Day 41

(Ignoring) Social Distancing

What with all the no traffic to not negotiate, we fairly skated down the infamous Hill Section of the M2 yesterday on our non-essential trip to pick up essential equipment from our work places in order to keep doing non-essential work from home. [Now that is the type of call-back I like; keeps the sale of back issues ticking over – Ed.] As we approached the provincial backwater that thinks it is a city (no, not Lisburn or Newry – Belfast itself), part-time wife came up with a mildly interesting theory regarding the success of various countries in dealing with the Kerfuffle. According to her, the countries run by women are doing better. In her defence of this theory before the hastily-assembled PhD differentiation panel in the car (ie me and the daughter, who kept her headphones on throughout), she produced (our of her hat) Germany and New Zealand, both of which are currently luxuriating in the anomaly that is a female head of government. And, fair enough, those two countries are keeping the deaths down fairly well. In retaliation – sorry response – I brought into evidence Marlene and the toss-a-coin approach evident in the response to covid-19 in Norn Iron. I proceeded to immediately contradict my own point [not like you at all – Ed.] by pointing out to the panel and to the applicant/supplicant/candidate that Norn Iron does not actually have a government: it has a legislative assembly, which is not the same thing at all. I am probably navy in the face by this stage pointing out this matter on various argument websites on the interwobble, but maybe the message will get through some day: Norn Iron is not a country, never was and never shall be, through the grace of God, rest in peace, amen.

Sorry about this, Lick&Spittle have just phoned up with an editorial query. [Where did they get your number? I don’t have it – Ed.] It’s from yesterday (there is a bit of a delay on the phoneline from Ballygobackwards to here) rather than from further down in today’s post in the part not yet written, and they require elucidation on the actual meaning of the phrase used then, viz “to all occupying makeshift, canvas sleeping equipment and dolphins”. Ach, c’mon off it lads! That is Editing:101 stuff, and youse should have been able to work it out using the communal brain cell. As in hurling, however, according to Woody, “The first one is free,” and so – just this once – I will talk the two minion editors through the construction and subsequent deployment of the phrase. In any form of writing, except when necessary, it is advisable to avoid cliché (like the plague). The phrase “to all intents and purposes” is an example of such an overused arrangement of words, and so I avoided it successfully while still using it. Are youse with me now? Youse are going to have to up your game, lads, if you do not want to be put out to grass, or furlough as the UK Government (which is more of a misgovernment at the moment) terms it now. What’s that? Marlene? That is shorthand for the amalgamation of Michelle O’Neill and Arlene Forster, the two blades currently not really running the administrative region known as Norn Iron. Now, get back to work!

Back to the part-time wife’s defence of her PhD thesis. In summation, she revealed that she came up with the fanciful idea when observing the behaviour of local men in the local shops, and in the supermarket I released her into (with my money) on the way home from our non-essential trip to Zombie Apocalypse City, Arizona. Men, according to part-time wife, “Just haven’t a clue.” This is not a general observation – although it could be – but a particular insight into men’s attitude to the idea of social distancing when in shops, and to hygiene and germs in general. They just barge right past you in the aisles, according to yer women, and seem to think this covid-19 stuff is a Belfast thing and sure nobody round here has got it. Not yet, they haven’t. So she extrapolates from this individual, particular experience of local men’s laissez faire attitude to dirt and germs to construct a surprisingly semi-accurate analysis of world government. And fair fucks to her, I say. I mean, no one has proved her wrong yet on Twatter, and that is the source of all wisdom and knowledge, apparently.

So should we all move to New Zealand? (Nobody in their right mind would voluntarily go to Germany.) [Germany for you, then? – Ed.] Too late, unfortunately. Having, like Rathlin, Tory and Árainn Mhór (hi, Proinsias) before them, realised that it is an island, New Zealand is not letting anyone in, and hasn’t been since 19 March. Got that, Marlene? I know only half of you knows that Ireland is an island that does not stop at Fermanagh, but still – bang the rocks together, girls!

Spittle wonders in passing if New Zealand is not actually two islands, but he can stay wondering. Or open a reference book.

I survived the interrogation by the fuzz, by the way. They tried to catch me out over the intercom by asking how many people were in the car before they would remotely raise the barrier into my frontline workplace. I knew rightly they were watching me on CCTV, so I told them the truth, not my usual approach, admittedly, when helping the police with their inquiries. Here is a life hint, by the way: live your life as if you are constantly being watched on CCTV. Because you are. Except in your shed. isolation blues

They followed up with a supplementary though, trying to catch me off guard. “Are they all from the same household?” they probed. “According to my wife, they are,” I countered, “but I have never actually got around to getting the DNA test done.” That shut them up. As regular readers know, the sulk in the back is only related to me by marriage. So is the part-time wife, as it happens. In like Flynn I was to the workplace, picked up the non-essential item I do not really not need to continue my non-essential work, had a wee spin in the Chief Executive’s chair because there was nobody else in the building and then got the flock out of there and back home to the safety of the ranch.

That covid-19 nonsense is really only a Belfast thing, I reckon.


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