The Illusion

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Editorial and Opinion  |  House: Rebecca K H Boots

I will carry on my analysis of these hard times which seem to be easing around us. But I still sense something else. Whatever it is, it may just jump up and bite us in the rear whilst we are not looking. The great plague of 1630 didn't come out worse off until 1660, so what about the virus we're facing?

My analysis

 

22-05-2020, Belgium, Eupen, capital of the german speaking town in this country I find myself in. The virus has eased and it has now been eleven days since I went back to work in the clothe industry and all shops were allowed to reopen. The eighteenth past and schools were allowed to open their doors to certain students. My son being one of them, I was surprised at how many customers I received, and how arrogant some were over the rules and regulations we applied to keep our staff and customers safe from any possible further spread of the virus. The try out cabins are closed in our shop and there are to ways to see why, of course nothing has been confirmed as this would probably create problems. If customers buy and try on at home and then bring back, they’re compensated on a card which is valid for a number of years and is usable in our shops. The clothes we take back are then sanitised and left in quarantine for a number of days then put back into the shopping area. This is not only a sense of controlling which item is safe to take home with but stops any spread of the virus and saves our financial needs to survive. Today I was supposed to wright more on my book before I go to work, I thought it would ease my mind. The markets have come back and the flowers and plant markets have appeared outside my door. All is fenced off and a queue has formed to allow a certain number of customers inside. Its all open, as it is an outdoor market, guards of the community at the entrance to keep control of the number of people going in and my husband and son have gone there to get the delicacies that have been long missed. I peer out of my window of the first floor and see all that is happening below me. No one dares look up so no one can see me, they don’t even think of it, they are busy gathering their long-awaited desires. But at what cost? The sellers are wearing gloves and masks, some customers are too. The social distancing in the queues form a longer wait. Some customers are without masks and some do not care. All are directed how to behave at the entrance before being allowed in, but once they are inside all control is lost. I see sellers scratching their faces, resuming normal body language, they adjust their masks knowing that they have touched their skin and hoping with belief to forget that this happened by adjusting the mask they carry. Some wearing gloves then take a brake and touched their face wearing gloves to take off their mask. Social distancing is nonexistent, many were returning to the normal way of buying and selling to make their moneys worth. So what was the point of all the rules, my son told me it was peer pressure, he hates wearing the mask as he sees his friends and their families walk around without. I keep saying you can do nothing wrong by applying the rules, because as long as you discipline yourself to keep your hands to yourself and away from your face you can save yourself. The others on the other hand are no longer your concern. For if they do not apply the rules for themselves you cannot protect them in any way. An old lady buying flowers with both hands on her face without mask or gloves, but she has sanitised her hands upon entrance, deciding what to buy her hands on her face makes it obvious to the seller. The social distance is then gone and the transfer is complete, the seller has sold and the lady has bought at what cost? That we may not know. But I do know that what I have witnessed today that the rules applied was an illusion, an illustrated event which showed no security whatsoever but played the act well for what cause!? Am I being paranoid? The keepers of the law watching the entrance tell some people in the queue to keep their distance, well they didn’t like that, being told what to do, what they seemed to show in facial expressions as a load of bull! But what if, this may be the worm, those who survive would have gotten use to the procedures that they should have exercised during quarantine. Instead of thinking `I won’t go out at all so I will save lives!’, more like use the time you are given at home to learn how to protect yourself. And those who don’t will be the carriers or the numbered. Whatever I am to believe all will reveal, but what I am seeing is either bullshit and a load of crap or really we are facing in the future a bigger challenge that no one can see and only a few are prepared for.

As I carry on looking around, the days pass. It is now the 3rd of June 2020. Lockdown in Europe and other Western countries have eased the lockdown pretty much completely. It’s strange as the events that have followed have made the virus look like a phony. I stated that I had gone back to work, well things have progressed to the clothe cabins reopening. After many conflicts with customers trying on clothes in the shop in public regardless of the risk they posed to us or other people let alone themselves. We put extra security measures into the procedures on how we were to open the changing cabins, and still people stated it was too much. What else were we to do? If ever there was an outbreak in our shop, the responsibility would cost us our reputation and put our jobs into question. But I do understand the customers when they state that other shops are taking less measures or are completely without care, then I must confess what is the protection policy? Is it really every country for itself? If so this would mean every business for itself too. Like I stated in the analysis I gave, `The day Man Kind was challenged, and The day Man Kind was challenged to play the Hermit’? I have never felt safe until this year in this country. I was always stressed and under extreme pressure and in my book European Families I still haven’t gotten to that part to explain why, but in this country I felt safe, until the epidemic. But I’m not scared of the virus like I was scared of my own country and its way of life. So what is different, yes, I have become stronger, but this is nothing! I am just defending this feeling inside of me and trying to justify what I am analysing. It is true at this present time we are fighting an enemy, we cannot see, smell or touch.

