It is what it is

As someone utterly incompetent said recently, “it is what it is.”

A month ago, I characterized London as “slowly creeping toward normal.” Today, London has been placed on the COVID “watch list” – which as far as I can tell means Boris and Co. will sit and watch as we cede the gains made in containing the spread of the virus.

It ended up taking just about a month to get my BRP back from the DVLA, and a few days later my provisional driving license arrived. License number in hand, I was able to schedule a theory test. I took the first available, which turned out to be over a month out – the 3rd Monday in October. So I’ve got plenty of time to forget (and review) the material. And, of course, I can’t schedule the practical exam until I’ve passed the theory test. This country could stand to learn a thing or two about pipelining.

Once I had my license, I reached out to a handful of driving instructors. Most of them were either on sabbatical or were fully booked. I ultimately booked an hour with one who was neither. We got on reasonably well, and he was good at pointing out habits (like palm steering) that I’ll need to suppress for the exam. Once I can book a test, I’ll book a test, and he and I will spend another couple lessons in his Kia before I sit it. At this rate, I’ll be lucky to have it done by Christmas.

At his suggestion, I took a couple practice “hazard perception tests.” They show you a video from the point-of-view of a driver, you have to click on the screen when there’s a “developing hazard.” Your score depends on how early you recognize the hazard and react. These tests were clearly not made for motorcyclists. My first attempts I scored nul points – each of my clicks was just before the scoring window opened. Of course that farm equipment traveling parallel to the road is a hazard, waiting for it to turn into my path seems counter-productive. So before taking the test I need to practice reacting later. Somehow that seems very British.

Life has otherwise found a routine. I’ve been running three days a week, though we’ll see how devoted I am as the wet winter starts. Dawnise does the weekly shop and I help her mule it home. With apologies to Casablanca, “she buys the food, I cook the food, we eat the food. It is fairly convenient.” Most weekends we visit our local cafe for brunch, and we read the news from America with a mix of frustration, sadness, fear and resignation.

I’ve continued keeping track of noteworthy COVID-related articles I’ve read, though there have only been a handful in the past month that have made the list. And I’ve posted a few other thoughts that haven’t been about “life in London” and so haven’t been sent to this list.

So I’d say we’re still doing well, overall. We’ve had some rough days, for sure – when it’s been hard to remember we’re both on the same team – but more good days than bad ones.

I’ve started, several times, to write something about the election, or American politics more generally, but each time I’ve tried I end up deleting the draft and walking away. I’m at a total loss about how to have positive impact on any of those issues, but it’s reasonably clear that shouting into the electronic void won’t change anything.

So we’ll vote (absentee, it’s much better than mail in voting). And hope that enough of the country agrees with our perspective to vote with us. And hope that the popular vote carries the day. The whole thing seems dangerously close to the definition of insanity.

Doing the same thing, expecting a different result.

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