Maybe I’m becoming increasingly grumpy in my old age. But I’m worried we’re all turning into a nation of navel-gazers. Our lives have become so small and self-contained, we seem to be focusing on ourselves to an unhealthy extent. At first it was amusing, to hear in detail everyone’s lockdown life: favourite desert-lockdown track, poem, lunge, neurosis, cereal, Netflix box set, hand cream, sweatpants… on and on we all went. Every inch of the media is now thick with intimate details perhaps we’d rather not know.
I sympathise, obviously. I’ve done it myself. What else are we poor buggers going to talk about, seeing as we can’t go anywhere, and we’re all in need of a vent. But, as with all the blanket coverage of Covid wind-ups and speculation we have to wade through every day, it’s just not interesting anymore. It was, for a while, but could we move on now?
Take Radio 4. Now, I’m an avid fan. I have the radio on a lot of the time, when I’m cooking or driving or in the mornings to catch up with the headlines. But I’ve almost stopped listening in the last two months. I don’t want to hear yet another theme on the virus played out in programmes that aren’t usually concerned with the news – when the news itself is scaring us, baffling us, and irritating us out of our wits. I almost long for the good old days of international death and destruction that didn’t involve a care home – tales from Syria, Afghanistan, The West Bank, Putin and Erdogan’s latest scams. Almost.
What’s the solution? As my dear father always said, ‘If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em’. So, read on… We had bacon for breakfast. We’re eating too much during lockdown, no idea why. (how am I doing?) Then my hero husband struggled manfully with my new desktop, transferring endless files while I sweated quietly in the wings, convinced all my work would disappear forever in a puff of the other sort of virus that no one’s interested in except the perhaps the Chinese these days. (Gripped yet?) After lunch of salad with unmentionables left over in the fridge, I went for a walk and flexed my unfortunately burgeoning nimbyism – hordes of incomers littering our quiet little harbour and weeing in the churchyard. And that’s pretty much my day. I hope you’ve been entertained? Answers on a postcard please, if such things exist anymore… you can see my mood has not improved.