Whether it's the lack personal interaction, the ban on hugging, just in case, or the lack of opportunity to pass the time of day with some aimless small talk due to the fact so many of us are working from home, 16 months or so in, everybody's missing some aspect of the old normal.
Travel is one of the things I've missed the most. The ability to hop aboard a flight to Dublin to see family, or to climb on board one of LNER’s Azumas for a weekend in London, a catch up with friends and maybe even a show or two - yes some have reopened already. Got to be a positive sign, surely.
That it was recently announced Jennifer Saunders is to return to the West End as Madame Arcati in Blithe Spirit, is also something I'm taking as good omen. That was the last stage production I saw as lockdown loomed – less than a week later, Saunders and co took their final curtain call as the lights went out in theatres across the UK. It's due back from September, will that be the month we all finally unlock? You have to hope so. Even as the current restrictions are stretching further into the future just as we were expecting them to lessen, the signs are definitely there.
Travelling to London in a couple of weeks time will be a watershed, I'm sure. Having been frustrated in my attempt to nip over to Dublin for the day to see the godmother recently - the idea was to fly in and out on the same day… but visitors from the UK must now quarantine for 14 days in Eire. Understandable in the circumstances . So I'm keeping my fingers crossed there are no local lockdowns in the offing here.
It will be interesting to see just how much lockdown fatigue is in evidence when I do travel. You know the kind of thing, masks worn as chin warmers, lack of social distancing... I could go on and on.
So, while normally I look forward to the journey every bit as much as spending time at the destination, it will be telling to see how many of my fellow travelers abide by the rules when, from what I saw earlier this week, it appears many no longer do so on short bus journeys. On a rare trip on one of Lothian Buses’ people-movers, of the nine folk on the upper deck, all but one of six females appeared exempt from wearing masks, although the two dressed up to the nines definitely thought they had a good excuse; having donned their masks to board, and again to alight, in between they discarded them as they produced cans of gin and tonic from their handbags to quaff during their 20 minute journey.
Bizarrely, I took a perverse comfort from seeing that, it was so random it just confirmed a degree of normality is returning… that or lockdown fatigue has finally won.