Terry Sarten

Singer Songwriter

Going to Stay Home

If aliens arrived from space today, they would discover that the world was closed. There would be nowhere they could buy Star Wars merchandise or a replacement sofa for the battered old one in the space ship.
They would head back into the universe lost in disappointment, shaking their antenna in frustration and continue their hunt for intelligent life forms.
In a week or too we will all look like something from the 60’. With barbers and hairdressers closed we will all look a bit wild and woolly. The trick to responding to the relative risk of becoming somewhat dishevelled in appearance and emotionally disgruntled will be finding ways to remain, in the face of adversity, both unshevelled and ungruntled. This will be a challenge for many of us. My own recent experience of shouting at the internet when the video conferencing technology failed is a good example of disgruntlement.
One cumulative advantage we will see is the development of fine singing voices after a week of singing repeated verses of “If you happy and you know it wash your hands” while we carefully wash our hands with soap and water. NB: Bathrooms have a wonderful echo effect which makes everyone sound amazing.
It took a long time but the International Olympic Committee has finally, at the last minute decided to postpone the Games. It is not clear how it could have possibly gone ahead? The runners would have had to have at least 2 metres distance between them which would mean some going slower to maintain physical distancing. Wrestling and judo would have required competitors to wear full hazmat suits and relay runners needing to use hand sanitiser before passing the baton to the next runner. In the spirit of the times, winners could have been presented with rolls of gold, silver or bronze coloured toilet paper.
There was an interesting piece in a German newspaper asking various experts what was this thing with the stampede to buy massive amounts of toilet paper? Some were puzzled by this bizarre behaviour, others felt it was a classic human response to want to take control of something in a world that seems to be out of control. Why this would be toilet paper is harder to fathom. One suggestion was that, unlike fresh produce, toilet paper is not a supermarket item that in usual circumstances is restocked daily. Customers see the shelf emptying, have a fit of FOMO and rush to get the last ones, missing the fact that in a few days the shelves will be filled again as another truckload arrives and there will be enough for everyone.
The German media are using a new word - Hamsterkaufen (Hamster shopping) This is a wonderful descriptive term that captures the madness of hoarding shoppers frantically rushing the supermarkets and panic buying. The image of scurrying, worrying people storming the aisles is a meme for this moment in history.
For those in the risk age groups of over 60’s and 70’s it may boost moral to bravely wear a T-Shirt proclaiming membership of the ‘Risky Cohort’. This sounds suitably tough, a bit like a gang but one that is staunch in its intentions to look after itself and others.
The Prime Minister has told us to stay home. Not quite the parental call to “go to your room and think about what you have done” but instead a call to think about what we can do to keep everyone safe and look after each other. Take care.

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