All can be a carrier and all could be an infected. So, what does this mean, social classing? Dictatorship, social media, extremism, terrorism, you name it, new world order and who gets to govern it? Well that answer and paranoia which I believe all of humankind seem to be thinking about, I don’t have the answer to. Don’t care either, as I know that if I knew the answer, it would be read or heard way too late and changed would be nothing except the consequences that may follow. So what did I see and feel and hear about? Well, for some it is over, in their minds they do not want to think of it anymore and spend their time convincing themselves it was all a load of exaggerated panic that made us go into hiding for nothing, just like during the cold war. Some agree that they have also felt that this is absurd, all behaving as though nothing was, celebrating the good weather and catching up on what was lost. Our fun fairs that are usually part of our culture every June have also been cancelled. But the kids can go back to school, people are mingling in parcs and forests in groups of seven and in some countries the beaches are full and in others, there are riots and in some you can’t enter a shop without a mask in the rest of the world it’s do what you want basically, where the mask or don’t. In one country is a riot about race and discrimination during their deconfinement, as the epidemic is still there the danger of the riot is getting worse. Protests are getting bigger and spreading a lot quicker than the virus did. In this country, Belgium, it is the sense of “I’m glad it’s all over, it’s not over what are you talking about, is it there or not? I don’t know!”. There’s not a lot you can go on that, without taking extreme measures and obliging your kids to do the same, as this way I guess you can do nothing wrong and still stay safe. But what do I mean by safe, I’m ok, I still get silly looks wearing my mask with the odd comment saying, only wear a condom when you’re in bed, you won’t wear it on your date right? Well I don’t see it as that theory, I got that one from social media, from what I see as people justifying the peer pressure not to wear it so that the rule of social distancing and hygiene is enough, let alone the track and trace app. But then, there are the carriers who are immune, if I am a carrier I wouldn’t know, no testing has been done and the rumours of it being done have gone into non-existent. I would have thought that they would have found a way to sort that out. So what is the use of the track and trace if no one I know has been tested. Well that rules out me either catching it or transferring it right? That’s the theory everyone’s got going here! 

 

CONSCIOUS

 

Being conscious and aware of your enemy is something to always think about, but if you cannot see it and touch it nor smell it, then you have a problem. Mankind are easily forgetful; they also easily get bored of something. The basic procedures on how to protect yourself and others from this viral enemy, was laid down and I supposed used in practice during the confinement. Unfortunately, all were ignored the time they had to prepare themselves. Instead they prepared for the deconfinement, and out they went like chickens let loose from a hut. The terraces were full in some countries, others applied masks as obligatory and other countries beaches were packed and people were buying up all they could and talking about their future holiday. Well it is now the 21st of June and all is back to normal, everyone is out and eating and drinking in bars, restaurants outside in the sunshine. I went out jogging in the morning, only to see if the jogging track was open at the football and sport stadium. Now getting there on foot was no issue and usually closed due to the virus I would run round it on the outside. But this time it should be open if everything else is open right!? Well to my surprise it was closed, and the other entrance was open so I went in, it is an outdoor track, so I was the only one there, I looked around and no one to ask. I started running round on the racing track till suddenly I saw the caretaker. I stopped and asked politely if it was open or ok for me to be there. He said normally not, but I could carry on as there was nobody there, so I carried on a few laps and then went home as I was running out of water and it was getting hot. As I left the tracks for home, I realised that as I went home the whole town was open on a Sunday and the social life had again begun. I thought to myself that this was more of a gathering and no masks to be seen except for the waiters who carried the masks by law. I thought this is strange, there’s more people here than there ever was on the racing track! All had the impression that the social distancing was being applied and that they were respecting the rules and defending themselves against this so-called virus still lurking in a corner waiting for the right moment. I went home and thought hard, I needed some provisions from the local store, I thought dam it, I’ve been working so much I only had today off to do it. I thought being Sunday the shops should be empty with everyone on the bars and terraces eating and drinking. I was surprised to see there was no queue, no one was wearing a mask and there were more that forty people in the shop. No social distancing and I thought I was seeing things. Is it that we have adapted already to the social distancing and not noticing the distance as it is so normal now? Or am I just not thinking right. I had my mask on, no one else did and even the store workers, not all of them had the mask on either and I realised that some just cannot bare wearing it anymore. Like some of my work colleagues, complain about it all the time. I said that the second you take that mask off whether it helps or not, it makes you forget the safety procedures in place, then the second you put it on you are reminded of what you need to do. But there is a situation that bugs me too, government are not seen wearing the mask either, are they tested or temperature checked, before entering a building or for work? Must be, in the hospital, your temperature is checked along with your symptoms, mask is also applied. So there is a sense of confusion amongst the population, were the riots have been all over the world and monuments being disabled for a couple of weeks now, you do wonder how long before you see signs of the virus picking up again. In Germany, some places have had to be locked down again including some places in China. So you wonder how much more is going to come before we all fall for the future controlled way of life we all may have to face one day should this continue.

