Driven to distraction by the pandemic - Janet Christie

The long road to recovery puts the handbrake on a celebration

Not quite cruising the road to recovery
Not quite cruising the road to recovery

With the news that Eldest Child has passed his driving test I’m doing a self-isolated conga around the workpod. Two down, one to go, with only Youngest tearing up the by-pass on her lessons to worry about, and pay for. Yay!

The only mis-step in the conga is that Eldest doesn’t sound as delighted as me. No, he doesn’t want that nice bottle of fizz I’m hauling from the back of the cupboard where it’s been rubbing shoulders with the phosphorescent Midori since the Christmas before last. What’s wrong?

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“Yeah I’m pleased,” he says. “I can finally stop practising.”

Aw. I’ve loved the practising, co-driving in the dual control car. The day trips over the bridge to Fife, the car parks of East Lothian, the carpool karaoke, the chats about life, the universe and everything, that time I lost my vape during his unexpectedly effective emergency stop. We never did find it. I’m still troubled that I maybe swallowed it. Sigh. End of an era.

“I just feel like it’s been going on for soooo long,” he says, “... the delays, having to rebook again and again, it’s just a bit… flat.” I push the fizz to the back of the cupboard. One day.

It does that, Covid, causes us to drag things out for so long that by the time you finally get to do them, you’re over it. Apathy has set in. Weddings, birthdays, milestones, finally going to the pub… I’ve lost track of the folk confiding they’d rather just stay in, wrapped in their new oodie and watch a box set.

“I know I should go,” they say, “but I’m only half way through The Terror,” the excuses being embraced with a fervour not seen since The Before Time. Killjoys.

“Just think of ALL the places you can go yourselves now,” I tell him. “The magic of a road trip, Route 66 - you’ve been reading Kerouac - OK, maybe not abroad, but the North Coast 500, the new South West Coastal 300, the open road, windows down, wind in your hair, going full throttle with a banging soundtrack?”

“I suppose we COULD drive to the beach one day,” he concedes.

“That’s it! As soon as it stops raining and the flooding subsides, it’ll be awesome.”

“Yeah,” he says, and disappears, with the air of a man about to tie knots in the four corners of a white linen handkerchief.

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