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Miscellaneous writing

Splendid isolation

‘Were you to live three thousand years, or even thirty thousand, remember that the sole life which one can lose is that which you are living at the moment; and furthermore, that you can have no other life except the one you lose. This means that the longest life and the shortest amount to the same thing. For the passing minute is everyone’s equal possession, but what has once gone by is not ours…the sole thing of which anyone can be deprived is the present; since this is all you own, and nobody can lose what is not theirs.’

Marcus Aurelius [121-180 BCE] – Meditations, translated M.Staniforth [with variations by J.Pitt], Penguin Books, 2004, p.16-17.

Note: I live and write in Australia. This country, for better or worse, has not had to deal with the enduring tragedy the pandemic has wrought in much of the rest of the world. Indeed, Australia has isolated itself, while its nearest neighbour, Indonesia, is now gripped by a catastrophic outbreak. So much so that Australians have the time to ponder which vaccine to have, and whether they ought to have any vaccine altogether. There is complacency among politicians and the public, for this is a democracy of shallow debate.

Categories
Miscellaneous writing

I left it here

The race to ‘normal again’ is on – economic normal. The graphs have been pointing down a while and now the politicians are eager to see those lines heading north again. Some commentators point to the V effect, and to resume that upward tick is about pumping out more growth targets – more shovel-ready projects. Hopes for a rational re-think of how we pursue our lives [shops are open again and the TV news shows crowds gathering outside before the doors are thrown open, the pent-up frenzy palpable through the tube] gone in an instant.

Yet I think I caught a news item [by caught I mean spotted fleetingly a flash on my mobile of a news item seeking my attention; or I may have been browsing a news site and caught this ‘flash’] somewhere about scientists emphasising we have ’50 years’ before climate reversal becomes untenable.

Categories
Miscellaneous writing

Pandemic memories: Australian version

Pandemic memories from Australia.

Stuffed fluffy kids animals tied to tree branches or gate posts outside houses where there are children; passing at a ‘safe’ distance other walkers; no toilet paper in supermarkets, then the rice and pasta empty; flour too, and cleaning materials/fluids; only certain numbers allowed inside the supermarket at any one time, staff counting and checking; shops empty/closed up at the shopping mall; no planes in the sky, sound of their engines as they throttle up or back; fewer vehicles on roads as people are at home; no using cash; nightly bulletin or morning presser by State and Federal politcos and medical officers; Zoom comes into its own as a virtual platform; driving and thinking am I infected? And if I am what then? People lining up outside Centrelink early on [before it opens its shutters at 8.30am]; marks on the ground where people need to stand to observe social distancing – looks like where actors stand in a film shoot. Have a drink while at the hairdresser, since both bottleshops and hair salons remain open.  

Categories
Miscellaneous writing

Racing to normal after the pandemic

The race to ‘normal again’ is on – economic normal. The graphs have been pointing down a while and now the politicians are eager to see those lines heading north again. Some commentators point to the V effect, and to resume that upward tick is about pumping out more growth targets – more shovel-ready projects. Hopes for a rational re-think of how we pursue our lives [shops are open again and the TV news screens crowds gathering outside before the doors are thrown open, the pent-up frenzy palpable through the tube] gone in an instant. Yet I think I caught a news item [by caught I mean I spotted fleetingly a flash on my mobile of a news item seeking my attention; or I may have been browsing a news site and caught this ‘flash’] somewhere today about scientists emphasising we have ’50 years’ before climate reversal becomes untenable.