Diary of dislocation, day nine…

The silent repetition of another day, very little movement in the street, the train tracks five hundred metres from our house silenced and activity in the adjacent engine works stopped.

In the morning there was just bird song, soft light and pots to wash.

It feels, and it is, inadequate to write about something as mundane as working from home, or going for a walk, on a day where the number of people who have died has increased by twenty seven per cent. The disjunction between this suffering, those caring for the sick and ill, and those of us at home is jarring and dissonant.

Of course there is still work that remains to be completed,  people to support, and routine tasks to fulfil, and a desire to create some separation from the constant updates of awfulness that could otherwise fill every space in the day, although the knowledge it’s happening inevitably haunts each action. Maybe this is why the signs of recognition and support and the hope and solidarity they declare, and evoke, are so prevalent. There is a common desire to support those who are ill and those who are caring for them that sits beside the tension of being told to stay at home.

At the same time I have heard of people being asked to complete diaries of the work they’re doing from home, in order to justify the work they’re doing from home, despite their not being able, indeed being forbidden from going to work. As if the pandemic were a collective ruse to avoid a culture of accountancy to those whose only legitimation is their micro-management of others.

A friend of mine wrote a book called ‘Bullshit jobs’ about the many people employed in corporations who do nothing of social value, but command high salaries and who employ endless flunkies whose own jobs are merely to affirm the importance of their boss. His central thesis was that there is an inverse relationship between how important your job is to society and how much you get paid, which is why politicians and others get so antagonised by industrial action taken by teachers, or firefighters, or health sector workers or those working in haulage… because their work actually matters.

A strike by brand managers, corporate accountants or indeed instagram influencers could probably be sustained for some time, perhaps forever.

In Carnforth we have a second hand book store with nearly three hundred thousand books, stretching across four storeys, we have an amazing and quite beautiful library and  some wonderful independent shops. Today they were all closed, these last few photographs were taken towards the end of our walk as we’ve avoided the town previously, although today we saw no-one, as there is little to visit presently.

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Backwards to day eight

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One thought on “Diary of dislocation, day nine…

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  1. Hi Graeme
    I had to go to a pharmacist’s last week to collect the Mammy’s prescription. Typical rural pharmacy, 16’6″ wide [a quarter of a Gunther’s chain length] shopfront, about 30 feet from the front door to the counter with usual stuff on sale on shelves to the left and right and a couple of display islands. All changed. Now it has a temporary counter about 6 or 8 feet from the door and corrugated plastic hanging from ceiling to the counter top. There is a small gap no more than 6″ high to pass in the money and to receive prescriptions. In my local town, the wholefood shop is taking orders by email or by phone and you show up at the door and they bring out your bag of goodies and pay by card if possible.

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