Understanding in the madness


“Nothing in life is to be feared. It’s only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.” – Marie Curie


A source of amusement for me has been the phone-a-fix-line that my Dad’s phone has begun to resemble as the weeks trundle on. The machines break and he offers CPR over the phone. Not just for his speciality of washing machines but also roller shutters and even cars.

Is this where I got my need to fix things? Why did I have to pick people? You can’t fix people.

I realise now that instead of seeking inspiration in cafes. I’m trawling social media. But for the comments on articles. The human interaction. The reaction. The inspiration I miss from public spaces. It’s taken me 7 weeks to realise why I’m on social media more. It’s not the memes or what I share to help. It’s the creation from the normal. Or what others are seeking to be so. Nothing feels normal anymore. This isn’t bad. Not everyone would agree.

I swear a crow just sang to Zoë Keating. It worked.

So what have I been struggling to understand? Roles. What happens when they change? When we lose ours? I expect the escalation we’ve seen in abuse. But also it makes up the complex tapestry of distance between the generations. We’ve spent so long as humanity seeking equality – balance within the two by two.

Top moments for me in the last few weeks – A child named for a life on Mars. The need for other sane people to tell you not to drink bleach. What’s worse the suggestion? Or the need for someone else to tell you it’s a bad idea? The breath hole cut in the front of a face mask. The armed guard for a barbershop. We need haircuts that badly? We all need to book log cabins in the wilderness when this is over? The need to get on a germ-filled plane to fly to the sun? We have sun. This is the wishlist after lockdown?

We are all in the starting stales waiting in anticipation of rushing back to ‘normal’ – Why?

And I want to think about why gender roles have not balanced for humanity in the midst of all that? No wonder I can’t write or think. Or see the future. I can’t understand. I can’t fix. Is this why Marie Curie focused on radioactive elements?

Most of what is gained is still not by choice. The closing of the ozone hole. The blue skies and Himalayas glory. The work life balance. The office space not renewed. The lack of travel. The localisation of economies. The exams gone. That one created the most cheer. Will there be a new way to see the brilliance of young minds? Will learning become a love rather than a chore once more? The most unlikely people are growing vegetables. Ones who never found time to cook them before. Life skills being learnt once more. How can we not have had the time for these? Will creches go too?

I think I’ll stick to Zoë Keating and the crows for a while longer. It’s not the time for big questions. Even small ones – why can’t you just wear a facemask? Holeless.

Naoisé 13th May 2020