52 DAYS IN LOCKDOWN. HOW MUCH LONGER?

When we are freed from this lockdown what’s the first thing you will do – aside from seeing your nearest and dearest?

For many women it will be a visit to the hair salon. And if they can’t get an appointment they will probably prefer to stay in isolation for a while longer rather than risk being seen with long, straggly, mousy or grey hair.

Barbers (who incredulously have been among the first back to work in Spain) will also be doing good business. In my childhood they offered men “something for the weekend sir?” If you’re under 40 that’s one of the few ways men were able to buy condoms. Which makes me wonder how they’re all coping in the red light districts of Amsterdam and other cities. Do sex workers practise social distancing do you think?

The first thing I will want to do is visit the dentist. Round about the 49th day of lockdown I lost a filling. Not just any old filling. A ginormous, massive, huge filling that was almost as big as a tooth. Dentists are only handling real emergencies at the moment so what was I to do?

I consulted a dental friend of ours who seriously suggested I could fill the gap with some sugar free chewing gum! I went online and asked among our neighbourhood residents for their ideas. It was then I discovered you can actually buy something to use for a temporary filling. A very kind woman who lives in the area said she had some to spare and that she would leave it on my doorstep. Lo and behold when we came back from a walk there on the doorstep was a tiny little tub. The stuff inside looked just like putty or playdough. All I had to do was roll a small amount into a ball and plug the gap so to speak. It took a couple of hours to harden and my mouth has felt great ever since. I am incredibly impressed. Just think I could have been using this stuff all these years and saved myself a fortune in dental bills.

Most of us can’t wait for the lockdown to finish. And of course there are plenty who haven’t bothered with it at all which is probably why we still have people dying at an alarming rate (though less alarming than it was a week ago).

OH (other half) and I have now been in lockdown for 52 days. Not because we are shielded or vulnerable. But merely because we are over 70 – as is Joanna Lumley, Michael Caine, Martin Scorsese, Helen Mirren, Paul McCartney, Prince Charles, Jeremy Corbyn and countless others. Even that challenging hearthrob Jeremy Paxman (the thinking woman’s crumpet) is going to be 70 on May 11th. He has already ranted against the injustice to the over 70s in a piece he wrote for Saga Magazine.

How is it that we healthy over 70s are forbidden from seeing our grandchildren whereas Professor Neil Ferguson thought it was OK for his mistress to visit him? His reasoning, according to today’s Times, was that since he’d already had the virus he was immune.

Well, we, our children and grandchildren (and you too, no doubt) have also all been in lockdown but we wouldn’t dream of breaking it by seeing one another. How is it that we are able to keep to the rules yet Neil Ferguson felt he was above them? And he was one of the advisers who recommended the rule in the first place!

Yiddish has a word for that. Chutzpah. You say the ch in the same way as you would pronounce ch in loch. It’s a Yiddish word meaning extreme nerve or cheek. A good example of chutzpah is the tale of the lad who murdered both his parents and then pleaded to the judge for clemency because he was an orphan!

© Andrea Neidle, My Life in Poems

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