Facing the Future

Image by nvodickaIn the olden days, before coronavirus, robbers used to wear masks when they made their way into banks to make off with the daily takings. In retrospect, it seems pitiful to relate that their loot often amounted to less than they might receive in present-day dole money without getting out of bed. It is tempting to wonder how they might have felt if they found everyone else in the bank was wearing a mask -- or, indeed, if a stern bank employee instructed them to stand behind a line on the floor and wait their turn. Imagine their dismay as their potential haul diminished with each withdrawal made by those ahead of them in the queue.

We are constantly being reminded -- as if we somehow knew already -- how different our existence will be in the future. Modern soothsayers would have us believe that in the midst of a pandemic they already know how life plays out beyond it. "We will probably still have to cover our faces at times," they announce, possibly pursing their lips, we can't tell behind their face masks. As if they are explaining rocket science. Do they expect applause?

Another recurring favourite is, "You realise you probably won't be flying anywhere abroad in the near future?" Yes, thank you, I did check my bank balance recently. And my passport expired shortly after my optimism.

One prognosticator warned us that "we must relearn the old ways." He wasn't wearing a wizard's hat and star-spangled robe, but he still managed to make me laugh. The old ways? What, walking near to others in the street? Buying non-essential goods in shops? Having my hair cut? I never did any of those quaint olde worlde things very much anyway.

Come to think of it, how I behaved pre-covid was pretty much how everyone else was later advised to act, i.e., stay at home and keep busy. In my case, I mostly sat in an armchair and read books or watched television programmes in which female detectives ran after male criminals in an athletic manner. The books kept my mind active if nothing else. And I did cut my own hair, which kept getting in my eyes. I was way ahead of my time for once, even though at 74 most of my time is now behind me.

One aspect of life that will be different -- or return to normal, if you prefer -- is that prices will go up steeply. Only this time the pandemic will be blamed, rather than the previous government. Let's just hope that we don't end up with inflation like Germany's, when the price of a mug of beer once rose to 52 billion marks, and even then you had to return the mug to the counter. On the other hand, at such least outrageous prices would mean that the pubs are open again.



Image by nvodicka

 


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