For the duration of lockdown, I’m putting out weekly creative prompts. You can join in too here. I send them out on a Monday morning and you have a week to respond in whichever medium you like. Search #adventureprompts for other people’s work.
This week’s prompt was:
“Tell us about your hopes for the future after lockdown.”
I hope that…
1. Drivers remember social distancing
In most cases, 2m is overtaking distance for a cyclist. That means the cyclist shouldn’t be able to reach out and touch the car! In fact, I can imagine Cycling UK’s marketing department taking it up as a slogan “Give cyclists a social distance”. You heard it here first people!
Of course, drivers and cyclists aren’t mutually exclusive. Like many I am both a driver and a cyclist. But now we all have a great reference point, let’s hope it’s easier to remember not to squeeze past at speed. You could try imagining that cyclists have a disease that might damage your car or something…
2. We keep doing Daily Exercise
Never in my life have I done daily exercise – except when I’m on an expedition of some sort. Being told I’m only able to go out once a day has made me feel like I should go out once a day. A bit like the free shower at a campsite. You’re damn well going to use it. I often struggle for a “reason” to leave the house. Ridiculous, I know, but for all my wanting to get out, I very often don’t know where to go. Through lockdown I’ve been doing far more getting out just to get out. I just go for a wander or I plan a route, or do a bit more Tentacling (revived and revised to include walking).
3. We remember the Shops are closer than we think
At the very start of lockdown, I was out on a run and heard two ladies chatting to eachother (obviously because they were so far apart they couldn’t be quiet!). The bit I caught as I ran past was along the lines of “… and who knew that Morrisons isn’t actually that far to walk to.” Because it really isn’t. Unless you’re doing such a big shop that you’ll exceed the load rating on your bike tyres, it seems excessive to take a car. Plus it kind of counts as exercise.
4. We keep a Sense of Perspective
Like many people I was put on furlough. All my future plans, clubs, social activities were cancelled in one foul swoop. There is something incredibly humbling (damning?) to realise that actually, pretty much everything I do in my life in non-essential. I can stop everything for months and the world still goes round. This has taught me two things: first that in the grand scheme of things, whatever panic or chaos is going on in my life, it’s not that big a deal. I can drop everything and the world won’t fall apart. I did know this already, but it’s good to be reminded of it sometimes – particularly in the moments of panic. So just as I can look at a hill and think “it’s easier than Switzerland” so can I approach chaos in my life and think, “It’s okay because I dropped everything for 2 months. I can do it again if I really need to.”
Second: to appreciate the things that aren’t necessary but are still wonderful. Like going down the pub with friends – and that comes from someone who doesn’t drink and orders a fruit juice or hot chocolate. The pub is not about the drink. Plus I moved house just before this happened. I still don’t have a sofa or comfy chair. It’ll be all the more luxurious when I finally get to sit on something that isn’t the floor or made of wood! Similarly, it’s been 54 days since anyone touched me. I know that’s a really weird statistic, but since I realised it it seems hard to ignore. I hope we all appreciate the little things a bit more in the future.
5. We remember Nature always wins
Another obvious one, but nature doesn’t give a damn. Our technology can be genius and complex, our civilisation can be vast and unshakeable, but nature just smiles knowingly. I’m reminded of the poem Ozymandias by Shelley (or as my A Level class used to know him Percy Bysshe). It’s about coming across a broken statue in Egypt, the last lines go:
Ozymandias am I, King of Kings;
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
The world as we know it is ephemeral. Our entire existence is just a tiny blip in the universe. Don’t spend too much time thinking about it or you won’t be able to sleep.