Now being conscious about everything is hard to do, but sometimes depending on the situation, the demand for conscious becomes very clear. Sometimes it’s hard to put into words, it depends how you say something and that is also very important, as some people can get confused or tend to deviate from the subject and some just try to avoid it with the fear of offending anybody. The way of communicating with yourself and others may be the key, but it can also be on how you see people, yourself and situations. Always seeing both sides is hard when your upset or when you are victimised or included in some social dispute. Nothing else matters when you feel spoken too about what you seem to feel is wrong or right, then there are also those that have passed there time without that sense of communication in their life. Which doesn’t help any situation especially if they end up in some important position in their lives. Like being a parent or a leader, maybe even just an older sibling in a huge family.

Well it is now the 11th of July, one month after the normality was supposed to continue in Belgium. But the government have analysed that in some countries including those coming out of lockdown and those already open with obligations to wear masks, that new outbreaks of the virus have occurred. I did say it was lurking in a corner waiting for the right moment. Now it is starting from today, an obligation to wear the mask in public spaces, I work in the clothe industry, my shop stated yesterday to tell the customers in advance that those who do not wear a mask will not gain entry to the shop, their comment was, “Yeah well tomorrow is tomorrow!”, and some would sneer at me as if to say what a load of rubbish. The rebellious faces of not liking to be told what to do is one reason why employers have a hard time finding reliable employees! Yet I’m being let go, end of august I will have no job. All due to a replacement contract coming to an end, with no renewal, at least I know it was not due to my performance at work, more just politiques again. Which permits me to understand the logic in which these rebellious people choose to think like. It’s not fair, I agree, but I also see another path for me to take. Either I stay and fight at this barrier, or I leave this barrier closed before me, and choose the other path that will lead me to the same destination. It is a hard one, and one with many stops and question marks. But I am a curious person and very passive. But I can get very defensive and upset, so I must see the signs, before the path blurs before me. If I let this happen, I shall walk this unknown misty path without seeing the stop signs where my questions could be answered so that I can continue safely. With an enemy waiting to attack, a financial circumstance in trouble, and an unknown path to come. But first thing is first, I must still get out of what I have left of work, to analyse the reaction of todays renewed politiques against the virus.

