I’VE been on holiday. What do you mean you didn’t notice? I’m crushed.
What did I do? I went to Northern Ireland to see my mum, family and friends (as well as a lot of flags. We’re still big on flags in my homeland). Some hugging was involved. (To be clear, flags were not involved in the hugging in any way.)
When I came back to Scotland, I still had a few days off, so I went to the movies and even managed a couple of shows at the festival. That continued into this week when I went off to Edinburgh Park on Tuesday to see Damon Albarn and on Wednesday to the Corn Exchange to see Jason Byrne who made myself, my daughter and, I’m guessing, a few hundred other people, snort with laughter.
Going back to the movies was easy enough. Cinemas have done a good job at introducing social distancing. It helps that they remain relatively quiet, though that can’t be great for the business. Cinema admissions in July this year added up to nearly eight million. In pre-Covid 2019 that figure was 18 million and counting
Going to a Fringe gig where most people aren’t wearing masks was a bit more of a challenge, to be honest. Then again, the experience itself was a reminder of what’s been missing through so much of the last year and a half.
What does all this mean? I guess it might mean that I’m coming to terms with the double-vaxxed, mostly-opened-up, not-quite-post-Covid-yet world we’re all moving into at different speeds depending on our own risk assessments.
And there will be differences. I have friends and neighbours who are still reluctant to venture out. I have family members whose health means they can’t right now.
It’s almost banally obvious to say we are not all in the same place, either physically or mentally. But it’s true and maybe needs to be said more forcefully. So does the reminder that patience and compassion are more valuable attributes in the circumstances than being able to shout in bold caps on Twitter.
Because there might be bumps on the road out of this. I went to see the teatime Damon Albarn show on Tuesday which was good-natured and loud but polite. A few stood up, but mostly people stuck to their seats. During the second show Albarn invited people forward to the stage, a move that disgruntled some who were sitting near the front who weren’t comfortable with this at all.
“You wear masks at the bar and then you come in here and you take them off,” Jason Byrne said near the beginning of his show on Wednesday. “It’s mad.”
It’s at times discomfiting, certainly. As Covid numbers rise we are all moving through a constantly changing landscape. The fact that we are doing so at different speeds shouldn’t be an issue. The Covid equivalent of road rage because someone is going at a slower pace than you really isn’t helpful to anyone.
If you’re going out, have fun. It’s great that the possibility is there again, isn’t it? But don’t be having a go at those who don’t feel confident enough to do the same.