Comes the Revolution
I pulled my jacket zip up tighter. It felt unbelievably different from yesterday, really cold. As I walked, I noticed an unprecedented number of cyclists peddling past, and musing that I could have been in Amsterdam, I recognised that this traffic has now become the norm. Things have changed, quietly and unannounced, changes have established themselves in our lives since Covid, and methods of transport are one of them.
I started to think about our past Industrial Revolution. That spanned eighty years, as we moved from an agricultural society to one with new energy sources, new machines, new organisation of work and drastic changes in transportation.
I believe we are living through a present- day ‘revolution’, made possible by our imposed ‘lockdown’. It has taken place unheralded, as if an unseen button pressed ‘pause’ on life as we knew it, allowing changes to take hold, some in reverse gear.
At first we were stunned, complying to the new rules, not realising that everything was in the process of changing….permanently .
My family became used to working from home, and slowly noticed its advantages. More productive worktime was possible, without endless hours spent travelling, leaving more enjoyable family time. These changes are no less dramatic than previous ones, but they have happened in such a short space of time…..in just one year.
Meeting my, now familiar, fellow walkers each day, I note how less frenetic their life has become and that nearly everyone has acquired a dog! Our conversation is predictable: Have you had your jab yet?…. Which one?….. Did you have any side effects? It’s as if there was a recording stuck on ‘replay’! This is followed by personal tales of…. how marvellous the volunteers were…. how painless the experience was….we agree that our country is excelling!
Of course, certain new ideas were already on the horizon: vegan food had turned from almost ‘Cranky’ to something followed with a fervour, and ‘Save our Planet’ was becoming a fixture on our agenda. Both issues have come to the forefront during our enforced isolation, as we experience living with nature instead of trying to control it.
I’ve noticed other changes, cash….nobody wants to accept it, there are less postal deliveries and many bank premises have closed. Our ‘Throw away Society’ has morphed into a ‘Recycling’ phenomena, harking directly back to my war years, when everything was reused.
I ask myself hypothetical questions: What about the toddlers raised in Lockdown, unused to racing into grandparents’ arms with abandon. Will they be shy and uncertain around these ‘strangers’? What about schoolchildren who have missed their education and their social networks? I know that I and people of my ‘Blitz’ generation, have characteristics formed by our experiences as children. I still can’t waste anything, rarely eat anything in the street (it was considered bad manners) and still believe that success comes from hard work.
Although many aspects of my ‘life during restrictions’ are improving for me, I’ve still a lot to learn about technology. Now I’m allowed to visit my son, I must take a Lateral Flow test every time. On my first attempt, I was handed a small packet, opened it and proceeded as instructed. Triumphantly I handed it back to the nurse. ‘You’ve used the wrong end’, she said!
On the positive side, my neighbours have been very caring. Yesterday, I answered the doorbell to find a kind looking lady proffering me a carrier bag. This contained an Easter gift for me. I peeked inside to see homemade scones, currant buns, biscuits and a chocolate egg. It gave me a warm feeling of belonging.
As I walk back inside my telephone was ringing…. my eldest grandchild, Katy…. ‘Nana, we have a photo to show you’. I think how cheerful she sounds…. throw my jacket off and sit down quickly.
I’m looking at a black and white blob…. at the same time I recognise exactly what I’m looking at…a scan! I’m going to be a great grandma! How wonderful…then I realise…. my first baby will become a Granddad! Now that’s an impossible idea to get used to!
I smile to myself, maybe life is changing, but yet the really important things stay exactly the same as ever.
Stay safe everyone.