An ill blows, Mike Donachie observes, but what we have learnt during this crisis can improve many lives after it is over.
“It’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good,” an elderly relative used to tell me, usually to make a joke about flatulence.
“This, too, shall pass,” the same wise relative used to say, and, now I think about it, was probably missing another opportunity for off-colour humour. These sayings are worth remembering together during the plague times.
When this is done, and we try to get back to normality, there will be grieving, recovery and job-hunting. There will be nervous adjustment to going outside again, many new habits (nobody’s getting to hug me, ever again) and weight-loss programmes. We have a long way to go.
But I keep thinking about how this will improve us. We’re all learning so much, and it is clear that, when our lives fully resume, they will be changed, and I’m not talking about how we all learned to use Zoom. I’m talking about the values that are coming to the fore.
I just got home from the bakers. I haven’t been out much lately, but I love this particular baker, especially their scones, and I wanted to support them. So I bought six scones and various other things online and they brought them out to my car.
Earlier, I emailed my favourite comic book store. I don’t need any comic books. I have thousands. But I want this shop to get through the tough times, so I sent them a list and explained how much I could afford to spend.
Nobody’s buying extra loo roll because they’re worried about Tesco’s share price. We don’t want the workers at chains to lose their jobs, but we don’t give a damn about the corporate entity. The past world created the conditions for big companies to thrive, but nobody would care if they shrank or were replaced. We feel nothing for them.
I say we should remember how we feel now. Let’s embrace small businesses and make supporting them one of our values, now and when this, too, shall pass. Let’s buy local, and remember that, if we don’t, these small businesses could disappear, like a gust of wind.