Fandango’s Provocative Question (16 September 2020)

I could set my clock by Fandango’s Provocative Question (actually, I probably could, although I never tried). But Wednesay’s mean just one thing. Today, Fandango asks:

Having been subjected to stay at home restrictions (to one degree or another) over the past six months, would you say that the quarantine has made you a better person? If so, in what ways? If not, why not?

Actually I think this is going to be quite a dull response. To answer the question, first I’d have to ask “what changed?” during lockdown. So, let’s see:

We couldn’t go shopping, of course, but then I was never a big shopper before. So, very little changed for me. For my wife, she actually ordered more, online, because she was working staggered shifts. Did that make her a better person? I bet Jeff Bezos would say “yes”, but I’m not sure anyone else will.

We started doing grocery shopping online. I suppose the environment benefitted a little, by us using less petrol, but it just meant the supermarket truck came to us instead. I suppose there was a net gain, because that truck would have visited 20 other households too. But, either way, I’m not sure that made us better people. The environment was already a pretty big issue for us. But I could certainly buy that if somebody was unaware of the environment before (was anybody unaware???), but they are because of the pandemic, then they will be better people. Probably.

One thing which changed was not having to go into my local city to do my telephone befriending. More petrol saved, but that was mainly a benefit to me, just because it cut out all that travel time. So I don’t think that made me a better person.

Possibly the one thing where I helped was the telephone befriending itself. I was doing it already. But pre-lockdown, I spoke to around 10 people per week, and during lockdown, to about 20. But did that make me better? I just did what I did, what I did before and what I’ve done since. I doubt it.

As regards the less tangible things, did the pandemic help me appreciate the value of human life? Not really, human life is valuable but in saying that, death is part of life. Did the pandemic cause me to appreciate people’s space? Undoubtedly, but you’re not saying you’re a better person because of that, surely? Did the pandemic help me to appreciate my friends more than I did before? No, not really. I appreciated them anyway.

And that echoes my overall sentiment. I doubt I’m any different. What was important to me before, is still important.

Fandango’s One Word Challenge (16 September 2020)

On days when she’s working,
have the house to myself.
No excuses for shirking,
Get those books off the shelf.

I like peace and quiet,
When I’m doing my thing.
Concentration Required,
For lots of reading.

But when in the house,
I feel I’m fair game,
My incredible spouse,
Just serves to inflame.

I feel myself raging, from within,
As my wife sees me and comes in to chat,
Or I hear her music – an unholy din,
This is something I need to work at.

Okay, I want to explain the poem but straight from the off, I want to say that I understand that this is my problem, it is for me to get my head around, not my wife. I’m not complaining.

As regular readers will know, my wife is a nurse. She works in a doctor’s surgery. So, she has this tidy demarcation – the surgery is “work”, and home is, well “home”. Her space to relax.

For many years, I was the same. “Work” was my office in London, home was “relax”.

In my case, my work required a lot of concentration. It probably says something in the blurb, but my main role was designing computer systems in the finance sector. Yada, yada (wasn’t that a prompt for something the other day?), dull as, but the bottom line, it required a nice, dark room, and plenty of quiet.

Having got back after the stroke (I am too young to consider myself retired, I still want to work), I’ve been building my professional skills once again. I do this from home. Even though I’m no longer working for banks, so the projects I do now are far less grand, I still appreciate that quiet.

So, I’m in a tricky situation. Ideally, I want the place to be silent, but this is my wife’s home, too. Her “relax” space. What’s more, she is the main breadwinner at the moment, her income never used to be important but now, it keeps us afloat.

So I can’t say anything, I have to bite my tongue. When I hear the loud music, I suck it up. When she comes into my workspace on her day off and starts chatting to me, breaking my concentration, I suck it up. But inside, there is this silent “Grrrr”.

Anyway, that’s about as “peeve” as it gets.

Oh, and there was a din in the poem somewhere, to fulfil Fandangs’s One Word Challenge (FOWC).