Well, that was a bit of a year, wasn't it?
A year ago I was sitting traumatized by the images of Australia burning, with no idea that two days earlier a doctor called Li Wenliang had tried to raise the alarm about a new type of SARS coronavirus that seemed to be spreading. A few weeks later I was looking at flights for a year later, i.e. round about now, in the belief that I might finally have my medical issues under control enough that I'd be able to get on a long haul flight. That was about two weeks before the images started coming out of Lombardy...
When it became clear the thing had arrived in the UK and nucleated in several sites, I said to kalypso
that it might not be a good idea to go to Eastercon, as it would be the con crud to end all con crud. This proved to be a wise decision, even if the concom were unable to cancel the hotel conference venue booking until the announcement by the Prime Minister that all such gatherings were not happening for the foreseeable future.kalypso
lives less than half an hour's walk from me, and we have dinner together on most Saturdays. We have seen each other in person a handful of times in the last eight months. I have not seen any other people I know other than Other Half and my colleagues. I see my colleagues because I'm a key worker who can't work from home, so I've been going into the office all year. I don't much enjoy being on public transport, but I think it's better for my mental health than working from home would have been. All work that can possibly done at home with workarounds is being reserved for the clinically vulnerable people who are shielding so they can spend at least part of the day doing something useful, and even so one of them eventually came back into the office, because as he said, you can only paint the garden fence so many times.
Other Half is working from home, because his employer has shut the physical site and the staff are now living on Zoom. I could do without this on the days I'm on leave or come home early...
On the personal plus side, I only went to A&E once this year, and for reasons that were neither Covid nor my existing medical problems and/or medication for same. As for the latter, they have stabilised well enough that one outpatients department has said they don't need to see me any more and the other doesn't need to talk to me other than by telephone.
The remainder of the year was basically dealing with the Covid fallout at work, involving backlogs, trying to keep staff and customers safe, and everyone setting up and learning the new video links that were just being piloted for rollout over an extended period of time when all of sudden they were needed *right* *now*. Oh, and the elderly database that I keep muttering about on Twitter about the jam tomorrow replacement? Don't even ask.
As for how terrifying this is - quite a lot. But for some of us there is also this, slightly lengthened from my Twitter post on Christmas Eve:
A strange and unpleasant chain of thought this evening. The now traditional Christmas Eve TV offering of The Snowman often reminds me of another Raymond Briggs book. I'm old enough to remember the decommissioning of most of the UK's civil defence siren network after the end of the Cold War.
Part of the justification was that by then private telephones were so ubiquitous that in most areas any warning needed could be sent by automated telephone calls to the entire country. A telephone message could be customised to the particular warning needed. The spread of home internet and mobile phones made this an even better option.
I'm a child of the Cold War. I still sometimes have That Nightmare when woken by a thunderstorm.
I never dreamed that the first time I would see the civil defence warning system in operation would be for a pandemic.
On the whole, I think I prefer the pandemic. Or at least *this* pandemic, horrific though it is.
Thank you, Stanislav Petrov
, that I am still here to be able to make such a comparison.
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