Lockdown Football

Yesterday, after much foreshadowing, Boris revealed a four stage plan to ease and end UK lockdown restrictions.

Dawnise and I watched him read the prepared statement to a small group of MPs.

The plan targets the end of July, by which time his goal is that every adult in the UK has been offered the vaccine. It seems cautious and rational. The dates are “no earlier than”s. The delays between steps are driven by how long it takes to see and measure the impact of the previous change on the key metrics.

It’s the sort of plan that should have proposed during the first lockdown. Or the second. I’m trying to say “better late than never” with a straight face.

And really, as much as my rational mind approves of a plan that (finally) “follows the science,” I’m struggling to keep perspective, and to stay positive.

Put a fork in me. I’m done.

Telling people they maybe might get most of their lives back at the end of June is like Lucy holding the football for Charlie Brown saying “this time, for sure.”

I’m fully expecting it to get yanked away, leaving me flat on my back.

And yet… I’ve been wrong before. Take the frankly amazing progress in creating and distributing vaccines.

A year ago if you’d offered to bet that we’d have multiple highly efficacious vaccines, that over two hundred million people would be inoculated, and that vaccination would actually reduce serious illness… well, I’d have certainly bet against you.

And happily I’d have lost.

Unexpected Optimism

We had a cold spell in London. Not Texas cold, but a week when temperatures stayed below freezing, icy sidewalks and pockets of snow accumulation.

The past few days have brought a thaw – temperatures broke 10C on Friday and are forecast to reach 15 today. For those about to reach for a conversion table, or who remember C and F are related by some funny fraction and are trying to remember how to do math, a friend offers an easier way: Zero is cold, 10 is chilly, 20 is nice, 30 is warm, 40 is hot and 50 is Dubai.

We realized, when I “got home from work” last night that we hadn’t figured out anything for dinner. “Getting home” these days entails a ritual we started when I worked from home for a few years in the 90’s and resurrected for the pandemic – I emerge from wherever I’m working and announcing “honey, I’m home!” – silly? A bit. But also practical – it’s an overt transition between work and not-work, and it’s just as useful now as it was then.

We decided on Pizza from our local pizzeria – they’re a short walk from the flat so I called in our order and set out to retrieve it.

Walking past St. Luke’s Garden I was abruptly and inexplicably optimistic. For a moment, in the cool evening air, everything was okay. If not okay, then at least on the mend. Getting better. The city would make it through, as cities do and have done through history. Fluctuat nec mergitur, and all that.

I picked up dinner, we ate while finishing Season One of The Expanse, and I headed to bed, leaving Dawnise on the sofa, not quite ready to turn in.

The next day, after a fitful night sleep and waking up noticeably out of sorts, I’m struggling to recapture that fleeting feeling.