Perhaps we all aspire to20/20 vision, the gold standard of 20 feet from which the optician marks visual acuity, the clarity of eyesight. But what about clarity of foresight? What difference would it make if any of us possessed actual 2020 vision, to have known in advance what that year held, and what it would be like to live through a global pandemic?
March 2020 was when my son first began to go ‘wandering’ at night, coinciding with the start of lockdown. Adults reported vivid dreams from the start of the crisis, so he wasn’t alone - but that doesn’t help in the clenching terror of the midnight hour. Of course he was always safe at home through the day but you can’t lockdown the mind of a child that wants to get up and ‘unplay’ with the wild things at night. His half-waking terrors infected the dark in a horrible, unseen live-stream, night after night. Once, wide-eyed, hair standing on end, he grabbed my arm in his waking sleep and pointed so earnestly at nothing I could see.
‘Sssh, Mum. It’s there, underneath. You can’t see it, but it’s there. We’ve got to get it. We’ve got to stop it. Stay with me, don’t leave me alone.’
His terror was absolutely real, and visceral; I could feel it on his breath and in his pinching grip on my arm. I had to help him fight the unseen threat. A metaphor for Covid19, if ever there was one. But his fear made me feel as if I was a child again too. I re-lived not wanting to sleep in the dark (when the wind blows) just in case the cold-war nuclear warnings were real. By morning, of course we were all back in the safe light of day and it was difficult to imagine what was so scary. Until you turned on the 2020 news.
I’ve thought a great deal about what it might mean if I’d really known what lay ahead for the months of lockdown, social distancing and travel restrictions. I might have squeezed in a final trip : gone away somewhere exotic for Christmas, maybe blown the savings on a skiing holiday during February half term.I’d certainly have hugged my mum more. I’d have insisted on that final dental appointment. It would have been prudent to have extended my broadband width and purchased a better webcam and microphone. Perhaps bought a better set of clippers for the multiple lockdown haircuts I gave. A good quiz book would have been useful, and, from a financial standpoint, I might have done well to invest in a hot-tub business or bicycle manufacturer. I would have savoured every physical contact with another human being, and would have given lingering hugs to everyone I spent time with, knowing that each might be the last.Yet, it would have been awful to know in advance how many cards and letters of condolence I would be compelled to write. Or ow many of my close friends would lose their parents. How could I have looked them in the eye? The moments of accidental happiness and opportunity for recalibration offered by lockdown would have been scant consolation.
On balance, I’m grateful not to have known what was coming. 2020 vision? No, thanks.
© TedGooda 2021-06-24