Working from home? Not me! I had always resisted that idea. But the meetings in the office had been going on all week behind closed doors so we knew something was going on….
I’d asked for more desk cleaning and hand sanitisers for the desks as soon as the news about corona virus had become more serious. And I’d started even more hand washing and cleaning of everything around me. My bag and drawer were full of various anti bacterial wipes too. We’d started talking about it during the day and following the news on it.
At friends’ houses I was taking wipes with me and driving them mad cleaning everything. But nothing really prepared me for the sudden sea change in our lives that was coming.
The big TV screen behind us that was used for targets was suddenly switched to full time news.
Online news websites talked of nothing but corona virus. There was a strange undercurrent everywhere. People were becoming nervous. The last tube meltdown resulting in us bring rammed into bulging and crushed buses made me nervous. Passing through Gatwick on the train I saw a few people in masks.
Social food sharing stopped – fruit and snacks were cancelled. The local church stopped organised services. The gym closed. The canteen shut early.
And then it happened – we were suddenly taken into side rooms and told we were going to be working from home and it was all arranged…. And reality began to dawn on us – we were heading into a crisis with the rest of the world.
The following week the office and tubes became emptier and stranger. Social distancing was enforced at work (except in IT where they seemed strangely oblivious). We were going home a week earlier than the government announcement and we all sat round the big TV for Boris’s announcement. We all looked at each other and realised we may not see each other for awhile… I admit I began to feel afraid.
Business dropped off quickly. Products needed bits from China which weren’t available. The future looked precarious.
My last day at work was spent making arrangements and shopping for a few things. I had lots to take home (should I rescue the plants?). I was offered and gratefully accepted a taxi, staring out at my big beautiful city all the way home and worrying about the people.
The driver was way ahead of us and had a mask and gloves on. As we arrived at my home and I retrieved my bags he came towards me with a bottle. Hold your hands out, he said… He then poured hand sanitiser all over my hands. It was already a scarce product and he told me it cost him £15. It was worth it though he said, ‘ to protect his family ‘. It gave me heart – he had used it to protect me too – and it lifted my mood – we are all human and if we look after each other we can do this I thought.
By the weekend of course we knew we would all be in lockdown from the Monday – and our new strange lives began.
That was a few weeks ago now of course, but how it all ends we have yet to find out.
Giving up our normal lives was hard – will going back be even harder?
(Photos curtesy of Janice North)
Photo by R~P~M