My isolation has been both good and not so good. I often think that we have stopped listening and stopped most of the time; to the point that many if not most cannot stand the unsilence of silence. Because of course there is no such thing as silence, except for the totally deaf, it is a funny thing that most of those with the capacity of full hearing are the deafest of all. I have yet to meet a runner on ther streets where `i live who does not have headphones plugged into a phone arm-strapped to them as they run. Music or up-to-date news on the now very boring and filtered interpretations of the interpreters of corona virus so-called update news, blocks out the silences we really do need to maintain our sanity.
No birdsong, no background noises to tell as about a local builder or a car backing out of someone’s driveway. No kids voices or the tap of a football between two socially-distanced ball players. It’s not the pandemic that has changed us so much but the perpetuity of entertainment. I think that it is true too of taste, with the constant grazing we call health snacks and barely an hour between meals. Protein bars are gorged down with high protein foods in an effort to build musclen05% of which the owner will never actually use, except, of course, to build more useless and, actually, unusable muscle. I exercise my limbs and body to keep in shape because, well, I found my time standing at the bench meant my legs were simply locked in the standing position for hours on end. My bike changed all of that and the fact that every time I go upstairs I use them too for exercise. I do 230-30 squats and then runs up and down, yes down too, two at a time. These simple things changed me and gave me the muscle power to get up and down from sitting positions to standing in a single move.
This morning, over a five hour period, I saw only one contrail cross the blue sky. This is the positivity of a pandemic and yet every government on the earth is pushing to pollute the skies with their economies once more. As the pandemic has eased even as little as it has I have noticed the Audi and Beamer arrogance return to the streets with the blasting of horns at any bikes riding more than six inches from the kerbside corner. This is because they must alter their speed and course by moving their hands a centimeter left to right and the pedal to gain their former speed. These are the ones that park nearest to the gym doors on double yellows if there are no disabled spaces left. Seriously though, pollution is definitely on its way back as the arrogant say there is no pandemic cornovirus, no global warming and no environmental problem.
But of course pollution wears many hats. Light pollution, noise pollution go hand in hand with all of the other pollution and not the least of which is the more general consumerist pollution we all say we hate but don’t change the sphere in which we can make a localized difference. As one pandemic loses its grip the old ones are gradually set to return. People want ‘normal’, they want to travel to other continents to break away for five days drinking and beach bathing, no matter the cost. This year I decided not to use my car for the year except to travel on essential journeys longer distance and also to pick up what cannot be carried on my bike.In six months I have filled my car up twice and I still have 3/4 of a tank. So I have no plans to change that. I seem to be cycling about 25 miles a day now, in two sessions. At the end of this year, I will consider selling my car because I can hire a car or van for two days periodically as needed and planned for for £150. I can also use a taxi for a few pounds for other trips for little money compared to having the car sitting in the driveway all day. Two of the rental periods will be paid for alone with not needing to cover the cost of insurance for the year and my using the car for only a few hours a year. Yes, there will be days when it’s a pain of inconvenience but it is what I can do.
Getting planes in the air is of course a pandemic problem and much more destructive than the pandemic virus, COVID-19 has been. Has anyone thought about going local again? Local transport as in bikes and walking seem now to be on the table with the British government offering bike rehab grants of £50 and incentives through work to help employees buy bikes. I mean, where did this come from? Surely if people are saving by not riding public transport, taxing cars and paying for petrol and insurance, they will be able to buy a £300 bike from just that saving alone. Why not scrap insurance premiums and just tax petrol for the cost of insurance. that would me pay as you go and pay for what you get as using it. Werll, of course the governments of the world rely on hiding taxation from the public. Better to have insurers that they can control and get their taxes in that way through them. Except, of course, they have lawyers used to fudging such things. So my way would guarantee all cars are insured, that people only pay for what they use and that we would probably lower our use and need of cars on the road.
Let me tell you something! The only way change will happen is by the people with boots on the streets decide=ing that the global economy trading depends on us in what we buy and when and how, what we eat and when and how, what we wear, where and when we go. Of course we need to travel, that’s not the point. the point is how we spend our air-miles and I am not talking air-mile incentives from plane owners. Working from home is a great way to go but it does not need to be a lockdown approach. Who wouldn’t want a pyjama day once a week without cranking up the car and sitting early morning in traffic and fighting for a parking space? It could happen that two or three days a week can result for some in a less stress-filled way of working.
I have engineered as much of my lifestyle as much as possible so as to keep in the saddle but keep or improve my sanity. I have remained at work for almost three months so far so that I could put out content to help others adopt a better approach to a better and alternative approach to gaining control in becoming a lifestyle woodworker according to their personally defined preference.
It will be fast for some and slower for others to make changes and adjustments. that’s fine. Just stop to think about what you want. The past three months have not meant so dramatic a change for me except that I enjoy cooking 98% of all of my meals and I now know exactly what I am eating.
I cook on a two-ring electric countertop cooker alongside a mini oven. No more cafes for me when this lockdown eases up. Just the occasional one and that’s all.
This area is an area I have reinvented to suit me. I am healthier living as a long term diabetic with blood sugars almost near normal because I am in control of my food, my exercise, and my work. If there will be such a thing as a “new normal” and I doubt very much that there will be because it is little more than media hype, politics and a general penchant for spending, spending, spending again, I feel I may well have arrived to a great degree and the pandemic nudged me even further, but it was a personal decision that began well before this pandemic. I’m not saying anyone has to do what I do, but gardening, riding a bike and exercise by cycling to and from work, they all have an effect for change and in reality, it can only be good.
There is no condemnation meant in this post. No judgementalism and no self-righteousness either. Just time to rethink what we want to change . . . and do it!