I am heading towards my third pair of slippers this year but am still wearing the same outdoor shoes I had in January.
Much as Covid-19 is unpredictable in its physical effects, so it is also erratic in its economic impact; while certain groups are more vulnerable than others, the financial brunt of lockdown has been borne unevenly, with little reflection of talent, effort or track record.
My daughter thinks doctors are brave. ‘I’m brave like a doctor,’ she said recently. This is not a quality I would have associated with medics when I was growing up, despite being the child of two of them.
When starting a game of shops, my daughter dons an imaginary mask.
Perhaps this is more a reflection of my mood than anything else, but people seem more optimistic these days.
Covid is rivalling the weather for small talk material in Britain. It has the same quality of providing background and colour to everyday events.
Despite all evidence to the contrary, we still cling to the end of the year as a deadline for this crisis to end. Contemplating the clocks going back this weekend and the extra hour that switching to Greenwich Mean Time will bring, a friend said, ‘I don’t want an extra hour of 2020,’ as if we will all wake up on 1 January 2021 with a clean slate and the virus gone.
Sometimes, when you encounter a person taking a markedly different approach to precautions and risk, it feels as if you live on different planets.
I have barely thought about many of the things that preoccupied me this time last year in months. Which makes it that much harder to get worked up about things that seem important now.
Beyond a brief sidelong allusion or two, I have not written Covid into the novel I am working on (at least not consciously). I wonder how long it will take for the changes in social interaction forged this year to show up in fiction that isn’t specifically about the pandemic. If mobile phones and the internet offer any comparison, it could be a number of years.
I'm a UK-based author, editor and Royal Literary Fund fellow. My first book, 'Reading the World' (UK title) or 'The World Between Two Covers' (as it's known in the US), was inspired by my 2012 journey through a book from every country, which I recorded on ayearofreadingtheworld.com. My next two books are novels, 'Beside Myself' (Bloomsbury, 2016) and 'Crossing Over' (Audible, 2019).
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