Plus les choses changent, plus elles restent les mêmes (the more things change, the more they stay the same)

Covid 19
Photo by Fusion Medical Animation on Unsplash

I am conscious that whilst we are all ensconced within our siege-homes, counting out frozen peas and rationing the loo roll, what I write might just turn into a bit of a plague diary. I don’t intend it to – although I have just been out in the back garden to bury some Parmesan. My life is mundane enough, without the added constraint of being held captive within these four square walls (if only they were – I’ve spoken to the builder). Looking out of the window is pretty much all that is left for me… so, y’know…

What is going on out of the window as far as I can see is almost exclusively dog walking and jogging. I do not have a dog. I always thought that I would like a dog, but I’m not over-keen on shit, so I’m not convinced that it would work out well. Responsible is my middle name (it isn’t really: my real middle name is far worse) so I would always clean up after the pooch, but I’m pretty sure that I would begin to resent it sooner or later. Unequal partnerships trouble me. Would the dog clean up after me in similar circumstances? Also, there would always be the nagging suspicion that the dog deliberately chose the most embarrassing time/place to start its scrunched up shuffle before delivering its little gift on the policeman’s shiny toecap… Owning a dog would allow me to walk though. It is permissible to walk a dog. If I had one, I would probably hire it out. I have toyed with wandering out with a joke shop dog poo in a bag, so that if I was stopped by the police, I could just claim that my canine best friend had wandered off whilst I cleaned up after it and thus avoid the fine for walking without purpose. Although I would then have to go into an over-elaborate search for my non-existent pooch, possibly resulting in a fine for not keeping the bloody thing under control. Also, I would have to give it a name. Kevin probably… Most likely I would claim to be deaf and defy the policeman to get close enough for me to hear him. ‘I can mostly hear people at about one metre away…’

We are, apparently, allowed one short exercise stroll per day, always retaining the two metre distance from fellow amblers. Problem is, when I tried it, in order to maintain the exclusion zone, my route became so erratic that I was exhausted before I had travelled more than two hundred metres and I had to return home for a cup of tea. Ah, tea! Did I mention that I am having to drink tea? And instant coffee? Man, in whose world does that taste like coffee? I hope the run to the off-licence can be classed as vital. Which brings me to the joggers. I could always, I am told, go out for a socially distant jog. Are they kidding? With my nipples? I might be able to see the attraction of jogging if only those people doing it didn’t always look so bloody miserable. When did you last see a happy jogger? Why do these lithe and lycra-clad super-specimens always look so shagged-out? Nobody likes a mouth-breather!

For my part, after a day of gardening, I wobbled off around the block on my bike. The health benefits of such actions are enormous:
1. I didn’t die – so I feel really good about myself.
2. I can legitimately treat myself to a large one this evening because… well, just because.
3. There is no number 2, so I will have to repeat number 3.
So, thus finishes my first day in lockdown. Three weeks to go before Boris decides whether I can go back to work. I should be fit as a flea by then, although I may have to beat my liver down with a broom.

On hearing ill rumour that Londoners may soon be urged into their lodgings by Her Majesty’s men, I looked upon the street to see a gaggle of striplings making fair merry, and no doubt spreading the plague well about. Not a care had these rogues for the health of their elders! Samuel Pepys, London 1664

3 thoughts on “Plus les choses changent, plus elles restent les mêmes (the more things change, the more they stay the same)

  1. We obviously haven’t come very far since 1664…. Young striplings indeed… or shits as I like to call them. Also when perambulating along the pathway, I tend to find that in many instances, people are unable to see me. I have become invisible to other pedestrians! I sidestep and they change direction. I sidestep again, they move back! I stand still and refuse to move, they bump into me, lower their mobile phones and give me a look of disdain or snarl. In my furtive imagination, I have just given them the Vulcan Death Grip, thereby clearing the way for myself and every other straight walker…. Gits!

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    1. I have discovered that the High Street is full of people who deliberately walk straight towards you, daring you to not change route. In the past I would have faced them out, but today you can never gauge exactly what their reaction might be. I’m hoping the perambulate zig-zag is good for the thighs

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  2. The bike is my preferred method of my one instance of exercise per day. There is then some jeopardy involved in the two daily dog walks, each successful one without seeing another human is a tiny triumph. (I will add that I live so rurally that seeing another human is a pretty rare thing anyway, just in case you wrongly think I’m a irresponsible sort).

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