The Flyer: Notes From The Lockdown
'May you live in interesting times'
Before I go on, despite the following paragraph, this is a political and conspiracy-free zone. Among other things, COVID has caged my political animal - after thirty-something years of curiosity and judgement, I’ve temporarily lost my claws - and despite respecting freedom of speech I don’t care much for opinions about politics. Right now, they’re all just adding to the noise.
A mate’s wife was raised under Communist government in northern Europe and she’s currently seeing echoes of her childhood in people’s behaviour under this lockdown, which is in its sixth week and looks certain to last six more. The lack of social cohesion, the creeping suspicions, a distrust that spreads from federal government messaging to the behaviour of the neighbours across the road who are reacting ever so differently to the public orders than yourself.
I’m not interpreting it the same way as her, Australia has no totalitarian past, yet these lockdowns are casting an awfully heavy pall.
Isolation ain’t natural. We’re social animals, us humans, and while chatting on the internet helps, it’s no proxy for the proximity of flesh and blood. For conversations that happen organically, that have no time limits, aren’t held at a ‘safe’ distance, and more than anything, aren’t muffled by a fucking facemask.
For surfers in lockdown, and with three state capitals currently under restriction, that’s an awful lot of us, count yourself lucky if you live within 10kms of the coast. Yeah, the surf has been crowded, but at least that’s more people to talk to. Try and see it as a coping mechanism: cut strangers some slack, lay off the heavy vibes. Everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about, said Plato, or maybe it was Buddha, coulda been Lopez...whatever, right now, the sentiment holds more than ever.
And if the surf drops off or the wind kicks in, then don’t rush home. Hang in the carpark a while. The Men’s Shed by the sand, or the Knitting Circle, though I don’t mean to genderfy, merely to acknowledge the salve of human connection and how you can find it there on the sun-bleached bitumen. An enjoyable place at any time, now providing an unofficial health service where you can get your daily dose of Vitamin D and shit-talk for free.
Just don’t talk about politics, yet.