Day 140 – Who knows?

There was a real chance, what with loadshedding, schoolwork, an actual face-to-face meeting, washing the rest of Cape Agulhas off my car and cooking one of my awesome chilli con carnes for dinner, I might have forgotten to blog.

But there’s enough uncertainty in the world without that sort of nonsense.

And so here I am.

And talking of uncertainty, are we right at the end of “the strictest lockdown on the planet”?

Who knows?

It’s been… [checks title of post]… 140 days so far, and tomorrow will definitely be 141, but at midnight tomorrow, the National State of Disaster ends and with it, the National Disaster Act, upon which the lockdown regulations are founded.

That would end the lockdown.

But we’re still at Level 3 out of a scale of 5 to 0, literally not even halfway home yet, and still losing the battle with the virus in several provinces, so it seems highly unlikely that things will just stop tomorrow night. In which case, the government needs to act. And surely some form of action has already been taken, it’s just that we haven’t been told about it. They’ve had 6 weeks to prepare. But still: dololo. This would tessellate nicely with the ever increasing government twattery over the whole handling of the coronavirus problem. I’m not saying that it was ever easy, but I am suggesting that they could have done a whole lot better, even on the basic stuff.

Ugh.

The smart money is on a move to Level 2, bringing with it cigarettes and alcohol, inter-provincial travel and – probably – more virus. But apparently, no decision has been made. With 30 hours to go, they really need to get a move on.

Of course, they might have just had a busy day. What with loadshedding, schoolwork, meetings and washing their cars. It happens.

Their chilli con carne won’t be as good as mine, though.

Day 127 – Happiest

It’s been four and a half months since we were here. I hadn’t realised just how much I had missed it.

Freedom, fresh air. Fantastic.

And our place still exists. Through the winter storms and the long, dark lockdown. It’s OK.

We’re being good and keeping ourselves to ourselves, but places here are open and there is pressure to support the local businesses, which have suffered and continue to do so.

We’ll play it by ear. In the meantime…

Heaven.

Day 124 – Bits of news

After yesterday’s unashamedly lazy post (hey, I was busy with other stuff – see below), let’s have some text on today’s effort, shall we?

The other thing I was busy with was a GooseChase. Basically, a fun*, interactive series of challenges which the teams have to undertake and complete within a given time period. This particular GooseChase is for the Virtual Quiz Groups that got together over lockdown, and while we’re still not allowed to see each other in the flesh or go round each others place and do things, I thought I’d lob one of these together for our entertainment. There is an app, but holey-moley it’s expensive. And expensive in USD – I can’t even work out how much it would be in ZARs.
Anyway, if you thought putting a quiz night together was hard work, wow. You ain’t seen nothing yet. An organisational nightmare.

But if it comes off, it has the potential to actually be quite cool.

What else?

Well, Garmin is half back. I was able to sync a bit overnight and although the interface looks (perhaps understandably) like it’s taken a savage beating and the cuts and bruises haven’t quite subsided yet, it is still breathing – just – and will hopefully continue its recovery. Amazing that it managed to find a ICU bed right now.

Talking of medical stuff, I need to go to a doctor’s office today and I’ve never been less enthusiastic about anything. It’ll be the smallest public space I’ve been to in months, and also probably the longest period of time I will have spent in any indoor public space all year. If you remember my Virus FAQs post, these were two of the things I suggested were best avoided, but sometimes, needs must. So I’m going to put on my Big Boy panties (and my Big Boy mask), take a deep breath (outside) and just do it. I’ll also have my Big Boy sanitiser along with me and won’t hesitate to use it.

Don’t test me.

I have been listening to The Lathums. They’re from Wigan, so the a is hard and harsh, just like all a’s should be (glass, grass, path, bath etc.)

Don’t @ me.

More here.

Finally, some more news on our shit government. This is an image from part of Andrew Mlangeni‘s funeral yesterday.

A true giant of Apartheid resistance, a Rivonia Trialist and an ANC stalwart, it obviously attracted a lot of attention. Hands crossed on the left there is village idiot Fikile Mbalula – currently the Minister for Transport.
Now I have nothing against a decent send off for Mlangeni: he certainly deserves it. But so does every other individual dying at the moment.
So the question is, why are there so many people there? And why are they standing so close to one another? That goes against the regulations for funerals which have been rigorously applied for everyone else.

And then Mbalula turned up on TV this morning saying that the situation “had been exaggerated”. With advance apologies to my reading audience: fuck you, Fikile.
I, like everyone else, can see from the footage that at least two of those regulations above are being ignored and that’s only out of three, given that it’s not nighttime.

Is it any wonder that the lockdown regulations are being so openly and regularly flaunted? The only difference is that there are fines, police brutality and criminal records for the general public. Fikile and his government chums get – at best – a gentle slap on the wrist.

It’s just another example of one rule for them, one for the rest of us.

