Pandemic diary 21: Illegal meeting?

Clem does the rabbit Hokey Cokey, with bonus gifts all around.

A totally free day, what to do, how to spend it to ease the tensions of the world?

I had pre-arranged elevenses with two neighbours who live alone. We each brought a mug of tea or coffee, and stood 3m apart like a triumvirate or as a passing friend said, a druid's meeting. We practised extra distancing but still had half an eye on the police showing up. There is to be no meeting up with people outside your household – so we did break the rules. And yet, this was safer than a supermarket visit, or being buzzed by joggers and cyclists on pavements and footpaths, or dropping off shopping that has been touched by numerous people. Plus, we were further apart than if we were in our tiny, close back gardens.

There is confusion over some of the messaging. most of which says 'stay at home' but also practise 'social distancing'.

I'm writing about this so I obviously do feel bad about breaking the guidelines. The reason is not that we were unsafe but that if it is seen to be ok to meet (even while rule-following) then others may meet up and not be safe. Between us we wondered if what we were doing was actually illegal or did it just become illegal if we refused to move on. Or because we had pre-arranged it rather than happen to meet on our daily walk around the block.

Either way I don't think I'd do it again. Even without taking risks, it's not worth the stress or the possibility that it might be encouraging others to do the same (which I think is more an argument for beaches and scenic public spaces than a street in Stirchley). But if I'm doing it then others surely are, and that's why it has to stop. 

Coronavirus has changed the way we move in our public spaces and how we feel about them. Guilt and oppression is not something I would ever have imagined feeling just by being outside in my local neighbourhood.

The rest of the day was spent at home. Our rabbit is going into the vet tomorrow morning and we want to spend as much time with him as possible, just in case. Tonight I gave him the run of the whole garden and his choice of flowers – it felt a little bit like offering a last meal to someone on death row. But he is still being very rabbity so we'll see.

We finally got around to some clearing and cleaning. But now I'm wondering where does this box of stuff for charity go now the shops are all closed?

So… there was no relaxation but there was a lot of distraction and activity. I'm not sure I know how to relax anymore. That's what holidays are for. And holidays are a long, long way off.

Today I am thankful for a friend's phone call out of the blue.

Commission/hire me: fiona [at]

2 thoughts on “Pandemic diary 21: Illegal meeting?”

  1. A few of us who run together have taken to doing wave-bys, where we run past each other's houses within a certain time and have a wave from a window. But sometimes I've been on my front step (or they have) and whoever's running has stopped for a quick chat. Always 2m+ from each other, never if anyone has symptoms, and if someone comes along the pavement, the runner moves back into the road. That feels OK but oddly when I ran into someone I know when we were both running and we stopped for a chat, even though we had no idea we were going to meet, it felt a bit wonky and wrong!

  2. Yes, I think there is a weird thing about meeting people away from the home. Home is base so it's ok. Doing exactly the same thing but in the park, not so much.

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