Lockdown Log: The rituals we practice

Candice Nolan / Apr 29, 2020

Lockdown Log: The rituals we practice


After the numerous epiphanies of last week, I find myself adrift in a sea of covid-19. I know better than to obsess about something which might never happen. And yet, I keep coming across interesting articles to frighten myself with. It’s scary to imagine that people around the world are in a day to day battle for survival. Their enemy is not alive. Yet it thrives. Reproducing at a rapid rate to where it is everywhere in the world. It lives off the rituals you practice.

I think things really took a turn for the worse when I returned to work. The silent obsessions returned. Concerns over the biometric finger print access system in my complex. Fears that I might inadvertently spread the contagion to the innocent masses under lockdown. When you are confronted with this day-to-day battle for survival, this hide and seek game we choose to play with an unknown enemy, it tends to put a lot of things into perspective.

The rituals we practice

I do much to mitigate against such a disaster. At work, I am frequently washing and then disinfecting my hands with an alcohol based sanitiser. I dutifully clean my common work areas with alcohol based sanitiser. I sanitise my hands on my way out of the building. And, I wear a mask. Have you noticed how the narrative has shifted over the use of the face mask? From “It’s only necessary for health workers and those caring for the ill” to “DIY triple layer nylon cloth masks that are re washable”. Simply staggering.

This is my ritual: when I arrive home from work – and without fail – I dispense a small amount of sanitiser into my palm, grab my kit and make my way to the biometric access point. After scanning my finger, I painstakingly lather my finger with sanitiser. And then as I climb the stairs, I experience a tinge of guilt. What, I ponder, if I didn’t do enough to mitigate disaster? If the rituals we practice are simply not good enough?

The World Health Organisation said that they are learning something new about this virus everyday. They noticed that some covid-19 patients, who seemingly recover, develop stroke, kidney failure, over enthusiastic immune response attacking healthy tissue or heart attack. They suspect the virus has something to do with it. But they do not know why or how. That is a scary thought. As this thing mutates, what prevented infection two days ago (read mask), might not work on Wednesday.

The inadvertent patient zero

What if the virus somehow hitched a ride with me in the car? And then I inadvertently infected the fingerprint scanner and hence an unsuspecting neighbour. Could it be that I unleashed a storm of covid-19 simply because I had to go to work?! The agony!

Humans are a disgusting bunch, as I’ve testified to before. We spit on each other as we engage one another. Tiny droplets of spit are launched every time we say something. Many of these land on the person we are engaging with. And that’s how the virus spreads.

Those germophobes must be full of “I told you so’s”. People with OCD. Set apart as different, eccentric, slightly touched in the head. But all they are is very particular about who they spit on…and who they allow to spit on them. I wear a mask at my sanitised work station. I give people the evil glare if they dare venture into my space.

At work, there’s this person that I don’t care much for. Her phone broke. So she commuted to work everyday to utilise the phone in the office. And she’d spit and spew as she conversed with the person in the safety of the other end of the line. She sits less than 6 metres away from me. So I called the boss and complained that she was abusing office resources.

Her phone call ended abruptly and within less than half an hour she had vacated the office. Honestly, some people are stupid. Why would you risk your life to visit a newsroom environment with spit-flying aplenty, just so you can spit on people and allow their bodily fluids to descend on your like a curse?! It boggles. She obviously does not value life. Hers or mine.

The other day I read an article about an interesting spike in neurological disorders in covid-19 patients. Again, they don’t know if it’s related, but they strongly suspect coronavirus. Why would anyone want to play around with those odds?

Survival of the fittest

I’ve also been neglecting my writing. Finding myself caught up in the cycle of death and survival. An unnecessary cycle, if you ask me. After all, I chose this particular group of people at the office to spit on. And they chose me as the receiver of their bodily fluids. In the South African discourse, people are prepared to risk their lives over racial nonsense.

This virus is a numbers game. At least, that’s what the World Health Organisation reckons anyway. They are also full of “I told you so’s”. They warned us back in January. People ignored the advise at their own peril. Something like 2000 Americans are dying everyday. That is a staggering statistic. They are dying because they refuse to give up the daily spit baths of their fore-bearers. They are dying for nothing.

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