Twelve Angry Men*

So, how are you dealing with this unrelenting stream of shit? My Twitter stream has almost ceased to mention anything if it’s not related to coronavirus, social isolation, lots and lots of dead people, crap policing and clapping for the NHS. Last weekend, there was a brief break in the Twitter weather and there was a lot of silliness, #Caturday posts, hashtag games and all sorts of other nonsense but that seems to have passed and we’re now back to Angry Twitter and nothing does anger quite as unremittingly as Twitter after a couple of weeks of confinement.

Anger can be a useful emotion. It can be a driver for necessary change, and God knows we need that. The thing is I don’t have room for anger right now, I’m too busy dealing with fear and trying to avoid despair. I saw a couple of posts yesterday, this one from Siena Rodgers:

…and another from Carole Cadwallader:

…and to be honest, I don’t find either of them helpful right now. The former implies that anyone who doesn’t feel the same as she does just doesn’t understand what is going on or is somehow a moral failure. The latter thinks we’re just lazy.

We’re not. For the most part, we’re terrified, or we’re anxious for the safety of ourselves, our friends and family, or we’re confused or we’re just fed up because we’ve been stuck indoors for what feels like months when spring has finally decided to show up. It’s a really bad idea at the best of times to tell people how to feel, or to dismiss someone who doesn’t feel the same way as you do as lazy or inattentive.

It’s not that I’m content with the way our government has dealt with things, or with the way some of the media has held them to account on our behalf. I’m really not that impressed with the parliamentarians who haven’t done that much to do their job either. However, I just don’t have the bandwidth for it. I have been indoors shielding from this sodding virus for almost two weeks now. I can’t go for a run – which would be my usual mechanism for dealing with stress or distress – because even if social distancing measures were relaxed, I could still contract the virus and end up in Addie’s or Papworth.

There is nothing I can do to change our government’s woeful lack of preparedness for this emergency. I’m not going to get angry about that. There is nothing I can do to ensure that the NHS, the people working in social care, driving buses, delivering food, working in supermarkets, or fulfilling any of the hundred other vital roles in our society get the PPE they need right now and I’m not going to feel guilty about that. I am going to remain grateful that they are there. I will certainly make sure that I don’t forget the work they have done in extraordinarily difficult circumstances when I next come to vote.

And I need to remember not to allow my resentment at being told how to feel by people who don’t know me nor even know that I exist turn into anger at them. Life’s too fucking short as it is.

*Women can be angry too. I only borrowed the title for a blogpost.

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