Opinion

There’s a light at the end of the tunnel, but let’s take the slow train to get there

By Sandy Lloyd

SANDY LLOYD CAN ALMOST TASTE THE FREEDOM

The noose has been loosened, the leash relaxed and the reins slackened. But only ever so slightly.

Yes, from 12.01 this morning we can play golf, go fishing or torture ourselves at boot camps, as the corona-quarantine begins to lift.

We can also go hiking, hunting, boating, diving and prospecting. We can have 10 guests at our weddings and 20 mourners at our funerals.

And the holy grail of the resumption of an AFL competition is a step closer, with footy teams allowed to train again.

Hmmm. Not much there for me.

I can’t think of anything worse than golfing, hunting or hiking. Or a boot camp. And I fervently hope I don’t need to worry about funeral arrangements any time soon.

But we have to start down the road back to normality, and the Victorian Government has chosen some logical places to get the wheels rolling.

There is one restriction-lifting change I am absolutely delighted about, however. And that’s up to five visitors being allowed in a house (in addition to the normal household members).

That means family dinners are back on the agenda, and my mum’s Zoom-only birthday can now be supplemented by a (admittedly, small) family gathering.

And it means I can catch up with friends over food again (even if it is still takeaway) instead of talking loudly at each other as we walk 1.5m apart from each other as part of our ‘legal’ exercising.

Joy!

But I’m not going to get carried away — and I hope no-one else will, either.

Because this reprieve from our lockdown will be short-lived if everyone goes crazy and the much-talked about ‘second wave’ of COVID-19 strikes us hard. I imagine restrictions will be much tougher to take the second time around.

It’s been the main topic of conversation in the past week or so — as the much-hyped curve remained flat and other states began easing restrictions.

I watched with jealousy as my brother in Sydney left our family Zoom catch-up to welcome guests to his home two weeks ago, as NSW opened its doors an inch or two.

And now it’s our turn. But I hope — as do all the people I’ve been talking to — that we will stick to the basic rules of social distancing, hygiene and still only going out when we must, so that life can return to normal safely.

Because I have a wish list of things I am desperately missing and can’t wait until I can do again. And I don’t want that jeopardised by ‘covidiots’ who do the wrong thing. (Yes, ‘covidiot’ is a new word spawned by the health crisis. Just like ‘iso’ and ‘WFH’ has entered the language.)

I JUST HUGGED YOU IN MY THOUGHTS

I can’t wait until I can hug someone again (other than my grudgingly agreeable son).

Even though we’re allowed to meet in small groups at home, we’re still being discouraged from kissing, hugging and shaking hands. So look out when we’re allowed to — I’m craving some physical contact.

Random strangers and work colleagues don’t need to panic — I’m not going to leap on you at the first available moment.

But I do want to give my mum a big birthday/Mother’s Day/just-because-I-can hug. I want to be able to visit my daughter in Melbourne for her birthday on June 7 and give her a giant hug because this is the longest I’ve ever gone without seeing her.

I want to be able to give friends a ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’ kiss on the cheek when we get together. I want to not be afraid to spontaneously touch someone on the arm as we share a joke and a laugh.

FOOD IS PART OF A BALANCED DIET

I miss meeting friends for coffee SO MUCH. And meeting for breakfast. And lunch.

I miss that one of my dearest friends turned 50 during the lockdown and ‘the girls’ couldn’t have lunch to celebrate.

My normal social life revolves around friends and food, and I want to get back to talking and eating.

So look out when cafes reopen — I’m planning a binge.

I can see a Sunday in the (hopefully near) future when I start the day with breakfast with one friend (or friends), move on to lunch with another (or others) and finish with afternoon tea with a third (or more).

DRIVE DOWN THE HIGHWAY OF DREAMS

I want to fill my car with cheap petrol and drive somewhere. (Oh, the irony of discount petrol and not being allowed to drive!)

Anywhere really, just to break up the boredom of WFH and trips to the supermarket.

But especially I want to drive to Melbourne to see my daughter and my cousin, go out for some delicious food, see a movie and go to the theatre.

I know I’ll probably have to wait a long time for all of that to happen.

But I can dream, can’t I?

I CELEBRATED...

Mother’s Day without my mum or my daughter, but socially-distanced with a handful of other mothers and grandmothers.

Lockdown rules meant it was Zoom-only for family Mother’s Day, but our regular court coronavirus coffee van visit meant there was something to lift the spirits of me and my neighbours, many who are especially missing grandkids right now.

The highlight of my Mother’s Day was the coffee van brought with it delicious donuts from Mooroopna Bakery.

As Homer Simpson says, “Mmm … donuts!”. Plus my son gave me some more Star Wars jigsaw puzzles. Happy day!

I AM NOT WATCHING...

Tiger King. I know it’s THE coronavirus quarantine streaming show, but I just can’t do it.

I tried — well, my son insisted I try — but it was just too horrible. I could only get a quarter of the way into the first episode.

Netflix's ‘American true crime documentary mini-series about the life of zookeeper Joe Exotic’ is a completely bonkers tale about bizarre people who think it’s okay to keep big cats as pets and run private zoos. And murder people.

It’s been far more satisfying laughing at Good Omens on Amazon Prime, a hilarious end-of-the-world story where everyone survives. Delightful.

I AM LISTENING...

To frogs calling. The high-flowing Broken River has dropped again, but it has left behind water in low areas in the bush and the frogs have been quick to take advantage.

They are such amazing creatures, able to lie low until rain gets them going again. I’m enjoying hearing their calls as I walk the dog next to the river.

Not the cacophony we sometimes get when mating season and water coincide, but still a sound to bring a smile to my face.

And bring back fond memories of a farm childhood collecting frog spawn off the dam and waiting for the tadpoles to hatch before returning them to their habitat.

I AM CLEANING...

My son’s bedroom. I am taking advantage of the fact he’s stuck at home doing his uni studies online, and we’ve tackled some of the piles of the belongings he abandoned when he first left for uni more than two years ago.

We’ve recycled a rainforest worth of trees in the shape of Year 11 and 12 worksheets, notebooks and practice exams.

And I’ve been able to vacuum parts of the carpet that haven’t seen the light of day for far too long. But we’ve designated ‘for another day’ some childhood possessions he can’t part with yet, including the Pokemon cards and old Tamagotchis gathering dust.