It would be rather remiss of me not to write something about the Coronavirus a.k.a. Covid-19. After all a pandemic such as this would be somewhat difficult to pass over because it affected virtually everyone in the world, whether directly or indirectly. However, the biggest impact we as individual South Africans felt was the ‘lockdown’, known in some quarters as SIHA (State Imposed House Arrest). I for one don’t subscribe to the lockdown as being SIHA; on the contrary, I stand by our govenrment’s sweeping efforts to mitigate the spread of the virus amongst our citizens. It’s simple actually. If you don’t have physical contact with anyone - no one at all - and you are a fairly healthy person, the chances of contracting ANY, note ANY, virus (even the humble cold or the more debilitating influenza) are actually impossible. But, as we humans are basically social animals this is much easier said than done.
So, where does this leave us?
Answer: At home.
By the time you read this I would hope that the whole panic/hysteria around the pandemic would have dissipated, or, at best, become manageable. But whatever the case the extensive home stay did have some rather interesting repercussions for me. The biggest challenge I faced was dealing with boredom.
Our local radio station, operating basically as an outside broadcasting facility with the DJs working from home, came up with some innovative ways to avoid boredom, the best of which was turning one’s home into an ‘mini golf course’. Now this seemed to me to be a brilliant idea because I love playing golf. My wife, on the other hand, wasn’t as enthusiastic. First of all she objected to me drilling holes in the floors of each room. Secondly, the bunkers I constructed really annoyed her - the sand kept on clogging up the vacuum cleaner! I won’t go into the details about my attempt at a water hazard, the memory of how my wife dealt with that issue still has my ears ringing! However, the ‘9th hole’ proved to produce less conflict - the six-pack in the fridge in the kitchen was ideally suited to that role. Her greatest gripe though was when I either sliced or hooked my golf ball from the tee - our window panes took a hammering, or, more correctly, a shattering! And because of the stringent restrictions in place at the time I couldn’t go to the hardware store to buy replacement glass; thank goodness we had only minimal rainfall during the lock-down period.
Ok, so much for that idea. It did combat boredom for a while though …
Next brilliant idea put forward by the local radio station was to have a ‘pub crawl’ in your own home. If the truth be told I am not a big drinker so the idea didn’t grab my imagination; a hops-based throat lubricant from time to time is enough to keep this writer fairly well oiled. But the idea did apparently grab the attention of someone who, as urban legend has it, became exceedingly creative in this regard. What he did was to turn a number of his house’s rooms into bars, each newly created pub having its own special flavour/character. His started in the lounge where he had a pub already set up. This ‘pub’ he called his “Glen Live It To The Full”, consisting only of three brands of blended whisky and two of single malt. His spare bedroom he named “The Ghost Inn” because this ‘pub’ contained only white spirits, namely gin, vodka, white rum and cane. His study was renamed “The Brown Room” as it really only had a couple of bottles of brandy and a couple of dark rum on his desk. The last of his ‘pubs’, actually his bedroom, he named “Hodge Podge’s Hangout” because all his other various types of booze took up the top drawer of his chest of drawers. So every day of the lockdown (he is a single guy by the way) he would start at one of the ‘pubs’, have a couple of drinks there and then proceed to the next watering hole, have some more drinks there and always end up in the “Hangout” where he would down some exotic beverage and then collapse on his bed and pass out. Did he manage to do this every day? Personally? I don’t know but what I do know is that once the lock-down was over he disappeared somewhere to detox his seriously overstrained liver!
BUT, if the truth be known, neither of the above actually took place; they were just figments of my totally bored and inactive current lifestyle.
What I did do though was to write a number of articles for this newspaper’s ‘Bantering Matters’ column.
Oh, and I also learnt to tightrope walk ….