Real life

Join me for weekly Scream If You’re Going Round The Bend

16 January 2021

9:00 AM

16 January 2021

9:00 AM

Never mind Clap for Carers, I’m trying to start a new weekly morale booster called Scream If You’re Going Round The Bend.

The idea is you come out on to your doorstep once a week and stand there screaming until you’ve got it all out. It could be fantastically cathartic and do much to help the growing mental health problems caused by lockdown.

Let’s make it every Friday at 8 p.m. I don’t want to clash with the key worker hero worship, so Thursday night is out, and doing it on Wednesday would only make it look as though I was trying to upstage Our Wonderful NHS. If we make it Friday night it could be something to look forward to, a way of starting the weekend.

While wailing and crying in public may look primitive, it does help process the emotions to let them out at a set-piece occasion. Formal screaming sessions once a week might go some way to stopping people jumping off buildings and drinking themselves to death.

Some of us are getting very depressed. You can sense the despondency now, the foggy-brained weariness, and above all the boredom.

In my little corner of Surrey, the locals seem to be coping. But when you scratch the surface, it becomes obvious that many are struggling, and the way this manifests itself is in acts of gross pettiness.

I wrote last week about the disappearance of my second parking space, as one of my near neighbours moved up on me into the communal space outside my house, leaving a good five spaces the other side of them, only one space for me and the builder boyfriend to park our two cars, and then giving us accusing looks when we parked the other side. When someone starts filming you through their living room window on their iPhone while you are trying to park the car you can’t fit outside your house because of them you know something is up.

I think it may be the only thing left to fill their time. How do people fill time when there is too much of it? When they’ve finished doing everything reasonable, there is only the unreasonable left to explore.

So we gave up on a second space. Let them have it, if it will cheer them up, we thought.

But after going out to feed the horses one evening, I returned home to find they had moved even farther up and were occupying both our spaces. We had nowhere to park either car and were entirely displaced. As there are lots of empty spaces nearby, most of them outside the home of a neighbour who has another property and does not appear to be coming here for lockdown, it doesn’t really matter.

But every time I come home, park my car in the wrong place, look at someone else’s cars parked awkwardly at a jaunty angle, spaced out across three spaces outside my house, it occurs to me that this lockdown fatigue is unsustainable, and can only lead to an ever decreasing circle of curtain twitchery as the boredom bites and communities turn in on each other.

It makes me want to scream just thinking about it. The BB and I are fine. Our lives go on as before, because when you have animals there is no furlough-subsidised lounging about the house all day, drinking lemon liqueur. We have to feed and muck out. The builder b still has to clamber around on a roof, an essential hero apparently, although no one claps. I have taken over doing his horses as well as mine so he can go straight to work. Muck and mud keeps me sane. I don’t know how everyone else copes.

A few months ago, a friend of mine told me of a mutual acquaintance who died in his flat. They found him days later. He had been alone, drinking. He choked to death on his dinner.

His demise was not dramatic or headline-grabbing. There was no fanfare on Twitter, no YouTube video. He will barely register as a statistic, I suspect, and his death won’t be linked to lockdown. It was an accident. The kind we allow to happen.

We don’t allow anyone to die of Covid without one hell of a hullabaloo. Not even if you are 98 and suffering from cancer, heart disease and high blood pressure will your death from coronavirus go down as anything other than an outrage and a crime against humanity that could and should have been prevented.

But it seems we are perfectly happy to let people get drunk and choke to death. No one is making the least song and dance about that.

I will be screaming about this, and other anomalies, on my doorstep on Friday night. Join me.

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