Musings from Melbourne

Barney Zwartz describes his experience of Melbourne's recent five-day lockdown.

Melbourne is back in stage-four lockdown and though we are about 107 days short of the duration of the last lockdown one can sense that the psychological stress is rising. I felt particularly sorry for all the restaurants and florists who laidin special supplies for the biggest sales day of the year, Valentine’s Day, only to be left high and dry.

I am better placed than most, as I work from home anyway. I have adopted the motto of George (from memory) in Jerome K. Jerome’s Three Men in a Boat – make sure you have enough food, and a little more than enough to drink, for thirst is a dangerous thing.

My particular dislike is the compulsory mask, though of course I follow the requirement. It seems to me a tiny encapsulation of the Christian requirement to love one’s neighbour because wearing a mask protects not me but others, while they in turn protect me (and others).

I confess (though I am only joking if any members of the constabulary should read this) that when I walk my dogs in a remote reserve the mask slips under the chin until I am within 50 metres of anyone else – and they are all doing the same (the walkers, that is – the dogs have a rebellious streak on masks).

I wonder how those non-Muslim Melburnians who found the burka confronting cope now that everyone is covered below the eyes.

As a reward for those who have read this far, I conclude with a (nearly) true story. While out walking the other day I saw a woman who was talking to her cat. She actually seemed to think it could understand her. I came home and told my dog, and we had a good laugh.