The Main Characters
Bọ́lá is a young woman who has been shielding aggressively from the covid-19 virus. She has been working from home since March when London went into lockdown.
Tọ́lání is Bọ́lá’s recently deceased best friend who died from covid-19.
Why I wrote this?
I thought it would be worth writing about the way Londoners have reacted to the rules around social distancing and wearing a face mask. Some who have been affected are incredibly cautious, opting to stick to the rules, whilst others continue to act like we are not in a pandemic.
The face mask debate
‘A short woman with a stocky build has removed her face mask and is now shouting into her mobile phone.’
A lot of people don’t seem to care about wearing a face mask, even though it is now a requirement, I still see some people opting to remove it once they get on the bus.
At first, like many others, I wasn’t a fan of wearing a face mask because it made me feel like I was unable to breathe as well. This is also because I have a mild airborne allergy. Despite this, since it became a law in the UK to wear a face mask in public places, I do so.
Let’s talk about anxiety during the pandemic
‘Then, her stomach forms a knot, it begins to swirl and rise until it almost chokes her. Suddenly breathless, she gets up and stands by the window.’
At this point in the story, the narrator is experiencing anxiety.
‘Working from home has been lonely…’
Some people that live at alone are starting to feel lonely as they miss the day to day human interaction they used to get at the office.
My advice to people who are working from home:
For anyone who has been working from home, try to take an exercise break every day. Staying at your desk from morning until evening is not great for your mental health.
When the London lockdown first started, I stayed at my desk even during my lunch break. Then, I noticed that it was making me misrable, so I started to go for hour long walks in the afternoon. The following week, I ran for thirty minutes every day. Being active really boosted my mental health.
Now, I do different workouts everyday. Sometimes, its a thirty minuite skip, a home workout or an imprumptu afrobeats dance session. Afterwards, I go back to my desk, ready to face the challenges and tasks ahead with a clear mind.
Grief, a shattering reality
‘Her mind flashes back to Tọ́lání, who had caught the Covid-19 virus after going to work every day via public transport.’
The loss of her best friend is probably just sinking in for Bọ́lá, and she is angry that people are not taking precautions against the virus.
‘She didn’t even get to say goodbye. Healthy and vibrant Tọ́lání who was more like a sister to her was gone, just like that.’
Anyone who has lost a loved one will be able to relate to the initial feeling of woe and dread that sets in when they come to the realisation that they will no longer speak to that person again. During those moments, the sense of loss and hopelessness can be overwhelming. Therefore, it is crucial to have someone to talk to about it.
The nonchalant attitude towards Covid-19
‘A stocky woman has removed her face mask and is now shouting into her mobile phone.’
My dear Londoners, some of you act like you don’t even care that there is a pandemic going on.
Some underground trains still get packed to the brim, especially during rush hour. This makes it hard for passengers to adhere to social distancing rules.
The moral of the story
‘The man in the beanie hat, standing across her, bobs his head up and down to the music blasting from his earphones. The rest of the passengers look on, unbothered.’
This line is very telling. After Bọ́lá has just shouted on the bus that her best friend died from the virus, she is met with silence. The rest of the passengers are too engrossed their own lives to say something to acknowledge her pain.
- If you witness someone having an outburst, don’t ignore them.
- Please wear your face mask in public places.
- Some people who were fit and healthy still died from Covid-19. It is not a hoax, so do your part and stick to the guidelines.
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