Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again. No, that’s a lie. I was just being poetic. Always helps to start with a memorable first line. In fact, I would have been much more likely to have dreamt of Longyearbyen. If this year had been a normal one, I would have been there now, shivering in 10°C, rather than sitting in my garden sweltering in 34°C. Bitter? Perhaps, a bit. But I didn’t even dream of Longyearbyen. Instead, I tossed and turned, the bedclothes flung off, the room stifling and airless, and wondered if there was somewhere beside the sea in England where I could go for a short summer break, or if I should even go at all?
Like so many other people, after months of lockdown I feel in the mood for a change of scene but, equally, I don’t want to jeopardise all the good work of the lockdown by adding my number to an already crowded, unsocially-distanced beach location. It is the COVID-19 Summer Holiday Dilemma. Community versus Self. Safety versus Risk of a Rising R-Number. Stay at Home versus A Nice Cool Paddle in the Briny.
If I were equipped with a crystal ball and could foresee how the current pandemic will play out, I could make a more informed choice. For example, if I knew for a fact that everything would be back to normal by next year, I would probably sit tight and patiently await developments; it is the uncertainty that is giving me itchy feet. And yet, it is my itchy feet––and everyone else’s itchy feet––which are potentially making the chance of the pandemic being all played out by next year less likely. It is a paradox.
A dilemma followed by a paradox. It is enough to make me feel like I need a holiday.
© E. C. Glendenny
E. C. Glendenny rarely needs a second invitation to pack her togs.