The absolute state of things

Diary of the last 4 and one million days

The sun rises once more and it’s, what? Day one million of lockdown? The days blend into one another, punctuated from time to time by news that leaves you reeling. 

How is it all going as we reach day one million or maybe 20? 

Down into the village I go to collect my drugs from the chemist and it’s desolate. So many doors closed, so many car parks empty.

But there are people about, and always, as I reported last week, around a third of them not bothering with a mask. Should we worry? I do. This thing can spread so very easily. Last week’s newsletter found its way into the Facebook local group, and assorted people said indignantly

I’ve been out walking and I’d like to know where all these maskless people are, you patronising prick, and anyway show me the rule that says I have to wear one.

I keep counting, I keep coming up with: about one third.

How is it all going as we reach day one million or maybe 20? 

Out in Piha, one hears, the desire for a flat white has collided with the rules and expectations of Level 4. Concerned people have been asking fair enough questions such as: is this actually permitted under level 4?

One does not belong to the local Facebook group, so one is not quite sure of one’s facts.

But Chloe Ann-King’s account makes for perturbing reading.

How is it all going as we reach day one million or maybe 20?   

One of the Sunday papers had a story yesterday with the headline:

Preparing for international travel: ‘People don’t want a third winter in New Zealand’

I thought about opening up Papers Past to see how they covered the mood back in war-worn 1942. Were they running any stories of the same kind then, lamenting a third winter without a break? I didn't look, I wasn’t confident.

How is it all going as we reach day one million or possibly it might be day 20?  

Maybe we’re near the end, as the numbers of new infections keep reducing.

And maybe we’re going to be here for a while yet. Because when someone gets wheeled into Middlemore hospital with abdominal pains and no evident Covid symptoms but those symptoms later show themselves and testing reveals the patient is indeed Covid-positive, well there’s your worry confirmed right there. There may be embers smouldering undetected. We already know that one case undetected can grow to 500 before you know where you are.

Worrying, then, that the numbers of people getting themselves tested in the last few days have fallen away so much. The Delta moves silently and swiftly, and you cannot assume it’s not being breathed by the person next to you, no matter how unlikely that might seem. It seems to be hard to get some, maybe many, people to go about their day as though the damn thing is hovering.

We need plenty of protection and a whole lot of testing to get this thing nailed.

How is it all going as we reach day one million or maybe 20? 

The news just keeps coming at us, and even events that had you reeling on a Friday can be resonating quite a lot less by the Monday. What we might say in the heat of the moment about the reach of our laws may not necessarily be where we land in the end about using the power of the state to protect us from dangerous people.

You can say in reflex that you want to see the State having the right to just pull someone off the street and hold them as long as they judge necessary. But we really need to think about this and ask how we'd like to see that power in the hands of - let's say - a bunch of guys like the Morrison cabinet. Would you trust those guys with untrammelled power?

We live with this sort of compromise readily enough. Cars are inherently dangerous, deadly in the wrong hands. We may die randomly, tragically, from some bad driver. But we let the driving happen and we rely on the road laws to protect us.

It's not ideal, but we find a way to live with it.

How is it all going as we reach day one million or maybe 20? 

You may know David Seymour from such chin-stroking pundit praise as smart motivated voice of opposition, guy who works hard for his constituents, decent enough guy really.  Yeah whatever.

Not today he's not. Today he is a cynical race-baiting saboteur.

It shouldn't need saying, but here is the reason this additional access has been made available to Maori: the numbers show that Maori and Pacific vaccination rates so far have much lower than the national average,  their socio-economic and health vulnerabilities much higher. 

Of course you would do something to redress that. 

Only a cynical, manipulative undermining prick would think to do what David Seymour has done.

How is it all going as we reach day one million or maybe 20? 

Boy they were writing the political obituaries for Judith Collins in Saturday's Herald like the whole thing was a mere formality.

So. Farewell then Pop-Up leader. Or not. This is no ordinary Panto.

But it has to hurt that Fran O’Sullivan hung out longer than this for Trump. 

How is it all going as we reach day one million or maybe 20? 

If the compulsion involved in a Level Two Plus sounds too severe for our easy-going ways, there's always the public education campaign option.

It would have to be good, though. Do we perhaps have inspiration to draw upon? Oh my word yes.

Cheers to reader Bruce Adams  - hi Bruce! - for alerting me to this supremely great bit of work.

How is it all going as we reach day one million or maybe 20? 

There’s always music to carry us along.

Reader Lara Wilson - hi Lara! - has a new release from her band Dead Simple. The album is Backchat, and has already received the following review by Deputy PM and Flying Nun fan Grant Robertson:

Oh My God

And reader Stinky Jim - hi Jim! - has this gem out for your pleasure. It’s absolutely mighty.