The Routine Appointment

Bọ́lá’s routine appointment has been tactically booked for twelve noon. Working from home has been lonely, but at least she is safe. 

Outside, the crisp cold London air is mixed with the pungent stench of cigarettes. It has been a while. 

The scanty leaves lacing the pavement confirms the end of Autumn. Her favourite season.

At the bus stop, she puts on her face mask.

Minutes later, the bus arrives with only one other passenger. She seeks out the most secluded seat at the back.

The bus crawls down the congested highway, accompanied by the sound of a growling engine.

As more people get on the bus, a burly man plonks himself on the vacant seat next to her. 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. 

The bus continues to fill up with more passengers.

A short woman with a stocky build has removed her face mask and is now shouting into her mobile phone. Bọ́lá glares at her. The woman ends her phone conversation and glares back, “problem?’

Bọ́lá pipes up. “Yes, big problem! So, take several steps back and put on your face mask – there is a virus going around, and the numbers are still going up every day!”

Her mind flashes back to Tọ́lání, who had caught the Covid-19 virus after going to work every day via public transport. She didn’t even get to say goodbye. Healthy and vibrant Tọ́lání who was like a sister to her, was gone, just like that. 

The woman puts on her face mask and takes a step back, but not before muttering, “you is rude!”

Bọ́lá’s eyes narrow and the rage that has been lurking within her erupts from her voice box, “No, you’re inconsiderate. My best friend died from this virus!’ 

The woman shakes her head and looks away.

Bọ́lá kisses her teeth and looks out of the window. Only one more stop to go.

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.

Ibukun Sodipe

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.

Thanks for reading my blog. If you haven’t already, follow me on Instagram.

2 thoughts on “The Routine Appointment

  1. “you is rude!”

    How rude can one get in defending the right to life? People who often despise the sacredness of life are those who demand respect the most, as if ‘respect’ is breath.
    Only the living can be respected.

    I have never been against the use of a facemask, I believe that a few hours of ‘discomfort’ is better than going six feet under the ground through the route of ignorance and disobedience.

    I believe that this pandemic will soon pass but everyone needs to play their role in healing the world.

    You did justice to thos piece, Ibukun. I love the flow of words and emotions in the piece. 👍

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your comment. Yeah, there’s alot more I wish I could have covered in the breakdown but your thoughts was also on my mind. That’s exactly what I was aiming at. Unfortunately, some people are still not taking the virus seriously.
      s

      Like

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