The Corona Chronicles: Week 48: Dodgy directions?

So, we now have a roadmap out of lockdown. This is excellent news. I like a good map. The problem, so the Nearly-Beloved informs me, is that not everyone is capable of reading them. And this is no little jaunt out. It’s more of an epic road trip.

Hopefully the driver and the navigator know what they’re doing. However, quite often the trek to the final destination can include unforeseen obstacles and diversions, so by the end of the journey no one is speaking to each other. I mean, it’s not as if we signed up for this National Lampoons Vacation. Grunting Teen for sure would never willingly spend the next three months caged in a car with his parents. But sadly, he has no choice. And his wailing ‘are we there yet?’ falls on deaf ears as his father drives on relentlessly. Nothing is going to prevent the Nearly-Beloved reaching his goal. Want to stop? No chance – on we go past service stations and laybys. Feeling sick? Here’s a bag. Or hang your head out of the window.

But wait a minute. What if the route’s been miscalculated and we suddenly find ourselves lost? The Nearly-Beloved refuses to ask for directions. So, does that mean we’ll end up driving round and round in lockdown circles until we run out of steam?

Apparently not, because this is a scientific road map we’re using. A satnav of data not dates. Hooray for the science! Unfortunately, satnavs have a worrying record of lorries wedged under low bridges and cars floating down rivers as a result of that ‘convenient ford’ short-cut. And this satnav is literally glitching with its Top of the Pandemic Pops countdown

At number five is 8th March and all schools re-open. Well, the buildings are opening their doors at least. But instead of text books, Grunting Teen is issued with a kit for a lateral flow test. ‘What? You mean I’ve got to shove a swab up my nose and down my throat?’ he asks, unimpressed until he realises he’ll miss double Maths as a result.  And I’ll miss him. But thankfully, whilst he can look forward to wearing a dog-breath facemask all day, my treat from the government is to throw away my Covid-issue thermos flask and finally sit down for a civilised take-out coffee with a friend.

Moving up one place to number four we welcome 29th March with open arms when the magnificent rule of six returns. Remember to pace yourself, as unaccustomed amounts of conversation could be overwhelming. It’s still outdoors but, hey, the pandemic has turned us all into Wim Hof Icemen who can withstand socialising in all weather conditions. And on the plus side, all those months of ‘exercising with one other person’ means calories in credit for the Easter egg hunt.

Making it into the top three and a definite favourite is the glorious 12th April. However, what to prioritise? A visit to the hairdresser or the beer garden? It’s a tough decision. And it only gets better as we head up the charts to 17th May when all outdoor restrictions could be lifted and up to six people can marvel at how you’ve totally redesigned the interior of your house.

Then by the end of that month, with vaccinations promised to all over fifties, the streets will be awash with oldies brandishing their passports and certificates as they Zimmer-frame their way onto international flights.

And yes, younger souls may have to queue until 21st June to hear that number one recording of ‘You’ve reached your final destination.’ But with any luck there’ll be no ‘Thelma and Louise’ driving-off-a-cliff ending.

It all sounds very promising until we remember all the promises we’ve heard before. But for now, I’m sticking with this latest ride. I might be a little dubious about the driving team’s credentials but I’m desperate to visit the sights along the way. Hopefully the satnav will recalibrate if we take a wrong turn and then it’s just a question of a new post-lockdown roadmap…

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