• Darren Roberts

The Apocalypse cometh.

Sunday I went out for a walk, which was an absolute triumph given the global horror unfolding before our eyes. I got some much needed fresh air and had a chance to mull over the current madness that seems to be taking a firm grip of our normality.

Have we over-indulged in one too many horror movies that our rationale minds have been sideswiped and replaced with the kind of hysteria normally associated with a Hollywood blockbuster? Is this really the end of days? You would have thought as much in Sainsbury's yesterday. The shelves were picked to the bone - toilet rolls and dried pasta are the firm favourite of the hoarder busily stockpiling. I guess the mere thought of catching Covid 19 is enough to send the mortal man into a spin - and enough of an incentive to feel the need to buy all of the loo rolls in the supermarket and enough dried pasta to feed the hungry three times over . I think people need to calm the fuck down and actually listen to the advice being broadcast - listen to the clever people - not Mick down the pub who has turned his spare room into a bunker full of tinned fruit and weetabix. Mick the oracle of all things viral who still insists on his daily pilgrimage to his local pub for a cheeky pint and the free nuts - nuts being enjoyed by everyone that might as well be served in a Petrie dish.

Of course it's worrying - I am a cancer patient and I really do fall into the 'at risk' category of this nightmare. How do we draw the line between reasonable rationale behaviour and hysteria? Do I just switch off depressing TV and adopt the 'ignorance is bliss' approach like Mick down the pub or do I educate myself with the information that seems to be constantly available to everyone with access to a smartphone.

I have spent most of the last week holed up in our flat watching the world go mad in between episodes of Tipping Point and Eastenders. I've watched in shame as the preverbial finger of blame is being pointed at anyone from Asia . How stupid are we that this childish prejudice just makes us look even more dumb and ill educated. WTF would we do if Covid 19 turned people into zombies - how would we cope then? All the toilet rolls and dried pasta in the world wouldn't stop a flesh eating zombie from ripping your head off and eating your brain. Are we really heading for complete lockdown or do we just need to follow some of the basic instructions.

I'm no scientist but to me the message is as simple as simple can be - wash your hands and don't cough or sneeze into peoples faces - the two biggest factors of whether you'll contract Covid or not. You wipe your bum after using the toilet - why is it so hard to carry a hanky and be considerate - it's all about personal hygiene and being clean. This is how the virus is spread.

Yesterday I witnessed first hand the hilarity of blind panic and how an innocent shopping trip can turn into a viral circus. I was standing in the queue behind a smartly dressed chap with a trolley full of supplies for the pending nuclear war. He paid and quickly shuffled towards the automatic doors where he stopped and with the care and consideration of a surgeon proceeded to treat his hands with sanitiser. I was quietly impressed. That was until the same hands treated with lashings of sanitiser continued to push the trolley toward his waiting car, the automatic boot already opening. This precious couple of seconds gave him enough time to pick his nose - lick his finger and light up a cigarette. Fag dangling from his bottom lip he then began to unpack his bounty into the boot of his car and was soon joined by the driver - who I can only imagine to be his wife or girlfriend who eagerly helped load the boot - receiving a big kiss on the lips for her trouble. They both jumped into the car like excitable teenagers and sped off giggling. Now the only thing troubling me was not the fact she was a good few years younger and that he was definitely punching - but whatever filth was lurking on the trolley was now up his nose in her mouth and enjoying an air-conditioned trip to somewhere in South London. Had I just witnessed a super spreader in action?  

Of course I am scared of this virus but I'm also pissed off with people's lack of common sense. It's surely not that hard to be clean? I have reason to be concerned - I am one of many people without a fully functioning immune system because of cancer treatment drugs. If this virus is as bad as they say then I am at serious risk of getting it if I don't follow the simple instructions. I went away two weeks ago to visit friends in Somerset and chose to take the train On my homeward journey the train was quiet - not many other travellers to navigate - my personal space was not compromised - I felt safe - but there was a chap about ten seats who was occasionally coughing. That irritating type of dry cough that you hear in the cinema - the winding up type - annoying and sporadic. I think someone did say something to him about covering his mouth which he eventually did but the damage was already done. Two days later I was blighted with a cough and whilst attending a scan at the Royal Marsden I was diagnosed with the start of a chest infection. Cheers mate! A week of antibiotics and the drama of having to wear a face mask - which I had been wearing quite a lot during outings and actually oblivious to the fact that wearing a face mask to protect myself is about as useful as a chocolate teapot. To avoid this virus you'd need to wear a hazmat suit or just wash your hands.

I am really angry that I have managed dodge everything cancer continues to throw at me and yet it is a filthy virus that has resulted in us being forced to cancel our holiday to Bali in April. A shitty virus born from an unhygienic market in China - a virus which has gotten clever - clever enough to hitch a ride to Europe and the rest of the World and is managing to grind life as we know it to a halt. We have spent the last week trying frantically to change tickets - re-route journeys and change itinerary but to no avail. This is a natural disaster and therefore not deemed serious enough to warrant a full refund. Well that's not entirely true - it's really up to the Government to direct what happens as it's their guidance and advice which dictates how the blue chips behave and react to such incidents. It doesn't matter if you have cancer or the fact you could die if you catch it - you are just one of millions of angry travellers whose holiday plans have been blown apart by someone somewhere - living in a place you can't spell - who didn't adhere to the basics of food hygiene and personal cleanliness. We can't blame wealth, economic status and circumstance to the spread of this virus,   when it comes down to the basics of simply keeping yourself and your environment clean or at least make the effort to as this will determine how quick and how many people get it.

So I went for a walk and came up with my personal action plan..

*Don't pick your nose and don't eat your bogeys.

*Stop biting your nails.

*Wash your hands thoroughly and use a sanitiser regularly, if you can actually buy some. If not ask Mick from the pub.

*Refrain from kissing and cuddling your mates - especially if they've just returned from a trip to China. A fist bump will suffice

* Re book the Italy trip.

*Avoid using public transport if possible.

*Keep your hands away from your face.

*Carry some disposable tissues.

* Work from home if you can.

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