Today’s encounter with COVID WORLD was indeed weird.
It was pouring with rain. I parked in the town centre carpark and ran to the optician a few doors down the street.
I tried the door. It was locked.
The sign said,’Appointments only.’
Undaunted I rang the bell.
I tried to look in through the darkened door glass. A person sat behind the receptionist’s desk, not moving. I say person, but in truth it was a space voyager, kitted out with a helmet containing transparent visor, full blue body wraparound protection and the requisite face mask underneath the face visor.
Despite the dire threat that my presence was creating by being in the town centre, I persisted and knocked the door, wearing no mask.
Eventually the less than willing space traveller made the extensive journey from the desk to the door, all of ten feet. Instead of waving me off as a pest and potential threat to her future survival, she opened the door.
‘I know it’s appointments only,’ I said, ‘but I just want to drop these off.’
My baby daughter had bent my glasses frame. When I tried to bend them back, the metal snapped.
The astronaut grabbed them from my hand.
I just about recognised the local lass who had handled many enquiries from our family over the years, despite her being kitted out in fancy dress appropriate for an Apollo moon mission. Luckily she recognised me. I say luckily. I wore no mask or hat, so she bloody well should do! I was allowed only the briefest second to hand the glasses through the door, and then it shut. I ran back to the car, the whole trip taking no more than sixty seconds.
They have my email address so presumably I will hear back something more about what can be done to the glasses.
As I ran back, I passed the tailors. They’ve been in the town for centuries but now have a sign in the window saying NOW ONLINE. Even the smallest retailers are having to get into the virtual presentation of their goods, and compete with the multiples head-on. A year ago all of this would have been unthinkable. It was as if we’ve all been on a long space journey to another planet where no one speaks to each other any more, no one dares to look each other in the eye in case they cause the death of the people they are eyeing and breathing on. Welcome to COVID world – a weird world, void of emotion apart from fear, with no feeling and no fun.
My friend went to the dentist. He had to fill in a page claiming he was in no way a threat to the dentist or this patients, and only then managed to get an appointment. He had to wait outside until the exact minute of the arranged encounter, when the door clicked off its catch and swung open – on the minute. No words were spoken. He walked in and sat down where the dentist awaited him. After filling in another form stating that he had no symptoms of any kind that might make his existence a threat to the human race, his treatment went ahead.
At least he managed to laugh it off afterwards saying it was all ‘bloody ridiculous’.
I bought a bottle of whiskey.