These are indeed strange and unsettling times.
Such that they have resurrected thoughts of Parkinson’s Law, which famously stated way back in 1955 that “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.”
Thanks to the demands of social distancing and self-isolation, vast numbers of the population are now finding themselves with more spare time than they have ever wished for.
Yet, contrary to the professor’s dictum, many are struggling to fill these bonus hours.
Suddenly forgotten are all those whines of yestermonth about there being insufficient hours in the day, about not having anywhere near enough time and wondering “where has the day flown?”
Athough the time available to complete all those unfinished tasks and plans has suddenly multiplied so few seem to be reaching fruition. Or even getting started.
“If only I had more time,” was the universal pre-Covid-19 whine.
And now the wish has been fulfilled we cannot cope. We are floundering. Some are even saying they are bored.
As the adage goes, be careful what you wish for …
More time … to spend with the kids, and end up baffled and browbeaten trying to cope with home schooling and learning only how little we know about even the three Rs let alone world geography, science, art or history.
More time … to spend with the love of one’s life and discovering after weeks of 24/7 close confinement that absence really might make the heart grow fonder.
More time … to finish that project, the shelves to put up, the cuboards to declutter, spare bedroom to wallpaper, cut back the wilderness clogging the garden – if only the kids weren’t demanding attention, if help was not wanted preparing breakfast/lunch/dinner, if there was not this swirling dump of toys, clothes, papers, shoes, ironing, dishes and so on to clear away first.
More time … to take up a hobby or learn a skill. The internet is suddenly awash with influencers, persuaders and a gamut of sundry other happy smiling perpetual optimists ready to guide you through the intricacies of every known means of idling away all those spare hours – if only [see any or all of the above].
More time … to learn to write, to play an instrument, perhaps learn a language for when we can again travel to the costas for some sunwashed foreign culture with a good cuppa of Yorkshire Gold, fish ‘n’ chips and a bottle or two of cava.
More time … to get fit by trying to channel the unbounded energy and ever-present smiles of the leaping leotards in spacious rooms urging us to do star jumps, knee bends, burpees and leg raises in the minimal free space in our lounges while trying to keep one eye on the screen and the other on checking we’ve got the correct pose. A question nags: if I couldn’t garner the willpower to go to the gym or for a run before Covid-19 why stress out to squeeze it into my day now?
Little wonder the demands for an end to isolating are increasing. We have become immune not to the virus but to the daily toll of death and infection. There is a plague of frustation and boredom sweeping the land.
And diminishing acceptance of the dangers we face.
Sadly, we seem unable to adapt and cope with what is really an inconvenience when compared what past generations have endured and which millions in the third world have suffered for years with no relief in sight.
Daily at 5pm the government doomsayers sombrely present us with figures that leave us in no doubt that no one is immune from being suddenly plucked from life into death.
Yet many would rather chuck off the shackles of isolation and face the risks that await.
Okay, so be it, let’s all go play Russian Roulette.