Terry Sarten

Singer Songwriter

Together Alone

As I go about my day, I have been hearing a variety of comments and views on the uncertainties of a world grappling with Covid-19.
Some of this has been about how families need to help each other and their wider community.
This new combination of circumstances could be described as ‘together/ alone. This reflects the thinking about what social distancing and self-isolation might mean as the retreat from the usual daily routines begins. This requires us all to think about how we can work together to maintain social cohesion while responding to the challenge of feeling more alone as the usual social contacts diminish.
It may be that some of the basic things in life take on a new sheen. Old style telephone calls or skype mean you can talk to family and friends without needing to physically go and see them. There has been a flurry of musicians streaming live shows to audiences and there is plenty of music and movies online to fill the entertainment gap. NB: Watching people fight over toilet paper in a supermarket does not qualify as entertainment – we can do better than that.
Books might become an interesting option. You can pick them up, put them down, read the ending first to find out what happens or disappear into a story and not come out till you know that the hero is still there on the last page. A happy ending is always satisfying. Libraries could help with that in these uncertain times by providing a Happy Endings section so readers can be assured of the outcome before taking the book home.
Reading comedy while in self-isolation can be stressful to others in the household if you are falling about laughing every few pages. I am currently chortling my way through a Terry Pratchett book and can see this is unsettling for those I live with. Reading the funny bits out loud is not always welcome
It is a great time to learn a musical instrument, a language, cooking skills, talking to your children/ parents/ grandparents, paint the shed or fix all the things on the to-do list as events and gatherings are cancelled or postponed.
In the wild, wild, west of social media there are some very strange ideas going untested and crossing the borders between facts and fiction. The fact that information that is not supported by facts is everywhere on the internet is nothing new but in the current context it is very unhelpful. People have mentioned seeing all kinds of nonsense that either makes them think they should panic now to avoid the rush or the hustling of dubious advice on things to buy that are not helpful and in some instances are dangerous.
Deciding what advice to take or ignore can be tricky. People can find all sorts of stuff on the internet but sorting the dross from the facts requires care. When searching the internet for New Zealand information on Covid-19, a good clue to finding valid, accurate information can be found by checking if it has ‘moh.nz or ‘govt.nz’ in its www address. This simple check is easy to do and will lead you to reliable sources of up-to-date information.

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