Pandemical Positives

James Proclaims (4)

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No-one loves a pandemic more than me.

Then again, no-one loves a pandemic less than me.

Because, presumably, no-one loves a pandemic.

Except possibly toilet-paper manufacturers.

But, on the whole, it’s fair to say that this whole pandemic malarkey is pretty bad news.

Nevertheless, if you can shake off the never-ending panic and crippling fear for a few moments, then there are one or two positives to be taken from the current situation we find ourselves in.

If you can ignore the agonizing pain of hand-washing-induced eczema caused by your ever-diminishing supplies of hand-soap, then you may yet find a reason or two to be cheerful.

Yes, in amongst the terrifying realisation that you’ve invented a new mental health condition that combines all the worst parts of claustrophobia, agoraphobia, enochlophobia, nosophobia and OCD, there could still be a silver-lining hidden amongst the gathering clouds of doom.

The British media might have you believe that the positives come from a camaraderie that is beginning to develop between us all. A sense that we’re all in this together. There was a moment on Thursday evening when many of us stood in our doorways and applauded the workers of the NHS. I’m normally cynical about such things but I’ll concede it was a much-needed moment of solidarity and actually genuinely heart-warming.

Still, I’ll feel even better about my fellow humans when I begin to see plentiful supplies of loo roll on the supermarket shelves.

And important though NHS staff undoubtedly are in this crisis, I personally feel that anyone who currently works in a supermarket is also deserving of our national gratitude. Because, although I’m avoiding the big stores as much as possible, when I have been forced to cross the threshold of one, I’ve found the staff to be universally  helpful, polite and friendly, which, in the current circumstances, is nothing short of heroic in my view.

The news, despite being mostly apocalyptic in tone, is interspersed with the odd bit of light relief. I enjoyed the story of the man who, deprived of his opportunity to run this year’s London marathon, opted to run the entire distance in his back garden. Although, the makeshift finish line, crafted by his son did seem like a frivolous use of toilet paper, all things considered.

For me though, the greatest positive is my family.

Deprived of actual contact with our parents and siblings, Mrs Proclaims and I have never been more active on social media. The daily videos of our nieces and nephews being ridiculously cute, comically crazy or, most often, a combination of both has been nothing short of delightful.

It’s probably sad to say we’re seeing more of them ‘virtually’ now then we ever managed in reality before all of this started.

And being trapped in a house with my own wife and child has actually been only beneficial. Of course Mrs Proclaims and I have our moments of discord, but we always did. I believe that’s called marriage.

But I think spending more time together has actually been good for us.

And, while I like to think I’ve always been pretty good at making time for the littlest ‘Proclaims’, the enforced additional time at home has helped me to connect with her on a whole new level and in the bizarrest, most unexpected of situations, I occasionally find myself feeling happier than I have in a long time.

Although I’m not sure my daughter shares the sentiment.

One of the more pretentious aspects of our parenting is that we’re attempting to bring our daughter up to be fluent in French. Mrs Proclaims and I speak French (she far better than I) so it seems like the least we could do is pass on that skill to our child.

And she’s developing quite well in that respect, having a vocabulary in both English and French that is pretty impressive for a toddler just shy of being twenty months old.

But one of her favourite French expressions at the moment is the following:

“Aux secours!”

Which roughly translates as:

“Help!”

And she only says it when I’m around.