By Arabella Chute
Day one: I have always loved books and have a leaning Tower of Pisa of them next to my bed. One of my favourite genres is science fiction, particularly dystopian futures. I always wonder what it would be like if these stories were real, how would humans cope, how would they react, what might the world look like in such a scenario? I never thought that the situations writers loved to imagine would come alive. Today, I moved out of my parents’ home, where I was temporarily based, into a little cottage half an hour away. Why? Because they are both in the high-risk category for coronavirus and I didn't want to be responsible for passing anything on to them, and they need someone on the outside. It was a tough decision to make, but it was a choice between my comfort or my parents' safety. When it comes down to that, the decision was easy.
Day two: All those images about loo rolls and empty shelves are real. What is happening! The panic is causing stress and more panic. As I have moved house I need to get the essentials. I slowly typed in different internet delivery services, but each page made my heart flutter a little more. 'Shut down', 'temporarily closed', ‘waiting time 5hrs', ‘suspended for the moment' or simply wouldn't open. Breathe - Okay, what are my options. I got in my car, prepared myself to meet the crowds of the panic buying and set off into town. Instead of going to a supermarket, I decided to try my local co-op. The shelves were well-stocked, the staff were terrific and keeping smiles and an air of patience as they restacked the shelves for the third time that day. Yes, there was no loo paper or hand sanitiser, but everything else was there. People were friendly and smiling at each other but respecting their distance. I remembered that inside Pandora's box, there was that little dove of hope that fluttered out, a beacon of light. We can choose what we hold onto, and after today, I decided to hold onto that little dove of hope. I returned home with less fear in my chest and a renewed sense that we shall get through this.
Day three: While I was unpacking, I placed a beautiful, old, black and white photo of my grandparents on the windowsill. They are no longer with us, but their memories live on in. Contemplating their images once again, they had both lived through the second world war. My grandfather was born in 1914, so had lived through the aftermath of WWI and served in WWII. The bedtime stories that my grandfather used to tell me growing up were not the Beatrix Potter that I loved, but instead, he used to regale me with adventure stories from the war. Thinking back to what that generation went through, makes me re-evaluate what we are facing today, we can only imagine what it must have been like for them. All most of us need to do is isolate ourselves. Many of us are lucky with shelter, warmth, running water, food and connections (be it online or loved ones). The old saying, 'Keep Calm and Carry On', that has become cliché in our times and placed on tea towels and mugs, perhaps it should be updated to, 'Keep Calm, Prepare and Sit Still’.
Life in lockdown. Womankind approached its community to write about life in lockdown around the globe, notably a three-day diary of everyday life under the threat of COVID-19. Womankind is publishing these stories freely to show how the pandemic is affecting women from all over the globe - from New York, to Barcelona to Glastonbury.
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