Holding (HLD 420)

13 July 2021

When I walk my dog, my hold on her lead can be achieved by one finger. An index finger, but sometimes even a pinky, is all the strength required to keep the princess from charging off to the opposite side of the road to say hello to another dog.

When I walk my grand-dog, however, it takes all the strength I can muster. One hand, sometimes two, along with tensing of the shoulders and making sure I have a firm stance on the ground. And that’s just when Tigger is walking, let alone when she sees something interesting that she really really needs to look at.

I’m drawing the same analogy between virus control in various states, just because I can. In the state where I live, we are occasionally instructed quite firmly that we have to wear masks, work from home, only leave home for a handful of specific reasons, and can’t go to pubs or shops gyms or restaurants. We know it’s not for a lengthy period of time, but those are the rules, so we are told to suck it up and deal with it. There are definitely people who suffer financially from these short sharp lockdowns. Absolutely there are people who suffer psychologically from them as well. But if we all do the right thing, it’s over fairly quickly, and we get back to our normal lives. It’s worked for us so far.

There’s another state in my country who appear to have been held on a much lighter lead. It is suggested that they do the right thing, and politely asked if maybe they could do, what we on our side of the country are told we must do. This state has managed very well until now, even given their higher density housing and so forth, but a recent outbreak of the delta strain of the virus is running loose in an area with people who are not used to being so firmly held. And the authorities are now looking at locking down a state full of people, many of whom just don’t see the need.

Like with Tigger and Chewie and their leads, there is a very large difference in weight that has brought about the difference in tension on the leads. Chewie is smaller, Tigger is larger. The weight of the dog, and the weight of numbers of population, very definitely are a big factor in how tightly or loosely you can hold the reins.

The same analogy applies in a lot of areas in our lives. How tightly or loosely we hold our children as they are growing up, for instance. Even how tightly or loosely we cling onto those at the end of their lives.

Holding loosely does not mean you don’t care. It doesn’t mean you don’t have control. It doesn’t mean you are not providing support and guidance.

It’s just trust, which goes both ways. You trust your five kilo dog to not suddenly rush across the street to say hello to a pit bull terrior who eats small dogs for breakfast. And your five kilo dog trusts you to know that the pit bull might not be its best friend.

It’s trust too, that while our authorities make mistakes in their handling of the virus and in immunisation rollouts and in how we all manage lockdowns etc, it’s done with the best of intentions.

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