“I can’t see the light anymore”
I stepped onto the football pitch of natural grass. It was freshly cut and had that crisp happy smell about it. Dusk was upon us, and the artificial halogen floodlights swamped the area with a bright white aura. A few bats randomly flitted about, trying to catch their breakfast.
As we warmed up by jogging a few laps the village idiot cracked some jokes as the rest of the guys laughed and made small talk. It was day 378 of the pandemic; and it seemed this day was on repeat for the past year. Groundhog day with no end. As conversation ranged from family to economics to global uncertainties, one of the men threw a comment that hit me pretty deep: “I can’t see the light anymore.” The pitch turned dark. I truly understood what he meant.
I’m still not sure if this is a dream or reality. Can a dream last more than a year? Corporations and economies are crumbling under the weight of Covid-19 and its ever-evolving variants. Millions have lost their jobs, companies, and homes. Europe is under a heavy lockdown, and airlines are trickling across the skies trying to stay open.
I consider myself lucky to have had such a great childhood and early adulthood. The worry now transfers to the younger generation.
School isn’t just about education. It’s also about socialisation and understanding interpersonal dynamics. It’s about understanding one’s strengths and weaknesses. It’s about learning to fight for your rights, and sometimes getting hammered down if you cross the line. Now, our sons and daughters don’t really understand the depth of this pandemic, nor should they. But I’m sure that it’s affecting them psychologically as much as it’s affecting the adults. It’s now all about online learning. Poor children plastered to a laptop for hours on end, while struggling parents become the teachers. I wonder what will happen to their social skills. They already spend way too much time on their phones or pads.
I know one thing for sure. 2020 was a turning point in history. Humanity will never be the same again. Whether it’s a complete transfer of awareness to the Internet, or a partial shift, it’s certainly going to be the norm. I wonder if one day people won’t even leave their homes and find it normal. A child of 2020 laughing at the old generations that used to commute and communicate directly with each other. Handshakes becoming things displayed in museums. It’s a scary thought, but I guess George Orwell had a point in his book 1984.
Could we end up being the aliens we always portrayed, with big heads and small bodies as our need for physical transit vanishes, as technology and automated manufacturing and delivery play a larger and larger role? It’s a scary thought.
All I can say is I’m glad I was only allowed two hours of TV per day as a child. I’m glad all I had was a bike and my imagination to keep me entertained. We were surrounded by optimism, but now struggle to find the light.