Elbow bumping, group chats, Mother's Day...
I'm amazed how quickly the new social protocols seems to become the norm: Ten days ago I arrived at the British Museum for my gig and we all shook hands. I felt a bit awkward doing it, and subtly went to wash my hands aftwards, but it felt more awkward to suggest we shouldn't be doing it. I had flown back from Geneva just a few days before but I didn't have any symptoms so I hoped I wasn't passing anything on. Three days after that we'd moved to elbow bumping to greet each other on our gig, with a bit of a chuckle about how silly it felt. Two days after that and kisses and handshakes on Eastenders placed the current soap opera into an entirely different era - the "two metre rule" is now very much the norm, and each day more stringent recommendations and restrictions are coming into order.
It's Mother's Day today. Me and my brother and sisters organised flowers to be delivered to my mum yesterday, and I cycled up to her house to deliver a card. I chatted to her from a distance, and cleaned my hands before I helped to re-tune her TV using her remote. WhatsApp messages have been sent today, and there will be a phone-call later, but that's the best she'll get from us this year.
At an informal street gathering (with all of us standing apart) a couple of days ago a neighbour was offering us all one of these plastic "bum washing" pots that she had brought back from Pakistan in case the toilet rolls run out in the shops. I'm not sure if it was a joke or serious (or a bit of both)!
This weekend the goverment have promised to support the self employed somehow (although they're still working out quite how), so for us musicians it's a matter of wait and see.
Facebook has now moved to posts reminding people quite how important it is to follow the advice, a few jokes, several people posting themselves and others playing music, posts noting how many people (and governments) don't seem to get it, and my latest post...
...asking for advice about what good TV series' to watch. "Not wildly violent or too weird! We loved The Detectorists (gentle-paced escapism with a happy ending and nice county scenes!), now enjoying Last Tango in Halifax (a bit grittier than I expected but good so far). Other ideas?" We've now got a list long enough to get us through several pandemics!
So I'm getting used to the idea of taking life a bit slower for a while, phoning friends and family, and maybe finding opportunities to volunteer where I'm needed.