December 10th, 2020; much has come to past. Job gone, husbands job gone, came out of lockdown only to go back into a semi lockdown to then easing down the semi lockdown for Christmas. Don’t get it! Well neither do the rest of us, I realised that during the first lockdown I received an email, stating that all those who were not on a fixed contract will be let go when it ends. All due to the ongoing global pandemic. So I thought as I looked around, I lost my potential permanent contract because they were closing stores all over the world. My husbands contract was not renewed, and I had to go for an operation due to a hernia in my tummy and adhesion caused by my two previous caesareans. I had always felt bloated, but not anymore, getting back into shape, I thought of what was going on around me, as during the months of September and October, the rise of infected covid 19 had gone up and the hospital became full. I was operated on the 14th  of september and they said there was nothing in the covid section, we were in a small town, but on the boarders, and during the summer holidays people did not stick to procedures and did what ever they wanted. I thought that this would end badly, our town became the worst infected area in Belgium. Germany’s numbers skyrocketed and Britain weren’t doing to well either. So it came, another lockdown, but shops that could stick to procedures and sell food or sanitisers and have a library and garden and smart art crap could remain open so long as they covered up what was not essential. Like clothes, and Christmas decors and toys and so one. So my ex workplace closed obviously but I could say I escaped there just in time, three of my colleagues got infected including the manager. So I thought well I got lucky! Yet I still had family that was not so lucky, my sister and her three little girls caught it. The organisation in the schools in Britain was badly done in preparation to the security measures, no one did anything to prevent it from happening. The girls brought it home with them after many notices had been made of children having to quarantine as they had family members who caught the virus but were seen out shopping in a group. So I wasn’t surprised that my sister caught it. she survived and needs time to heal, she still has trouble breathing and she stated that she had a horrible after taste and smell as though you had just come out of the swimming pool. My little family still remain safe and uninfected for the moment. I am still sending them to school and they know what they need to do, to prevent any possible infection, but this could be an illusion. It is possible that we have already had it and not been aware, I was tested before my operation and of course it was negative. But I have not been tested since and no one else in my little bubble has been either. But we haven’t had any symptoms, well my husband is a bit of a cry baby, so he thinks he has had everything. We keep our contacts limited and still wear our masks wherever we go. Does it help? I am not sure; it hasn’t harmed me to wear it though or the kids. Some say it deprives them of oxygen, some may have bad asthma and have trouble breathing because of it. It is true that the security measures are made for the fit and healthy, not for the weak who have trouble keeping up with the prominent changes. December 1st came and all over Europe, the lockdown was eased and the shops were to open, yet the restaurants and pubs and bars and the cosmetic businesses were to remain closed. I thought to myself well, what can they do, all in the name to save Christmas, shops became packed for presents and Christmas food shopping. People angry that they were allowed only a certain number of visitors for Christmas which meant no family gatherings. I had already got my Christmas shopping done online, early and carefully discrete. I spent most of the time trying to find work or a study course I could go on. Training my body to get back into shape, still I am not allowed to do many things at the moment, my tummy muscles need time. Talking about saving Christmas, for me it is already saved, it is what you make of it and how you can celebrate it with the Christmas spirit in the hardest of times. I don’t think people today are able to even comprehend how easy it is today to save Christmas compared to the past. Even then it was saved, it has been proven many times before. The first and second world war, even in times of desperate starvation, people still managed to celebrate Christmas eve. The spirit of Christmas isn’t just how much food you can serve per head, or how much you have spent. I will say, I have been blessed, and I did play Santa this year, I sent 5 packages to friends and family in England full of Christmas goodies they could enjoy to help lift their spirits. I have been over generous to my little family bubble here in Belgium. I have collected so much Christmas decorations over the years that I had too much. I gave some to my neighbours from Turkey who came here to live as free protestants, they have nothing. It reminded me, that out of all the decorations I had, they were all decorations that I had salvaged when we too first came to live here and had not much else but 30€ to live off per week. It was more than what some had, but I still kept the illusion of seeing all as well as could be. In those desperate times where we just had enough to eat, the spirit of Christmas did not leave, the bells still rang for me, and the musical instruments that played Christmas carols still played for me in my thoughts. So no, Christmas doesn’t need to be saved, it just needs to be done, so that you can brush off the very many thoughts that bring you down. Making something out of nothing using the smell and song of what the spirit of Christmas that has been doing for many years. No one can take that away, only yourself, and the thought of it being taken away is the very illusion which we are fighting against. My brother’s birthday is on the 20th of December, I shall visit his grave nearby. I hope it snows then, it was his wish when he was five to receive a sledge for his birthday, it snowed on that very day he opened his present and found that very sledge. This year apparently is supposed to shine after 800 years the star of Bethlehem, starting the 20th to the 21st you should be able to see it. I thought what a coincidence, what an illusion, so much to think about on such a day yet to some. I remember the first Christmas decorations I got here and I still have them, my husband said, “Shall we get some new ones!?”, I said, “No, it reminds us how lucky we are and how far we have come!”. It also reminds me of the feeling it gave us when we received those decorations, that feeling of Christmas cosiness. All though I let nothing dampen my spirits knowing my dad just came out of hospital after having heart surgery I still think of those going through the Christmas time without someone they love, I know how that feels. During this pandemic many have still lost their lives and still now just before the new year yet to come. One in particular I think of that died not due to corona virus, not because she was sick or due to anything else other than her having lost hope and the will to live. She lived in Liege or in that area and opened her dream hairdressing saloon. She had just come out of her studies and got through her first experience of being her own boss. She was very successful, then the pandemic hit, her business closed shortly after opening and she received no support from the state to keep her from going bankrupt. It  was all she wanted, she posted her fears and worries on the net in the hope that someone somewhere would answer her cry for help, as many did and still are. Only she decided to give up and end her life so young and early. She was so pretty. This Christmas I will be thinking of those I am not able to help, for I am too poor, those who are struggling to keep their livelihoods alive, those who are losing hope and not able to realise that help is there, in some ways it is an illusion. Only an illusion to the point of how you believe to imagine it. It may be far away and may ask you to cross boundaries and go through hateful ordeals to get it. It may not even resemble the help you expected or imagined. But it is there, when all light dies out, there will still be somewhere some light you can find, wherever that light may be, it won’t be far and one day you will find it. I did, I found help everywhere because I didn’t stop shouting or screaming or banging on the doors, hoping that someone would answer. It took a while, but as long as you keep moving, that light gets bigger and the illusion of no hope dies. 

