It was as if nothing at all had changed since mid-March as folk enjoyed each others company over a beer or a coffee.

It was as if nothing at all had changed since mid-March as folk enjoyed each others company over a beer or a coffee.

11-05-2020

I am probably being cowardly or just plain silly, but - I’m sure that I am not the only person around who has had quite enough of Coronavirus thank you very much. Just to clarify that statement, I am not just talking about Covid-19 in all its awfulness, just the fact that it is all-embracing and wearily predictable in the way it is reported so that a kind of Covid gloom has set itself into society. Yes, of course it is understandable, as we are facing the biggest health threat across the planet since just over 100 years ago when 'Spanish Flu’ stalked the planet, plus I am fascinated by the way that we all cope with the current situation in different ways. For instance, since arriving back on the island eight days ago from the UK I have been catching up with friends and acquaintances on the island via phone and all manner of social-media - and I have to say that I have been somewhat surprised by the differing ways each of us is coping with the current situation. From the bright and breezy “It’ll all be over soon mate,” to the nervous, “Nothing will be the same after this…please be careful.” Unsurprising I suppose, but nevertheless fascinating in the way we each express our fears (or lack of them) in such opposing manifestations.

I know it’s not like me at all, but I have nothing but admiration for those in our community who seek to keep our spirits up by doing stuff. Yes indeed, I will not name names, but there are those amongst us who are quite selfless in the way that they organise, promote and deliver every conceivable activity that can be done online, whether we want to do them or not. As someone who doesn’t normally approve of organised jollity at any price, I have been impressed by the range of activities people have indulged in (willingly or unwillingly) without any thought or regard for their personal dignity. Indeed, whisper it softly - but, even I have tango’d my arse around the kitchen on occasions via the inter-web. Moreover, I had to be persuaded not to take part in an online ‘Friendly Quiz’ as I was told that I am not a good loser and there is no-such-thing as a friendly quiz - as they always end in recriminations, rows, arguments and manic accusations of favouritism by the likes of me and quite a few more people I could mention. Nevertheless, I have hooked-up with many different types of activity. Flower arranging is one I’ve become fond of - as I know the lady involved and I can always be relied upon to at least try to listen to someone I vaguely know murdering the whole of Lionel Richie’s back-catalogue from their garden terrace. There is something truly magnificent about the God given ability, not to be able to sing a single note in tune, even by mistake. However, let’s not talk about the ‘O’ words, as in Overw***** or Obe** shall we? Last week I told you the reason for my apparent weight gain was the fact that I had shrunk alarmingly over the past month or so. Unhappily, as a man person of a certain age and undeniable gender, I can’t claim that I am in actual fact ‘up-the-duff’ like many women out their most certainly are - or, soon will be I shouldn’t wonder. Which is great I think! Anyway, back to my sensible social observations and the very different ways that we react to being affected by this horrible virus.

Take for instance the day (Wednesday) that I went into Andratx Town to pick up my newspapers and to pop into the chemist in the square. The place was probably the busiest that it has been since lockdown, but - nowhere near the level of a normal, bustling, mid-week market day. However, the attitude of those who were there were very different indeed. It seemed to me that half of the people there wore face masks, some complete with gloves - and seemed to maintain a sort of startled awareness bordering on the fearful. As for the other half that I observed - it was as if nothing at all had changed since mid-March as folk enjoyed each others company over a beer or a coffee, as that other grouping scuttled about on the periphery of life. Indeed, thinking about it, that split wasn’t as neat as being 50/50 - more 65/35 in favour of those wearing no masks at all and seemingly enjoying life without too much difficulty or much thought at all of the pandemic. I should say perhaps, that the minority of those in masks were either young women, with or without children, or perhaps unsurprisingly, the elderly. Now then, it maybe that my crude people watching goes to prove nothing, but - I barely saw a man under forty years of age wearing a mask or attempting any sort of meaningful social distancing. I suppose it takes all sorts doesn’t it?

frankleavers@hotmail.com

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