Is it just me or did the second week go faster than the first? It's always intriguing how quickly people adapt and make their lives work in whatever circumstances – sometimes to our detriment if we're accepting conditions we should protest against, but in this case, well done, New Zealand! And especially well done Nelson, topping the ranks for staying at home. Who knew you could win something by doing nothing?
Not that we're really doing nothing. The neighbourhood children are a good example. A family at the bottom of the walkway have painted the footpath with hieroglyphics, words, random designs and a possible dinosaur, stretching several metres in a range of bright colours. The recent rain merely smudged it all into a pretty abstract. The little girls in front spend a lot of time on the trampoline, between Japanese lessons, and their mother was quietly building something when I was doing my piano practice this afternoon.
I finish the first beanie and stitch it up. I'm ready to tackle the next painting job but I've used all the sandpaper. My industrious home-renovating friends will surely be well supplied so I send a request and on my bike ride I call round to collect a sheet of medium grade sandpaper from the letterbox. When the whirr of the electric sander stops I call out hello and we have a short chat – at a distance of course, but as you know, live people always gladden my heart. We comment that in some ways having fewer choices is relaxing and many people seem to be enjoying the rahui, taking time to wind down, be with family and perhaps find a different rhythm than the relentless work and competition regime that so many New Zealanders bring into everything they do.
I'm reflecting on this as I bike home when a lyra-clad cyclist whizzes past on a skinny bike. I don't think he will have been satisfied with riding within a 5km radius of home but perhaps he's worked out a circuit he can do several times. His hour of biking would surely cover a much greater distance than mine!
I know not everyone is feeling as content as I am and to be honest when I first heard of the lockdown I was horrified and fearful of the mental health implications for me as well as many others. It took a couple of days to get a grip, make a bit of a schedule and a to do list and to start this blog. I find it grounding to write about each day and your feedback helps me feel connected.
But when I think of the queues outside the liquor shops and reports of increased family harm I feel sad for those affected. I hope they shut those outlets soon – alcohol, boredom and frustration are a desperate mix. Then there's the stadium turned into a foodbank. Children who received breakfast and lunch at school will be hungry and families who could barely make ends meet on low-paid work such as cleaning will being doing even less well on 80% of that wage if the offices they cleaned are closed and they are left with only the government subsidy.
With that in mind, I make some donations online. I can at least share my coffee budget and a little more with Foodbank and Women's Refuge and I don't even have to leave my bubble to do it.