Everything Is Closed

“I had months and months of work lined up, but it’s all been cancelled, so tomorrow I’m officially unemployed”, a similarly aged bloke who lives in my apartment block told me as we chatted and waited this morning for our take-away coffee.

The coffee shop is one of the few places continuing to trade at my end of Surry Hills. The supermarket and associated bottle shop are still trading, albeit with restricted hours. There’s also a few take-away food places, and two hair-dressers. But mostly lots of shops with signs saying they are closed “indefinitely”.

I normally like keep my hair short, but it’s getting a bit “wooly” so I popped in today to the hairdresser for a #1 allover clipper cut. “I thought I’d better get a trim while I still can”, I told the barber.

“I’m bored”, he told me. “I wish I could just go home. At least there I’d be comfortable doing nothing”, he added as he looked around his empty salon.

In particular, I feel really sad for the owners of two restaurants which have recently opened on Crown Street. You can imagine it was their “dream” to open a restaurant, and after only a few weeks trading they’ve been forced to close.

When I dined last week at the Vietnamese restaurant I was the only one there. The food was very good. “You live locally?”, the owner asked me. “I can deliver to your house if you like”, he offered. Today, there’s a sign in the window saying the restaurant is closed indefinitely.

I went in to the city last week to purchase a printer cartridge and a few other things I needed to work from home. The city was virtually empty.
To get out of the house (but to stay safe), I’ve been trying to go for a walk most days. Catching the tram down to Circular Quay is also an option. Hey, there’s hardly anyone on it.
Catching up with friends for lunch / drinks last weekend, though of course maintaining a safe distance from each other.

As for me, I’m lucky to have a job, and lucky to have quite a lot of sick leave and long-service leave which I can take if needed.

I’ve been working at home for a week, and I’m starting to get a little “stir crazy”. The line between work and home has become blurred, though I’ll presumably find the right balance sometime soon. 

In many ways it’s nice to work from home. I can sit at the lounge-room table with the window open, with bird sounds and a calming breeze. While going about my business, I can put a load of washing on, and make a tasty lunch for myself. I made some muffins the other day and ate them all at once! I can also wander down the street when I need a bit of space. I’m “saving about 90 minutes each day when I would otherwise be preparing for, and travelling to and from work. But I do miss my colleagues. As a single person living alone, and by nature an introvert, I hadn’t noticed before how I really enjoy the day to day social interaction I get from work.

And video conferencing is so intense. At work you can have some personal space, so when you’re meeting with people you don’t have to be so up close and personal as you are when you have someone’s face about a foot away from yours on a computer screen. For a few video conferences, I’ve cast the vision to my television so I can sit back a bit, and have a more normal human distance between us.

I caught up with some friends for lunch last Thursday, and they presented me with some gift-wrapped toilet rolls!!

Tomorrow is a day off, and I’m thinking of how I can best spend the day. Virtually everything is closed, and so I think I’ll end up taking a nice walk in the Botanic Gardens and will take some photographs. 

I’ve also got some homework to do for Swedish class. Though we haven’t started yet, we’ll be doing classes from now on via a Zoom session. I helped our technology-nervous teacher (aged in her 70s) set up her first session. Despite her initial trepidation, she seemed comfortable with the technology. Ingen ko på isen!!

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