Columnists

Covid irritations will drive solutions

econ-corona
jenny

Summary

  • Jobs have collapsed everywhere.
  • We have moved to online working that is progressively eroding whatever company culture and team dynamics we had.
  • Everything is harder, which, of itself, is slowing outputs and outcomes — and thus payments, revenues and incomes too.

Driving can get aggressive in the city at any time, but when I nearly ended up in a hedge, this Sunday, after being mown down by some particularly crazed fellow driver, my passenger promptly started recounting all the similar incidents he had seen in recent weeks: Covid rage.

Yet, my own experience is more one of Covid irritation. I have been in queues as everyone is given a new form to fill, or new procedures are explained — yet again, new on new ways of handling we public.

And as the latest new inconvenience unfolds, most people only bear a weariness, in the face of the clear evidence that reason is not a driving force for any of these rules.

For it rarely seems to be. To whit, British Airways. Also on Sunday, I flew, in a packed BA flight.

The person on one side of me explained her flight had originally been for Thursday, but was cancelled. It was also my second booking, as the first airline I had booked with had cancelled too.

Yet every single seat on this particular flight was full — um, sorry British Airways, but remind me about social distancing, why we do it? So we can sit not one inch from another passenger, not even alternate seats, on your esteemed transport?

But the true shock came as cabin crew delivered us a bottle of water and packet of crisps each and everyone took off their masks as well.

I sat there thinking, wow, this is the first time in seven months I have sat between two total strangers, each one inch away from me either side, with no face masks.

So, if I catch Covid now, can I sue British Airways, after all my months of staying careful and follow the rules that don’t seem to be at play in BA world?

Although, it’s OK, because BA has it covered for when we all get sick: it gave us an extra paper form to fill in as we flew with our names and contacts and seat number — all of which it has in its system already — so it can trace us all with the good news that one of the 200 had Covid, that it sat us one inch apart from with no masks.

And just for good measure, 16 hours later, a new email from BA, it had cancelled my return flight, so now I’m investigating a hover pack to propel myself the thousands of miles home, while I search for Covid testing and certificates and steer through any quarantine.

It’s not surprising we get irritated. We all see that no one has been left untouched by this pandemic.

Jobs have collapsed everywhere. We have moved to online working that is progressively eroding whatever company culture and team dynamics we had. Everything is harder, which, of itself, is slowing outputs and outcomes — and thus payments, revenues and incomes too.

People we know and care about are having mental health issues.

We are spending more time online with isolated people who are now getting unstable, alcoholism is rising, so is suicide. Everyone is stressed.

And then we get new argumentative outbreaks everywhere as well, because we’re all stressed at the same time. I took my car in for a service and one of the mechanics shouted at me before the garage had opened for parking where he had wanted to.

It’s not normal, that kind of explosion, and yet these are now everywhere.

So what do we do about Covid irritation? Perhaps, first of all, remember we will emerge from all this, not back to where we began, but we will adapt, and adaptation is the key.

For the faster we find solutions to the things that have now become problems, the faster our own lives will have the space for fulfilment.

Right now, we seem to be being tugged too many ways too often: and having people drive us into hedges, yell at us outside garages, and cancel our flights, isn’t nothing.

But breathe deep: the irritation will drive solutions. That’s how it works. We’ll take a leap forwards now, on all these new discomforts. You just see.