I made a big mistake with our choice of "important films" for Afternoon Film Club. I shouldn’t have watched it. It’s put ideas in my head.
We started day 10 by learning that Prince Charles has got the virus. While I felt almost nothing about his dose, I did catch myself in a moment of light unease about the Queen. I’m not sure how we’d cope as a country if she turned her toes up during this time of crisis. When everyone’s on edge anyway, I doubt it would take much to turn the highly emotional state of national anxiety into something else.
My mind turned quite quickly from "I hope Charles is OK" to "How come he can get tested when no one else can?" The virus doesn’t distinguish rich from poor, powerful from powerless, so why should access to treatment of it? Despite what his storyline on The Crown suggests, clearly being the heir to the throne does have its upsides.
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The virus is a significant leveller in who it infects, it doesn’t care if you’re a prince or a pauper. But the disparity in how the virus, how this whole event, is managed – whether that’s through social distancing, self-isolation, testing or treatment – is entirely dependent on privilege.
I’m lucky that I enjoy the company of the people I’m stuck with, but our personalities form an amicable rhythm, not least because we have the physical space to be apart. We don’t have a big house but I doubt we’d live in happy togetherness in a tiny high-rise flat, like the one I lived in in London during my early twenties. I doubt we’d be having this comparatively easy experience if we didn’t have enough food in the cupboard. And if we didn’t have wi-fi – well, frankly, we wouldn’t last the weekend.
By teatime, I’d got myself into a right old lather and was on the brink of inciting revolution – about what I wasn’t sure. In retrospect, I should have rescheduled the film choice: Joker.
If you haven’t seen it, here’s a brief summary: a loner with severe mental ill health is let down by shrinking medical services in a compassionless society. When he is beaten by three drunk, privileged bankers on the subway, he whips out a gun and murders them. This gives him a taste for it and he avenges those who he feels have done him wrong. The public mood following the killings shifts in his favour and the streets become occupied with angry, violent mobs who plan to "kill the rich". Chaos ensues.
I’m sure you can imagine where my mind went. There have already been similar scenes over bog roll, albeit with fewer folk donning scary clown masks.
Luckily, there was one more community event left on Day 10 that would sort me out: UKFEchat.
While there was the usual warmth and support for each other billowing out of the computer, I hadn’t realised just how upsetting this current time is for so many people – those who are isolated, who are overwhelmed, who are grieving, whose mental health is taking a right kicking from all of this. It seems that I hadn’t just disappeared inside my own house, but up my own arse.
I feel confident that our community will carry on keeping each other’s spirits up through this, by chatting on Twitter, Facebook, Zoom, emails, on the phone and in any other medium that technology will allow.
I’m always up for a chat, so do give me a shout. Full disclosure, though – I do go on a bit…
Email email@example.com, tweet @MrsSarahSimons and I’m Sarah Simons on the Faceboooook. Send me a friend request.