Tuesday, March 31, 2020

In the beginning...

Yesterday.  Day 1.  Got up late and switched on the laptop. Joined half the country and applied for the COVID-19 payment.  And it was easy. Almost a pleasurable experience.  What a contrast to our signing-on days in Werburgh in the 1970s and 80s

A lot of people will tell you that before mobile phones, the principal method of meeting up was in the pub, but in fact, it was the dole office. You'd catch up at the hatch. We had little brown cardboard cards, half-written in Irish.  Folded in two, dogeared and tucked into the back pocket of Wrangler jeans.

Were you allowed smoke in Werburgh Street back then?  Probably.  You could smoke pretty much wherever you wanted.  Planes, trains and upstairs on buses.  There were always two compartments on the London tube where you could light up.  Many was the time I boarded an empty train at 6:30 in the morning and blazed up a joint before work. -- Ahh, those halcyon days before health and safety.

At 11:30,  a walk on the ring road where the speeding cars were trying to outrun the virus, driven by unshaven, bleary-eyed men on the way to the off-licence to pick up vital medical supplies.

At 3:30pm started preparing red beans and rice for the family.  Traditional Monday dish in Louisiana.  Found myself singing Tom Traubert's blues by Tom waits.
"I wish I was in New Orleans... I can see it in my dreams."
But who in their right mind wants to be in that city at this moment?   It's a hot spot for this disease and it will, of course, be ignored by the federal government. Anyone remember hurricane Katrina?

7pm, at my desk facing the window.  A van drives past.  'Bouncy Castles.'  But nobody is bouncing at the minute.  It'll probably be a long time before we bounce again.