#Hometime

So the toilet paper is sold out in Tesco and the shelves have never been as empty. Perhaps the last time this happened was during the bizarre snow storm, which felt quite apocalyptic too, but the snowy landscape was beautiful and the snow melted away quickly.


This time the notion of being "snowed in" is presenting itself in a different form. There is no end in sight at the moment and to be honest with you, I don't think it has even started yet,


There is just one question hanging in the air - what is going to happen?.


As I head into the shops on the first Monday where more than 150,000 people are out of work overnight, I am apprehensive to say that the car park at the local Tesco is busier than an average Saturday. All the while on the radio, they are drilling home that in two weeks time, the country could be in a very grim state of affairs with potential patients battling for oxygen masks.


And I know that I am one of the shoppers out and about.


I think if that is the way we are heading, why would they not just enforce a lockdown right NOW. I see contradiction, I hear contradiction, I sense contradiction.


Within the whole of Tesco, I only spot one girl with a mask on.


I am scared mongered into thinking that by me shopping in the supermarket and interacting with the public, that I might be putting my parents at risk when I head back home. But my father is out and about getting the daily paper, milk and bread, my mother is after returning from abroad so she is in quiet mode at home and will tend to the garden and clean the house among other things..


I am thinking that if you tell one part of society to self- isolate, but then have others out and about interacting, how would this stall the onset of a supposed catastrophe?


I wonder too if the economy would survive if everything went into lockdown. It reminds me how volatile many industries in the country become in a crisis. Overnight our tourism industry has ground to a halt. One big party in Temple Bar that went viral online saw bars and restaurants shut, although this was going to happen regardless.


To tell people to self isolate but to keep post offices and other interactive places open seems bizarre.


I am writing this in a corner of a local cafe that is probably the only one left open in town. I am "social distancing" and I am aware of others' coughs and actions. I am aware too of the others that are gone to work this morning because they don't have the choice to practice "social distancing" and I salute them.


In this cafe, I am the only one under 70 which is slightly worrying. Is this not the age group that should be staying at home and out of harm's way from potential viruses lurking.


The news is scary today, but fear of the unknown is even scarier. And that is what this is, the unknown.


Luckily as an artist and writer, the "unknown" is something that I am well versed in and I have come through years of doubts, that this won't phase me as much. But, I am aware of the people that it will phase like, our vulnerable elderly, those that have had their jobs and routine ripped out from under them overnight, the travellers stuck in countries wishing that they booked a flight home earlier, the nurses and doctors on the frontline.


I am aware of them and for that reason, I will bunker down and minimise activity in the public and I hope most people will too.


I also know that we will be fine, because we are the Irish and we find solace and wit in any adversity, even if it feels a bit apocalyptic. Our dark humour carries us through.


This cafe will be shut within a day or two...it is just a matter of time.


But something good will come of this, wait and see, people will learn new things, families will be brought closer together, workers will reevaluate what matters, and the economy will come back even stronger when our nation decides to delight in staycations and appreciations for good aul Ireland.


I am advocating here, that within every woe, there is wisdom, within every darkness, there is light, within everyone of us there is a capacity to practice self love and care so we can be stronger for ourselves and for the rest of society..


I will leave you with an analogy I read recently that got be thinking -


"During our grandparents' time, people were called to fight in war, we are being called to sit at home and look after ourselves". We can do this.


Take care everyone and see you out and about for a coffee when this blows over.


And the coffee will taste even sweeter.



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