My neighbour asked, how are you?

My neighbour asked how are you? A seemingly innocent question, but in 2020 something entirely different. When I saw the words on the screen it rather took my breathe away. I’ve spent a year away from my family (apart from a couple of small meetups) and most of the year away from my friends, my clients and even my neighbours so a seemingly innocent question became elevated to much greater heights than might have been the case in any other year.

My neighbour was of course being kind and it was the kindness that took my breathe away and the awareness shown to notice that I had been a little quieter than usual. I’ve lived most of my life alone, at times (some time ago) closed off from other people as a monk would do. If anyone is geared to handle this pandemic we’re living through its me and indeed I’ve faired pretty well. I’ve not struggled that hard with the isolation, I’ve noticed I drift slightly more than I used to, its harder to concentrate on the things you need to do. But in general I’m not suffering and am confident I’ll make it through if I can avoid the dreaded virus and make it to the vaccines that it’s now clear are coming.

The pandemic is probably (hopefully) the most significant thing our generation will live through. It’s our equivalent of the second world war (or the first come to that). The similarities from that time are obvious and the comparison of our nurses and doctors with fighter pilots from the battle of Britain is I’m afraid very apt though some may not like the analogy. I had a flu jab today and it felt like a military operation. Wear your mask, have your temperature taken, sit there, jab, walk that way, pause and then out of the door. It seemed a little inhuman but don’t misunderstand me, thats the way it has to be and I’m grateful to all the nurses and doctors involved and relieved I live in the UK and not Trumpland.

I come from the generation after the war and indeed part of my diet is still affected by the remnants of war rations we were still living under when I was a child. Spam was a staple of the diet then and I’ve got the blood pressure to prove it! If I could buy it (supermarkets stopped selling it a few years back) I’d still be eating luncheon meat! I didn’t get to do anything in the second world war, I wasn’t even a twinkle in my mothers eye. As a result I’ve spent my life looking at it from afar, being affected by it but never able to see what it was like to live through. The pandemic is my equivalent and the irony that all I’m asked to do is sit on my sofa and wait is heavy to bear. I can’t now train to be a nurse or a doctor or a scientist to help and so I must just be, time will pass (as all things do) and suddenly (we hope) the virus will fall under our spell because of the new religion, science.

How are you? Words that took my breathe away and sent me on a journey into the past and through my entire life and brought me back to the present. Sit on the sofa and watch the snooker, the modern equivalent to marching to war.

Thank you neighbour for caring enough to ask the question, despite going on a slight nutty after reading your question I’m fine thank you. How are you?