It was the busiest of times, it was the slowest of times. It’s easy to lose track of the days. After talking a lot to family and friends yesterday it is clear we are all still adjusting.
I did work but also enjoyed the sun and did some recording on some tracks we’ve been sharing. One is in Melbourne, another Tauranga and me in Nelson. So far it’s all good. We’re all running different recording and DAW software, but so far so good.
In other news it’s feijoa season and the tree has a boatload of fruit on it. I cut it back last year and it’s now not only misshapen but also covered in fruit. These are rat food to the neighbour, so we are on daily fruit patrols!
News today of NZ’s first death from coronavirus on the West Coast. Not unexpected, but still very sad, and it makes everything that much more real, especially for the front line workers. In a small community it will be especially difficult.
Hopefully it will also reinforce the message we have to stay home and stop the spread.
So how did we spend day 4?
Mostly on calls to family and friends around the place. Everyone is keen to keep up contact. Most seem to be prepared and ready to make the most of the break. What else can you do, right?
Getting ‘the banned’ back together
So one unexpected consequence is getting the band back together. We’ve set up a shared workspace and we’ll share some files and see what happens! Should be a hoot.
I saw this on twitter and it struck a chord. There’s massive social and economic change ahead; the carnage will be painful but it also gives us a chance to rebuild differently.
After Christchurch there was massive engagement with the city rebuild. The Share an Idea campaign (where anybody could put an idea on a digital wall like a sticky note) drew over 100,000 suggestions. Never had the city seen civic engagement like it. Sustainability, green city, with good public transport, a city that worked for its people, was friendly for all ages and innovative – that was the overwhelming desire. Unfortunately, the government of the day stepped in and said ‘yeah, nah’. Their blueprint got the go ahead – a conference centre and a stadium were the anchor projects.
Neither are finished yet, more than nine years later. And sport and tourism are in the toilet thanks to the virus. Even the magnificent Tūranga, the public beacon of hope and ideas also known as the library, is now closed to the public. At least that will re-open and be used for another 150 years.
But something else changed after the earthquakes. People reviewed their lives. Many changed career, moved suburbs or towns, went back to study, or started chasing their dream of writing, or singing or building or inventing or whatever. The knowledge that life is all to short and precious got replanted in thousands of people who all decided not to wait for ‘some day’ and just get on with it.
For this emergency, the rebuild won’t be of buildings. It will be of the economy, and of social conventions. Who are the essential workers? Should we pay them properly? Do we need to have offices? Why don’t we go back to the old days of neighbourhood shops. How we work will fundamentally change – people will see possibilities and new approaches will spring up.
My hope is that we reset some fundamentals, that the relentless growth and exploitation of late stage capitalism is replaced with different imperatives. There’s already talk of a Universal income. I’m all for it.
So how did we spend day 3?
I had cereal, did some work, and watched a rat climb over the fence and die while I was on a phone call. Later the neighbour phoned to say he’d laid some posion.
I cheered when I heard Ashley Bloomfield got the day off.
Other than that it was a fine day, so normal chores. Cooked a nice casserole with rice (the red wine vinegar with the beef kind). Watched a silly movie.
So by the end of day 2, it was suggested we watch Why Women Kill as the Friday night entertainment!
Jokes aside, it’s a good watch, the continuity is well done between the three stories. We’re not getting on badly at all!
I’m doing three or four hours of online meetings and am getting busier. It’s now school holidays, so that will change the dynamics a bit. We normally travel in the holidays and had planned to this time, but that’s all off now.
Other things are getting done around the place. I built a wood shelter – corrugated iron roof and all. I got halfway through the raised garden bed before the lockdown, so need a bit more soil / garden mix.
So how did we spend day 2?
A later than normal start, quick breakfast. Lunch was a roast! On a rainy day with thunderstorms, it was awesome. Oh and the guttering outside the porch needs clearing!
Want to hear a joke? Sure… Quarantine. … I don’t get it … Sorry, it’s an inside joke!!
I’ve been through emergencies before – earthquakes, fires, floods, tsunami alerts – pretty much the works. But never anything like this. One-third of the world is in lockdown. One-third!
It’s frightening, and the speed and severity of the spread is still dawning on some people, and some countries, around the world.
And yet I feel prepared. A few years ago we decided to be a little more self-sufficient. We’ve got solar power with battery backup, emergency water to flush the loo. There’s reliable drinking water – chlorinated to kill germs, electricity, internet. Herbs in pots and a little garden. Supermarket supply will be ok. The announcements gave us time to get ready, to digest the information and to prepare.
I’m lucky that the work I do can mostly be done online. I’m thankful to be on islands at the edge of the world, relatively safe and isolated. Our government has done an excellent job putting in a large economic rescue package and handing out money fast.
That’s brilliant, and I sincerely hope it will be enough. The world certainly won’t be the same after this. I’m fairly sure the state of emergency will last longer than four weeks; the recover certainly will be years. it’s likely many businesses will fail and potentially industries too.
It feels eerily familiar. The uncertainty, the anxiety and the slowly sinking in feeling of the scale of the event. In 2011, we were all mostly completely unprepared. The shock was sudden, dramatic and devastating. The economic aftermath is still going for some people; insurance companies denying and delaying to this day in some cases. People outside of Christchurch didn’t really appreciate the toll that took.
Duing the fires in Tasman in 2019 there was a build up over a few days to a very large scale emergency. The anxiety was wondering how much the situation would escalate, and which way the wind would blow. It was an incredible effort to be part of, hundreds of people from all over the country. There was very little damage to houses, and almost no loss of stock. Miraculous, really. This feels similar, but exponentially bigger and I’m not certain of any miracles.
There’s memes going around saying our grandparents had to go to war and save the world; we just have to lie on the couch and watch TV. The joke has a grain of truth, but conveniently forgets the human cost of having to go through the war itself and the social and political measures put in place either side of it: massive spending on social housing, hospitals and health care, mostly free education, universal superannuation – all the things we are so proud of today. The popular historical line is that it led to a great sense of fairness in NZ the 50s and 60s; fairness that the baby-boomers got the benefits of.
Whether that’s true or not is a different story; certainly New Zealand has massive inequity in the 21st century. And perhaps this is a chance to reset towards that perhaps this is the great leveller, the event so unthinkable we reset our entire society around new values. I hope so.
It’s the end of the world as we know it; I feel fine
How did we spend day one?
We shared a cooked breakfast – toast, bacon and banana – shown here in deconstructivist style. I should have served it on a plank.
Then one coffee, one hot chocolate and one tea.
We cleaned up, had device time, did some work, some schoolwork.
We did chores and later watched the usual briefings: Director General of Health and later Jacinda.
We had meat and three veg for dinner, then walked the dog, keeping a safe distance from people we saw. A papillon got a bit friendly with our dog, who steadfastly refused his attention. We kept our distance from those we saw along the way. One neighbour took his glass of wine for a walk.