Relief

After all the lockdowns and ease downs and do it your self-projects around the world, we witness riots and political battles for democracy. Then the relief comes that all have been waiting for, the vaccine.

It is here but it’s not! People are getting the vaccine and some do not want it. Some are worried it doesn’t work and rumours have it that we being led into a trap. A pollical governmental conspiracy. Other news states that it’s only good for a five month period and then what?

People are coming out of countries noted as a hot spot. This means people had to quarantine out their own pocket. Then the news spread of the marvellous progress each country were achieving on vaccinating their population. In some countries it seems pretty dismal! However, some people still do not want to receive it and those complain that if they don't, they could be deprived of some normal social lifestyle. So I can understand the illusion behind this thought of it being some kind of conspiracy. Not to mention that some who have had the vaccine have had bad side affects and if after being vaccinated catch the virus it could then be fatal! A lot to take in for some relief of this being over. Then it hits, a new virus is discovered, first the British virus, then the Brazilian virus and then the South African virus shortly followed. What now! Many countries went back into lockdown and some went into semi lockdown with restrictions and curfews. In some countries it is all going well while the borders to the outside world remained closed, here in Belgium it is not the case, most borders are open to the commercial crossroads and to prevent cut up families. But still we may pay a higher price for this. What should we do? Other arguments state that compared to the Carona deaths, more people are dying in natural catastrophes, accidents, starvation, conflicts or through self-harming. Then there is the dispute to the environmental talks becoming less due to this pandemic. So what is the illusion here?

In some countries the temperatures are becoming more spring. In others, there is no water or heating due to the icy weather they have had to deal with. Still I wake up every morning and look out of the window and see much traffic even on holiday periods. As I watch the news people say do not believe what you see on tv, yet I can know if some of it is true seeing as I have family and friends dotted all over the world. In countries, systems have tightened their belts and some have shut down due to the lack of resources, personnel or funding. Others are just overwhelmed by the whole thing, home schooling without the right material, having the right to be helped and others have to go without. Quarantined in short spaces with to many family members. It is a hard psychological game that I had to play long ago when all seemed normal. I remember being confined, having a curfew, having no heating or water or food. I remember living in small places compact. Although my experiences are nothing compared to a prisoners life or the harsh life of a refugee or dictatorship, it was something to state seeing as I had never been a refugee or a criminal. So there is something not quite right there either! Social distancing and boundaries and lack of material aide to keep up with the evolving net has shown already social classing that was already present, it just wasn’t as transparent as it is now. So the relief in a good way and a not so good way, new positive elections have been made or has it? Other leaders have been put on trial and some have been locked away. What is the relief that we have been waiting for? Something must be coming, so let us hope for a positive reform that our next generation and the one still fighting to keep up with make it through. You cannot be a goat outside the wall, but if you play the sheep, only then can you enter to form change if need be.

 

 

 

 

 


Submitted: May 22, 2020

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