The Virus vs GenME (HLD 1)

23 March 2020

I have started a list of things I want to do in this time of social distancing. There’s a bunch of interesting things in there – write letters to Mum regularly (who’s in lockdown in a nursing home and hopefully letters from her favourite child could only lift her spirits…), look at old footy photos so I don’t forget what footy is, fertilise the plants (especially the passionfruit vine who has finally realised that my threats were serious, so has decided to finally put on a show of flowers!), and the reason you are reading this the thing to do is ‘write a book’.

Obviously that’s a bridge too far, so a regular FB blog will do for the time being. Kind of like my usual travel blog, but where the travel is only around the myriad byways of my mind.

Sooo – how are you coping in the world of TV (THE virus)???? It’s definitely something that is affecting everyone somehow. I feel real sorrow for those who have (or will do) lost jobs because of it, and I confess to possibly not having as much empathy for people who are reacting to every opinion that shows up in the media, be it social media or mainstream (antisocial?) media. 

BUT – the virus is affecting us in primarily two ways.

The first way is that it has surely identified the new generation typing of people – the ME generation (GenME). These people are very very concerned about how this virus will affect them. We saw it first in the toilet paper saga, closely followed by the hand sanitiser saga, then the pasta saga, the plain flour saga, and so on. Shopping is now a bit of hunt and gather experience – favourite brands have given way to the exhilaration of finding a product you need in whatever brand, wherever it was made!

GenME are of no particular age group – they have been noted across a lot of hair colours and also across a lot of nationalities. They don’t seem to be bothered by how the virus is affecting others, as long as they have enough toilet paper and their social lives aren’t impacted. I don’t understand, quite frankly.

But the second way the virus is impacting us, is by far the best thing I’ve seen in a long time! While there are small scatterings of GenME visible in our lives, the kindness and community spirit epidemic is slowly but surely taking hold. It hasn’t spread as violently and as rampantly as the ME mob, but it’s happening.

Every morning, I walk my dog – usually around the block, but sometimes along the river. Usually, I’d get a couple of nods from fellow walkers, maybe one or two “Good Morning”s. Obviously if the person is also walking a dog, then it’s a reason for a lengthy stop, a chat and a bit of butt sniffing. Sometimes the dogs join in too.

But this morning I noted that (maintaining at least 2 metre separation at all times, of course) EVERYONE said hello. Even the cyclists, who normally are people on a mission and woe betide whoever crosses their path. Everyone made eye contact (and not in the suspicious “Have you got a cough” way, but in the smiley “Oh look – a human being with the cutest dog ever” sort of way), smiled and offered a greeting. 

Our local social media group is full of people offering help, whether it be walking dogs for the self-isolated, dropping off loo rolls for those who haven’t achieved that holy grail of shopping joy as yet, gathering coffee pods to donate to the Covid clinic for the medical staff and so many other ways. It doesn’t surprise me, because I know at heart, people will look out for each other.  But people are more openly looking for ways to connect, and to help.

The social distancing is the most impactful way we can help each other. 

Butt sniff from a distance, people.*

*This is not a toilet paper reference, just so you know.

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