Alexander Brown: I went to Tory conference and all I got was the lousy Covid, and missed a wedding because of it

It’s not that I’d forgotten about Covid, but I’d stopped thinking about completely.
The conference ended in a positive covid testThe conference ended in a positive covid test
The conference ended in a positive covid test

I know that’s not a luxury available to everyone, but with life back to normal, outside of politics, it just wasn’t a thing in my mind.

Even for travel, you no longer needed testing for lots of countries, and I could just relax knowing I was unlikely to open a newspaper and read about variants.

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What’s more, having got it for the first time earlier this year, which was already quite uncool, I felt bulletproof and like the pandemic had blown over.

The Rona was a thing of the past, a bad period we all went through and could put behind us as a trauma to unpack another time.

It was funny to refer to it as the “panny D”, and go “ooo Covid” to every single cough uttered ever.

The great anxiety of passing on the virus was gone, freeing me up to worry about the cost-of-living or more important things, like Spurs.

No longer did I hesitate before hugs, carry hand sanitiser with me and now only washed my hands for maybe 15 seconds, giving me my life back.

The big questions plaguing me were not whether things were safe, but instead whether House of the Dragon was good, something I’m still not sure about.

So off I went to the political conferences, taking busy public transport to enjoy packed fringes and receptions, at least at Labour, where MPs were still willing to show up.

Little did I know that while a mood of discontent was spreading across the Conservative party, so was the virus, infecting your ol’ pal Al with a virus that stopped being topical a year ago.

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I walked around Birmingham in a daze, thinking my shortness of breath was simply conference flu, the traditional body breaking down after living too bloody large.

With the conference feeling less a celebration for the party and more a wake, there was so much patter I simply got through it, sustained by the chaos.

But arriving home after a luxurious coach home thanks to my comrades in the rail union, I realised quickly something was wrong.

Not only had I started saying comrades, but worse I was coughing, incessantly coughing, giving me a sexy Tom Waits voice if he couldn’t walk up stairs.

The morning of my friend's wedding I knew, obviously I knew, but having booked the day off especially, I engaged in some moral gymnastics, arguing with myself over whether I needed to test.

On the one hand I had a virus that had killed millions of people and could spread it at an event supposed to be a celebration, but on the other, I, personally, wanted to go.

Caving like a miserable little coward, I took the test, it was the faintest of lines but much like goals that come off your bum or shin, it still counts.

So I was a square and stayed at home, missing one of the big moments of those I love, each picture and “missing you” message hitting me like a new wave of sadness.

Essentially Covid was hell, now it just kind of sucks, and I can’t wait to forget about it again.



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