Right. Rant over. I’m off to mentally prepared for this afternoon’s trip, and to see if I can sort out another couple of GooseChase challenges before lunchtime.

Have a nice day. Wear a mask.

 

 

 

* terms and conditions apply. 

Day 74 – A tweet about Italy

It’s weird.

We’re in the midst of a viral pandemic: one which has hit South Africa probably a couple of months after the country in which you might be reading this. (So I mean “now”). And yet, if it weren’t for the ongoing grumbling about not being able to buy cigarettes or inability to go to pubs and restaurants, you wouldn’t really know.

In Cape Town, people are meeting up with friends and family as if there’s nothing unusual going on. There are braais, walks, runs together – sometimes even with individuals in the well-publicised “vulnerable” demographics*. (Dafuq?!?) It looks like an entirely normal life, albeit one set against the backdrop of exponential infections, a struggling health service and a ever-steepening death rate.

And yet, the very first instruction in the Level 3 restrictions is:

You must remain at home at all times… 

It’s really not rocket surgery.

Social media is full of photos of people out and about with friends: sometimes masks on, sometimes masks off. But “it’s so uncomfortable to wear them all the time” and “you have to speak so loudly” and “it’s not like we’ve got the virus anyway” so I think that we can all guess what the situation is when the camera isn’t on.

What will it take for attitudes to change? Previously, I’ve guessed that it would be people being personally affected, but given the completely blasé approach from even well-educated, apparently intelligent people, I’m wondering if even that will have any effect.

So will attitudes change at all? Experience from other countries suggest that it would probably be a very good idea:

 

 

Sure, you can point to the numbers and the apparently extremely low chance you have of getting the virus, but remember that we’re so overwhelmed in Cape Town right now that we’re not even testing most people anymore (already a red flag, no?), and so you need to be aware that most local cases aren’t included in those figures anymore. And then there’s the “teeny tiny” death rate and the knowledge that most cases are mild, self-limiting, don’t kill you etc. I agree. It could give one an unfounded sense of security.

But in white SA, we’re (sadly) well used to other horrific health epidemics like TB and HIV, and those are problems which affect other cultures, not us**. We’re not used to having these problems in our houses and our immediate environs. So maybe this general indifference is because people think that this won’t affect them either.

Additionally, many of us are used to having decent private healthcare available whenever we need it via pricey health insurance packages. So maybe we need to have more than just numbers for “new positives” and “new deaths” each day. And since “didn’t die, but health was left so damaged that they’ll never be able to lead a normal life again” is a bit vague, maybe “available local hospital beds if you or one of your family gets sick” would be a good idea.

[Spoiler: Not very many right now. Likely even fewer tomorrow.]

Yes, yes, yes… I do recognise that I am banging my head against a wall. Shouting into the void. And I genuinely hope that you are not personally affected – whatever your behaviour over the lockdown period. But I don’t think that people understand how serious this is right now in our city, our province or our country. And I really don’t know how we change that.

 

* If you think this is about you, you’re probably right.

** I’m well aware that this is a gross oversimplification of a number of complex issues, but this post isn’t about them.

Day 60 – Good morning

Not just a salutation, but also a description of how my pre-9am period has gone.

So let’s run through the happy stuff for once, shall we?

A really cool quiz last night. I’ve been quizzing for 25 years, and I played rounds I’d never done before – novel stuff. It’s made me look at how I’ve been writing quizzes during lockdown and thinking about how to break the mould. Some really good ideas, even for regular stuff like music and geography.

There was Cyril’s speech. He was on time for once, nogal. And finally, a meaningful relaxation on the lockdown, countrywide, from June 1. As predicted/hoped for here:

If the purpose was to ready the healthcare system, then whether or not we managed to do that, there is very limited purpose in keeping the lockdown on: even in Cape Town, capital of the African branch of the pandemic.

Alcohol, yes – under strict conditions. Tobacco, no – which still rankles, even as a non-smoker. Exercise when you want. Stay at home if you don’t have to go out.

But we’re getting there. This was overdue.

Overnight, the first decent storm of the winter season. Over an inch of rain, 80kph winds whistling around the house even now.

Love it. Not every day, obviously, but there’s something so cleansing about a good storm, washing away the leaves, the dirt and in this case – metaphorically, at least – the virus.

And I went out for a run in this.

It. Was. Amazing.

It may have been my favourite run ever. No worries about aresholes with no masks, because there was no-one sensible enough to be out in the gales and the rain, and even if there had have been, the wind would likely have dispersed all their infectious exhalations anyway.

Link I said: cleansing.

That fifth kilometre. Downhill. Fast*. Alone. Such a fantastic feeling of freedom.
I really needed that.

It feels like we’ve turned a bit of a corner. The virus is still wreaking havoc out there, but we are at least a bit more on top of the things that we can control.

 

* 4:32. fast for me.