Paul Workman: Locked down in London, Day 4
A police officer walks in Downing Street in London after it was announced that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has tested positive for the new coronavirus, Friday, March 27, 2020. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
LONDON, U.K. -- It finally happened. Eddie snapped.
He and his family live next door, and like many of us under lockdown, he’s working from home, which requires a certain level of quiet and co-operation. That’s not easy when there’s a jackhammer banging through a basement floor just across the back garden. After three days of it, suddenly, there was Eddie on his balcony, having a go at them.
“I want the owner’s name and number!” (He later apologized for yelling.)
Eddie’s complaint was perfectly reasonable: Is it really necessary to use the bloody jackhammer all day? Nerves are understandably getting frayed. Perhaps that’s what happens when your favorite Primrose Hill pubs are shuttered.
For all of Eddie’s distress—and ours, as neighbors in arms—the jackhammering didn’t really stop, and the workers aren’t exactly practising physical distancing either, which admittedly is hard to do when you’re digging up a lower ground floor at close quarters.
Nor have I seen a single worker wearing a mask, which might be a good idea, if only because of all the dust and dirt they’re churning up, let alone the fear of contracting COVID-19. Some people are blaming contractors for not protecting their workers, others are blaming Boris Johnson for not shutting down construction sites, the way he shut down everything else, though far later than the rest of Europe.
Animosity may turn to sympathy now that the Prime Minister has tested positive and gone into isolation, remembering that his much younger partner expecting their first child.
Some of you might also remember that in early March he visited COVID-19 patients in a hospital and happily announced that he had shaken their hands.
Anyway, let’s get back to the smaller world of personal home confinement in the middle of a pandemic.
“Did you see the Americans are using blood plasma to treat the virus?”
“Ya. It’s supposed to be rich in antibodies from people who were cured.”
“Does it work?”
“Not sure. The Chinese have been experimenting with it.”
We used to talk about Brexit.
Apparenty there’s a proper way to wear a surgical mask and I got it wrong, as passed on by a friend’s sister who’s a nurse. (You can hide your face, but you can’t fool the experts.) It seems I was leaving a gap around the nostrils, which can be corrected by tweaking the wire band above the nose. Thanks Sue, at Mt Sinai in Toronto.
Today’s walk around The Regent’s Park—which I’ve re-christened the COVID Freedom Trail—involved running into a couple of Canadians wearing protective gloves, a duck up a tree, and a happy Sammy dog rolling in something irresistable, oblivious to the scourge around him. Nothing more than warm grass, one hopes.
Our flat has become a stay-at-home studio with three on-camera locations to choose from. For those who care, all it takes is a smart phone, a light on a tripod and away you go, live to the network. A viewer actually wrote to say he recognized some artwork in the shot. He didn’t say anything about the messy couch.
Anyway, that’s it for Day 4 under lockdown, which felt very much like Day 3, and for that matter, like Day 5. There are some things in life you just know to be true.