Monday, September 07, 2020

Me Myself and Isolation: day 3

 Day, the 3. Already I’m reverting to old English (or ye olde Englishe as it’s known).

Back in the day, customs officials were keen to know did you have any illegal drugs or banned fruit. Now they want to know where you’ve been in the last 14 days. Which countries, in particular. If a country you have visited is not on the exemption list then you have to self-isolate. “Not on the exemption list” is effectively a double negative and, so, confusing. Much less confusing to say, “it’s on the inemption list.”

The UK government has a website, GOV.UK. And it certainly can govuk itself. 

Fair enough, a country like the UK, which loves itself some bureaucracy, is going to have a lot of forms and documents, but just a little thought could make things easier to navigate. It’s basically just a directory but organised how a civil servant would think. Something most people would describe as labyrinthine, a civil servant would call an in tray.

So even things I found yesterday, I can’t find today. There is a place to log in, but it’s not prominent on every page, you have to dig down and find the right page. The writing style is as dry and verbosely factual as you would expect.

Anyway, on one of these pages is a form to let the good people at Edge Case, Side Liners or Border Force (or whatever the customs people are calling themselves this year) know where you’ve been.

Sweden is on the inemption list. Countries come and go from the exemption list the same way that lockdown rules are relaxed and tightened. It’s the ebb and flow a country / world at sea.

Apparently, they do follow up on this. From some people I’ve heard that there was no checking. Emma is in some Swedish groups and people there have gotten automatic phone calls asking if they are at home. You answer “yes” and they’re happy, supposedly. Maybe they listen to the noise behind you. If it’s a lot of chatter and thumping bass, you might not be at home OR you are breaking the bo contact rules. If it’s the last 30 minutes of Netflix, you’re probably at home. They also do come visit, Emma heard. Some people have had several checks. So it seems that the checks are random or maybe based on some other factor such as age or how foreign your surname is. There’s no data on this.

MILK (Internet slang) - Man I'd Like to Know.

A hundred years ago, there was a similar pandemic, known popularly as The Spanish Flu. How much harder things were then. No internet. No YouTube. No Netflix. No way of remotely arranging food to be delivered unless you were wealthy enough to have a telephone or expendable servants. And even a few years ago, there were no affordable services delivering food or groceries unless you were house-ridden through age or sickness.

But now, it’s very easy to order groceries to be delivered. The biggest problem is that, in these times, the better ones will not have a delivery slot for quite a few days. Am*zon can deliver pretty quickly, but who likes giving money to an actual Bond villain. Of course, it means these delivery drivers are basically visiting all of the people deemed more likely to be sick and are now the potential spreaders. But, they seem to know this, and keep their distance. Leaving the boxes for you to empty at your door and only approaching to get the next one to you.

Self-isolation sounds like it’s a great excuse to not work. “I can’t work from home today, I’m self-isolating.” But, alas it actually means you have less things pulling you away from work. So, Monday morning is Monday morning. At home. Where it has been for months. And where it was for nearly two years before that (for me). 

There was the usual meeting in the people-panelled zoom room. And then getting back into doing whatever it is I do, after half a week of good old fashioned rest. I’m lucky in that what I can do can be done from home. I haven’t been laid off or been left without clients. Also, as an introvert, lockdowning and self-isolating are not as hard on me as they are others. I do count myself lucky. 

The toddler, however is an extrovert. She’s gregarious and so 2 weeks without daycare or other contact with fellow wee’uns is going to be the toughest part of this. But if Jesus can suffer 40 days and 40 nights in the wilderness with Satan, we can suffer 14 days and 14 nights in our living room with a toddler. Not that I comparing myself to Jesus. 

Ugh, day 3 and I’m already comparing myself to the messiah.

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