Take a deep breath, and I don’t mean the kind promoted by fake memes infecting the web to “prove” that you don’t have COVID-19!
My deep-breath moment was in a small elevator at my doctor’s office. An able-bodied woman in her 50s bounded into the elevator behind my wheelchair and started burbling pleasantries at me. I said nothing, as I was preserving oxygen. We only had one floor to travel, so as long as the elevator didn’t break down, I could easily make it. All those years of snorkeling were finally coming in handy.
In the parking lot of the doctor’s office that same day, I ran into an old acquaintance. I used to play cricket with him on a school alumni team when I was about 13. (I was still in school and he was in his early 30s.) I remember that he was great at “tonking” (translation for my U.S. readers: hitting the ball really, really far, but in an undisciplined fashion).
He’s a very sweet man. But he was sniffling and wiping his nose on a hankie. At one point, he grabbed the motor controls of my powered wheelchair in a gesture of friendliness, saying what a beast it was!
As soon as he’d gone, I smeared antibacterial gel all over it.
He’d be mortified to read this, but it’s symptomatic of the time it takes for people to change. Thankfully, he wasn’t coughing.
In the past few days, our government in the U.K. has been scrambling to change its policy regarding containing the coronavirus. Until now, befitting of a right-of-center party, the Conservatives have followed a laissez-faire approach. But the utter turmoil in Italy has completely spooked them. It’s amazing that a virus can undermine ideology overnight!
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