08 Nov The world is getting larger …
Here in the west, as in Western Australia, we are basically COVID free … thanks to a forward-thinking premier who was supported by a loyal party. Something rare in today’s politics, I believe! Our borders to the rest of the country were shut immediately and we invested in shutting off from other regions within our huge state. That was not as popular; however, it seemed to be a necessary evil.
The result? Stats: as of 8 November 2020
Total 776 cases
Active cases 12
And ALL cases were travellers returning from overseas or interstate. We did NOT even have one case of community transmission. How good is that? And yet so many complained. (Sigh!)
The returned travellers were put up in hotels, paid for by us … the tax-payers. Many of those were even fortunate enough to have a free two-week vacation on Rottnest Island. Something many of us could only dream about! It would normally cost us thousands of dollars for accommodation, if we were lucky enough to get it. At busy times of the year, there is a lottery as so many people want to holiday there. That also meant lots of unfortunate people had their Easter plans changed, and were not able to relax on the idyllic island, as the vacationers from elsewhere, or those returning to WA for some other reason, were transported there to live for their two-week quarantine. Sun, sand, sea and surf at their doorstep … even though they were not able to take part in the activities that included these wonderful 4 Ss. While they were doing that, we had had our Bali trip cancelled. I would have so loved to have had the opportunity to join them in isolation on a pretty and magical island, where I could sit on a balcony overlooking the sea and write in peace for two weeks. Okay, I know we weren’t in actual lockdown but we were encouraged to self-isolate and to limit our shopping trips; not that many stores were open. My favourites, the clothing and shoe shops, not to forget the jewellers, had their doors closed with a hastily written sign that said, “Sorry, CLOSED. Open again in…..!”
Others openly complained about a two-week staycation in a hotel in Perth. Sure, no window to open, but they did have all the other benefits. Maybe if they had taken the warnings more seriously, and a little earlier, and had returned before the borders were closed, rather than thinking it was like Trump’s fake news, they would not have been subjected to such ‘torment’! I would have loved for my food to have been provided, as well as having access to free internet and tv channels with movies. I could have lived with that because we, too, basically stayed inside, only going out to give Missy (our much-loved pooch) a play in the park, before we quickly returned – head down, zigzagging across the road to avoid others doing the same, but without those benefits.
My job as a relief teacher dried up pretty quickly, and I had to wait six-weeks to apply for Job Seeker, even though I knew I had little chance of getting it. That was while others, many already receiving the dole, and most of whom choose not to work and avidly avoid it at all costs, were handed even more money … a type of BONUS to spend to boost the country. I’m not sure buying another TV, quite possibly made in the country from where this pandemic allegedly was spawn, quite fits into what the Government was trying to do! And even drugs are usually smuggled in from an overseas source, so the money spent there was still not supporting our flagging economy.
Yes, we also felt the pain of not being able to physically be with family. I know the agony of not being able to cuddle the grandchildren; well the eldest two. We were weekly caregivers and home-schoolers of a six-year old who didn’t understand why we couldn’t go to Maccas, use the playground equipment in the park, go to the movies, go to the zoo, go to any of the other attractions we usually did when we had her stay over. And I made her sit with me doing school work when I wasn’t Mrs Womble (couldn’t remember her teacher’s name but knew it started with ‘Wo’…), in my office while I was trying to write my book. In the six weeks we looked after her, I think I wrote the grand total of three sentences! But … we did Maths when we cooked, read lots of books together, played memory games with cards, did jigsaw puzzles … and let her (ok, I’ll admit to even encouraging her) spend time on the iPad doing the countless educational programs I had downloaded, in the hope of a moment’s peace. That didn’t happen … she wanted, in her quaintly wonderful, innocent but egotistical child-like way, to share with us every single, solitary step she progressed. When we finally managed to settle her to sleep at night, we slid gratefully into our own bed, exhausted mentally and physically, and remembered why parents should be in their twenties and thirties, rather than their sixties. Even Missy used to sneak away and hide during the day for a little ‘quiet-time’!
So, why is the world getting larger? Because, quite simply, we are unable to travel. Places we want to go to, places we were going to but had our plans cancelled, now seem so, so far away. It’s like we’re back in the 70s (and the fashion is a little like that) where travelling was a big deal, and quite expensive, especially from Australia! We really are just a little landmass floating around in a very big ocean, miles from anywhere. Even our neighbouring cities, in other states, are further away than countries in Europe are from each other, and we are divided by an endless, dry and barren terrain.
Someday, somehow, we will hopefully travel again and shrink this world of ours down to a manageable size. And I sincerely hope it happens sooner rather than later because I ain’t getting any younger!