Social distancing

As this pandemic continues to rage through communities, countries and continents, social distancing is still an issue. 

A few days ago I was in a local supermarket, waiting patiently to pay for groceries at the till, standing on the designated taped arrows on the floor ready to walk forward to stand behind the taped box by the till. Just prior to this, I had chosen to walk down a different aisle because another customer was dithering looking at products and not really leaving room for other customers to walk by them, and safely maintain the minimum 2m distance. 

As I’m waiting, stood on the arrows, there were two members of staff chatting, and I hear a gasp, I didn’t feel anything, but as I turned, said customer who was hogging the aisle, which in turn meant that I couldn’t walk down it, without passing them at a safe distance, walked past me. Now there certainly wasn’t a 2m distance between us.

We’ve heard, read and seen with our own eyes, members of the community, and society in general the lack of following and sticking to the directives by the Government. We’re now on day 2 of the Easter weekend, the shops are going to be shut on Easter Sunday and it’s the first bank holiday of the year. Many citizens will have had plans for this weekend, which given the pandemic are now cancelled. 

What does constitute social distancing? When I’m going to the bakery, and there’s other citizens on the pavement, I choose to walk on the road. I don’t really have to worry about any cars coming, because traffic has practically come to a standstill. By doing this, I’m ensuring there’s at least 2m between me and the other people or person on the pavement. The same can be said for the queue at the bakery. I was in it this morning. I followed the queue of people around the corner to get in line – something that reminded me of my childhood, watching the television in the late 80s and early 90s, of the images been transmitted from Russia/Moscow of its citizens queuing outside shops for groceries, and if they were lucky enough, they’d be able to purchase. 

I’m fortunate, I am able to place an order with the bakery and I can queue and collect. This morning I was waiting 30 minutes, until I was in the shop. The bakery is doing a fantastic job, and given that their produce is divine, they’re keeping the community happy; they’re also an independent business, and in such a time, it seems independent businesses are thriving. 

All of us in the queue this morning were adhering to social distancing, there was more than 2m spaces between each of us. As I’m close to the entrance, I’m observing a customer at the butchers (opposite me), she’s waiting patiently to place her meat order, walk in, pay and walk away. In a flash, this customer is chirping at a fellow customer who started to loiter around outside of the butchers but in front of the window and stood in the middle of the road… Now, having noticed this, and been close to the bakery entrance, I was wondering to myself how am I going to pass at a safe distance?

However, I didn’t have to worry for too long, as customer #1 chirped to customer #2 that they were not 2m away (minimum) and that they needed to move. Customer #2 looked puzzled, customer #1 wasn’t letting up, and customer #2 quickly got the message and stood behind customer #1. This isn’t the first time I’ve been puzzled by social distancing.

If we move closer to home, I see familiar faces who over the last several months have never really socialised on the front, unfortunately, I don’t have access to viewing their gardens, but maybe they used to socialise privately in the back… However, this is not the first time, that a gaggle of ducks has formed outside, and whilst they’re maintaining and sticking to their own front yards, it has crossed my mind whether they think this is acceptable or not?

Last week, this gaggle of ducks were enjoying a cup of tea or similar, a flash in my mind of the ‘cool kids on the block’ are in the neighbourhood. It seems the ring leader of this gaggle, politely informed me last summer, that their side of the street were home owners, and the side that I reside on is renters. Just for the note, I do love a little bit of passive aggressiveness. 

So here we are, Day 2 of the Easter weekend, and this gaggle of ducks and a peacock are social distancing again on the front, no doubt catching up on the mundanes of modern life, sharing recipes, and handy tips to self-isolation during this pandemic. Whilst for some citizens, who are cooped up in doors with children and potentially not having the outdoor space to let the ducklings and peachicks run riot, let off some steam, and enjoy a sense of freedom, they have not choice but to adhere to the directives. I do have to wonder quietly to myself who and what this gaggle of ducks and peacock think they are. 

Is it 1 rule for one set of citizens and another rule for the rest? So far restrictions in the UK are not as stringent as say in Paris, Italy or Spain. However, I do feel this bank holiday weekend is a test bed, and restrictions could be tightened up because of the selfishness and stupidity of others.

Only time will tell, but social distancing will be here for a long time to come.

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