The Hunger Games Bog Roll Brawl’s
Look at the shelves of your local supermarket and you’ll be greeted with scenes straight out of a zombie apocalypse movie. People have been stockpiling out of fear and panic due to the creeping coronavirus. No one knows what’s going to happen or how many of our loved ones could be lost because of it, so our survival instinct has kicked in. Our most selfish, primitive selves are out to play and it’s a horrific scene.
Egoism V Altruism
Lots of people don’t seem to care how their actions are affecting others, if you look at the aggressive fights over loo roll in your local Lidl. However, another group is boasting a level of kindness people often rely on to get through times like these. It’s a classic case of egoism verses altruism. This dichotomy is characterized by an individualistic nature in the former and a concern of welfare for others in the latter.
Don’t Just Look Out For Yourself…
People stockpiling for themselves means the people who can’t afford to stockpile from their last pay check go without. People that are housebound go without. People that are elderly will go without. People that can’t reach the top shelf quick enough are even going without. People acting as if they’ll run out of pasta are acting on an irrational fear of the unknown and are exacerbating retail conditions, but if we all bought just what we needed we’d reduce the strain on shops, delivery drivers and staff. Having that loo roll supply for a year will probably be negated by congregating in a crowded queue anyway so… you might want to check you’re logic too.
…But For Each Other
On the opposite end of the spectrum, some community groups, including on the virtual forum of Facebook, people are banding together and volunteering their time and potentially risking their health to bring supplies to those in self isolation and the elderly. The corner shop in Scotland that is now famous for making up protection packs containing hand sanitizers and other helpful items is another example of the charitable kind heartedness we want to see.
Of course a majority of us fall into the middle. We might not driving to the shops like we’re in Grand Theft Auto to surreptitiously move the whole of the supermarkets stock to ours, and equally not be standing up and volunteering as tribute in this scenario which is starting to feel a little hunger games-ish. We’re the average Joe, what are we really meant to do that will make a difference?
We can WhatsApp our nearby friends and neighbours, ask them if they need anything during this stressful time. Maybe 65 year old Susan that has a lung condition has some errands to run and would greatly appreciate if you could run to Superdrug for her so she can avoid the outside air for that hour. Maybe 25 year old fit and fighting Frank has anxiety and this constant news stream where world leaders are telling us ‘We’re going to lose more of our loved ones’ is worsening his mental health. Perhaps you could go to his for a tea (just keep that 2 metres distance).
There are little actions we can all take, even if it’s making sure our loved ones can feel a little more relaxed in a time of such unnerving uncertainty. It’s not a time to be selfish and let our ego make decisions for us. It’s not a time to be going to the club to bust your moves in a space small enough that the other person’s sweat is clinging to you. It’s the time to be Netflix and chilling, preferably on your own or with a small group of people in a ventilated room.
A Balancing Act
The UK government guidelines aren’t exactly hard-line enough to really stop healthy people going out to a café, bar or cinema. They are asking for us to stop non-essential travel, but leaving it largely up to us to make a choice. I’m not saying don’t go out at all to have fun, as I would be a hypocrite. After all, I traipsed to London Bridge yesterday to play archery (prebooked of course) with some friends. That would be described as non-essential to many but I rationalised it as it having been prebooked and needed for my sanity. I was also planning to go cinema tomorrow, but have decided to cancel, because quite simply I can live without it.
Think about the people you may encounter on your way to each activity, who you live with, who you have to come into contact with regularly and who you just want to. Think about the pros and cons and be honest with yourself. If you want to see your friends Friday night, by all means go for it, but think about those cough droplets. Think about the space you keep between you, how far you’re commuting to see them, if alternative plans can be made how many of you there are and who you’re going back home to and if you’d be putting them at risk. Think about how you can keep people’s spirits up by spreading your care and kindness, without spreading the germs.
A National Effort
There isn’t a lockdown on all fun (not yet), but we must be more cautious than ever and kind. Last month’s viral hashtag of #Bekind has been seemingly swept away by this month’s more literal viral thing, but it should apply now more than ever. Be kind, be thoughtful and be helpful where you can. It really is a national effort and we all have our part to play.
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