor I heard about our county sheriff here in the US is that he told his deputies, “don’t be an ass, I don’t want you to get anything on me.” That man knows how to win an election. A reasonably intelligent politician will solemnly follow whatever people decide to do, and give them the go-ahead after the fact.

    There are times when this has reminded me of trips to the Soviet Union, especially the toilet paper situation. There’s one to remind the kids about. Remember when there was no toilet paper to be had? Under Marxists, it’s always that way.

  3. Here in my small, quite scummy, Essex town the ovine compliance is shocking. I thought at least the ferals would offer some resistance but they have been conspicuous by their absence. Perhaps they all stockpiled enormous quantities of cider and dope. May it run out soon. Fifteen, even ten years ago there would at least have been an ‘all in this together’ atmosphere but enrichment has wrought its magic.

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