Walking the dog with my daughter she asks me if I will proofread her assignment.
“Sure, what’s it about?” I ask
“Milgram’s study of obedience,” she tells me.
“The one where he convinces people to electrocute strangers when they get questions wrong?
“Yep, that’s the one.”
It feels like a study for our times when someone I vaguely know tells me, on entering the park,
“People were sunbathing on their towels in here at 9 am yesterday morning.”
There is something incredibly alluring about acting in a way you’ve been told not to but, right now, social obedience saves lives.
My sister is struggling with the lockdown and, like most people, she can’t put her finger on why. She has enough food, a house, and a garden, and she never went out much before the restrictions, but at least she had the option.
We bump into her in the park and my dog is so excited she trots off happily with my sister, ignoring social distancing rules and refusing to come home with me until I put her on a lead.
“How are you coping?” my sister calls from a discreet distance.
“I’m doing alright. As long as I can stay healthy I think I’ll be OK.”
I am someone who is surrounded by anxiety every day. Most of my clients struggle with it in one way or another so when the world is anxious it feels quite familiar.
On top of that, I’m seeing much more of my children than I usually would which is a real treat.
Under normal circumstances, it would be rare to get my daughter out walking but at the moment she’s asking me when we’re going, almost more keen than the dog.
“I think I’m going to learn Italian,” she tells me.
“For when we can go back there?” I ask genuinely wondering when that might be.
“I want to at least be able to read a menu,” she says.
This gives me hope that she is intending to branch out into a more varied selection than pepperoni pizza, but I don’t say so.
Both of my children were due to be on holiday now. My daughter on the beautiful West Wales coast and my son off to Seville. It was to be the first Easter I’d ever spent without them and therefore the first time in twenty-one years that I’d not had to create an increasingly difficult “Easter egg hunt”. I conclude that we’ve probably continued the tradition more for me than them and that it might be time to retire it.
As I’m baking under the hot sun painting the garden furniture, a job which even a lengthy lockdown is insufficient to justify, my daughter wanders by and says,
“Are we having an Easter egg hunt?”
I scrunch up my face and say, “Bit difficult this year.”
“Not really,” she says, “The Easter Bunny is a key worker.”
She’s right of course. Anything that brings us joy and which doesn’t hurt someone else must be held more tightly than ever at the moment.