We are 21 days into the Covid-19 curve-flattening government advised lock-down in the UK. It somehow feels like 21 years. And yet, three weeks seems to have not been enough time for once seemingly law-abiding citizens to come to grips with these very simple guidelines. It’s infuriating, but beyond judge-y looks there’s really not much else the rest of us can do.
I’ve been following a specific NYC-based influencer’s Intagram stories recently. She’s got several hundred thousand followers and has been diligently covering her self-isolation in detail. Let’s be honest, what else would a full-time influencer be doing? Recently, she mentioned in her stories that she, her husband and rescue dogs decided to leave the city for an Airbnb in Maine. The ethics behind making that choice are questionable at best as New York is the epicentre of the outbreak in the US.
Her followers picked up on this. And today when she was seen roaming around (pantsless) on a Maine beach, a local called her out for being there. As opposed to the local being applauded for her eagle-eyed observation, she was attacked by other followers of the influencer for not minding her own business. The local reiterated her concern saying that her husband is a postal worker and their family includes children and grandchildren she is trying to protect. The followers told here to get therapy.
It seems simple enough. Stay home. Go out for essentials like groceries and drugs once a week if possible. Only workout for an hour a day if you cannot do so at home. Government guidance across North America and Europe are fairly aligned. But add a generous helping of quarantine to a ready-to-boil-over social media obsessed world, people are going to do some really dumb shit for clout on the ‘gram.
My feed is packed at the moment with once dormant accounts posting about all the nature walks they’re now taking in the glorious London sunshine. Isn’t it April? Why is it 23°C and sunny? That’s beside the point. I get it’s hard to stay in. (Actually no I don’t. I love staying in and not seeing people. Save the wedding I had to postpone by a year, this is pretty much a best case scenario from a lifestyle perspective. Not the illness and death part though. That’s of course horrific.) But if you’re going to go out, why make the rest of us uncomfortable by posting about it ad nauseam?
I know why. Because something as basic as going outside has become heavily regulated, people who are doing it (walking their dogs, going on bike rides) now feel the need to flaunt their outdoor time they way we used two the latest Alex Wang fortune cookie bag. It’s rare. It’s prohibited. You’re inside. But look at me everywhere but. It’s where FOMO meets YOLO.
Speaking of walking your dog. There’s a podcast I listen to weekly and just like all of us the hosts are now self-isolating. But they’re alone, alone. One of them tweeted about how she was out walking her dog the other day and she could not believe it but there were TONS of people out on the streets of Brooklyn. Where were these people going, what were they doing? Okay, kettle. Meet pot. Yes, you’re walking your dog but you have no additional rights besides additional unconditional love (from the dog obvs) than the rest of us. Everyone is entitled to go outside.
I dunno. It’s tough. I too went to Hyde Park this weekend (en route to Whole Foods) and I was uncomfortable by the volume of cyclists, runners and general sunbathers at the park. I exited immediately. I’m not going to shame anyone for going to the park just like I had – we all had our reasons to be there (damn, lyrics to a good Alanis song) – but it made me uncomfortable so I left.
No one is forcing anyone to interact with other people. Just don’t go out if it makes you uncomfortable. The commenter on the influencer’s post? Also right. Her husband cannot not go to work as a postal worker. And she justified her concern.
All I’m saying is you cannot control the behaviour of others. You can only control your own. We’re all struggling. Social media isn’t making it easier. Personally, I won’t go out and if I do I certainly won’t blast it across my socials. There are enough thirst traps out there as of late.