I suppose, that by most people’s standards I have become a recluse or a bit of a hermit. I never went out that much even before C19, but in my attempt to protect myself from catching it meant I had to double lockdown. I had to first lockdown from the world, and then also lockdown from my family. Especially the Dragon Lady, because she is a nurse working in the front line of the covid battle.
I was developing strong antisocial habits which were becoming my normal life. With the return of the warmer summer weather, for me, nothing altered, and I’m happy with the company of my wife, cat, and when they’re here, my children. However, I enjoy going for drives in my car. The other day, I had a strong desire for an early evening kebab with lots of crispy salad, garlic and chilli sauce, and topped off with a handful of chips. I rang my local takeaway who know exactly how I like it who get it right every time.
“Sorry, we so busy we can’t get anything to you for at least a couple of hours, at least!” They repeated twice for emphasis, and to save disappointment.
“Plan two then?” I replied.
This required me to drive down to their shop and park at the back of it where they would bring out my order to me. They were such nice kind people.
“Yes, no problem, ten minutes okay?”
It certainly was, and a little drive on a pleasant evening was far better than having it delivered anyway. A minute later, I was sitting in Leota, my name for my car, Leota the Toyota, and driving away. Minutes later, I was driving along the upper Kewstoke road, with its lovely views across the Severn estuary into Wales and the mountains beyond.
As I approached the Kings head pub in Worle I heard loud but familiar sounds which I hadn’t heard for so very long. It was loud cheering and laughter, and as soon as I could see the pub I noticed that there were people dancing around like idiots outside. These were happy deranged football supporters jumping up and down and shouting and singing “two-one, Two-oooone- Two-ONE!” They were ecstatic and referring to England’s victory over Germany.
Although I have about as much interest in football as I do drinking muddy water and sleeping in a hollow log, I couldn’t help smiling also, this was infectious stuff. As I got down to the kebab shop I indicated to turn into the driveway and a group of nice young teenage boys who were also celebrating the win, politely stopped and called me to pull in and when I grinned at them they all gently ran up to my car and drummed and sang to me “two-one, TWO-ONNNE!”.
This was happiness in action and the sound of optimism for the future. The sense of community for better days that lay ahead was still alive. My takeaway was instantly brought out to me by a handsome Azerbaijani who smiled so broadly you could have believed his cheeks had been permanently stitched back. I’m rarely less than happy, but tonight, I had been infected by a higher form of emotional state which felt quite wonderful.