Melancholy Slowdown

The numbers keep going up, and everything is at a standstill. That means very little to do at an international centre that relies on contact with the community for work. Correspondence in all forms peters to a trickle, so people are sending us documents to translate, and obviously we can’t in good faith ask people to come in and visit us. That leaves little to do but complain about there being so little to do. There are only so many times one can clean out the desk or the entire office, only so many times one can pretend to be surprised at rediscovering things that haven’t been used in years—or by memorabilia, such as the fat wad of Christmas cards in my hand right now, freshly unearthed from a filing cabinet, drawn by primary school children after a workshop I put on at their school, in what now seems like a lifetime ago. 

Retailers, wholesalers, producers such as factories, are all afflicted with the terminal lethargy. In some countries (fortunately not here) people are forced to remain indoors for extended periods exacerbates existing problems and creates new ones. Some people who live together, it turns out, didn’t really like each other all that much. Others never really liked themselves and knew it ahead of time, and needed the distraction from pondering the nullity of their lives. Most are somewhere between the poles. It’s no fun for anyone. Body and mind stagnate. The eyes begin to close of their own accord. One must be vigilant to keep in abeyance the spectre of depression and its myriad attendant madnesses. 

But at least the sun is shining. A cold and gloomy weekend has given way to what promises to be a cold but clear week, with dry air and reduced risk of hypothermia. 

Primary schools reopen tomorrow. We wish the children well, and we’re glad for them that they aren’t going to be stuck at home anymore. Those little tykes who drew me the Christmas cards are probably in high school by now.

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