I am experiencing emotional turbulence right now.
Are you, like me, looking around and wondering what is going on? The other day I went into a restaurant and a masked-up waiter aimed what looked like a gun at my head. It turns out he needed to take my temperature before I was allowed in for a sandwich.
You know like when you go through the security gates at an airport and, irrationally, you’re consumed with guilt? As if that travel-size dry shampoo has mutated into crystal meth and you’ll be slung in the clink before you can say “But it’s Batiste!”
All at once I felt panicky (Argh – do I look, smile, hold my breath or what?!), taken aback (what the eff is that thing in your hand, dude?) and then indignant (why didn’t you explain what you were doing so I didn’t feel such a prat?).
I stood, a hare in headlights, frozen, praying the thermometer wasn’t faulty or lying or, bloody hell, that the tropical dry shampoo I’d liberally sprayed before leaving the house wasn’t actually meth.
And of course, it was all fine. No meth in my hair, no malfunctioning thermometer. The sandwich was nice too.
Do you remember back in March when we optimistically thought it would all be over by summer? When we clapped for carers and quizzed and PE’d with Joe?
And summer arrived with its heat of promise and we all went outside to bake our bodies on beaches and devour discounted dinners?
And now it’s nearly the end of September. The nights are drawing in. Boris is back on the box, white haired and white-faced, telling us to do the right thing.
You see, I really am doing my bit. I’m washing and masking and distancing and rule of sixing. I’m still grateful but I’m also … tired of it. I am trying to control but wonder: am I losing control? Are we losing control?
I have had a sense of a build-up within me recently. Like a rising tide of worry that is way more than what is usually is.
When I ask others ‘is it just me?’ they say: ‘No. No, it’s not just you. I feel it too.’
Together we confront the fear, the worry, the dread. We take away the power of the unknown, the unseen, the uncertain. We talk. We giggle. We laugh. We rant. We unwind.
We do this because it helps us cope; it slackens the line of fear tugging at our emotions, pulling us this way and that like puppets on a string.
It brings us closer together. It makes things easier. It makes us grateful. It fills us with hope that we’ll get through it. Because without hope, what else is there?