Is it wrong to feel sad because of this Corona Virus disease 2019 (COVID-19)? Is it unacceptable to be out of sorts because there are lock-downs and curfews and uncommon restrictions on how one interacts with ones family, ones friends and other people? Why is everyone making it feel criminal to think and worry about the future that is now more than ever very uncertain? It certainly does anyone’s health any good to worry about the future, but why can’t one? In fact, Oliver is of the opinion that worrying about the future is a crucial step towards planning for it. But then, that is relative to one’s attitude. Instead of planning, other’s will retract into their cocoons of self pity and end up living miserably.
As he writes this, it has been about five months since this unwelcomed virus welcomed itself into Oliver’s country. It had been doing its maiden tour of the world when it out of the blue wondered why Kenyans go on and on about ‘the handshake’. So it came into Kenya. When it arrived, people scampered like cockroaches when you put on the kitchen lights. They hid in their houses and peeped from their windows. Those who were not peeping were frightened. Frightened about the arrival of this deadly visitor and frightened about what activities the visitor would like to do for the stay – for instance, killing people’s grandparents and terrifying those who are insecure about their age.
The virus caused moms to loose jobs and dads not to go to the office. Aunties could not go to church and uncles could not go to the bar. Other people could not drop their panties at parties and others could not hole up for a smoke. Politicians could not campaign and Jubilee wasn’t Pamoja. Oil prices plunged yet the shopkeeper Kamau continued to sell Maize flour for 130 shillings. Suddenly matatus plied their routes with less people but more money. It was all so new. So unnatural. And, to a great extent, so unfortunate. And because there is only one Jeff Bezos, piggy banks started becoming lighter as the virus extended its stay.
Oliver reflects upon how, after about two weeks of the virus’s arrival, everyone turned into full-blown motivational speakers. They were all over social media opening their mouths about learning new skills as if one needs a pandemic to learn how to speak fluent German. As if it takes a global health crisis for men to stop pissing on the toilet seat. Or for middle class women to quit going to the mall when there is absolutely no reason for them to be going to the mall. Oliver is of the opinion that learning a new skill or not is up to an individual. People do not function the same. The toll of the pandemic on each one of us is different, and with each degree of difference comes a different degree of the ability to take in new concepts or ideas.
At the point of writing this sentence, Oliver scrolls back up to the 1st paragraph of this blog post to remind himself why it is 1:13 AM on a Friday night and he is facing his laptop hitting keys while downing cups of coffee to keep awake. 1:13 AM on a Friday night is a time when one should not be facing their laptops (unless one is the head of security in charge of monitoring CCTV cameras at a certain premises). A time when one should not be downing cups of coffee (unless again, they are a security guard). Instead, one should be facing the counter, getting drunk, making merry and making mistakes.
‘Being confined inside makes one realise just how much of a privilege it is to be outside.’ Oliver mutters to himself while nodding. He wants to continue muttering but he doesn’t because it is weird and ugodly to mutter in ungodly hours of the night. Instead, he puts down the words on his blog like so:-
It is okay for you to feel anxious, stressed and worn out because of COVID-19 and the situation it has caused us to be in. It is okay to worry about the future. There is absolutely nothing wrong with missing hugs and kisses. Nothing is wrong with missing your friends. Teachers sometimes do miss chalk dust. Just like lawyers miss arguing in courts. And the judges love all that drama. Pastors miss the feeling of seeing people ‘planting seeds’. They know it but they won’t say it. It is not criminal to miss being alive. Neither is it weird for human beings to miss just being… human beings. What is criminal is continuing to be sad and not taking any meaningful actions to help yourself.
PS: Stay safe, help stop corona virus.