As many will know I am an absolute nut for rock music and it is quite interesting how, when potentially faced with more opportunity than ever to listen to my favourites, I have not yet indulged.
In fact, Sunday afternoon was the first time and it was more about practicing songs for our band's next gig (our late May date looks tenuous right now) rather than for sheer distraction or enjoyment.
And at times like these you need distractions.
Sunday also marked the first time that I have ventured to the supermarket since lockdown started.
Mrs Bell and I agreed to alternate because it is appropriate to share in a relationship, even more so when an activity could involve contact with a pathogen for which there is no treatment or cure.
In fact, a week prior when Mrs Bell did 'grocery mission number 1' for the family it felt like we were farewelling her on a tour of duty to secure a strategic high point rather than securing a supply of household necessities.
So it was my responsibility and with hand sanitiser at the ready off I went.
After pulling into the supermarket carpark, there emerged a segue of rock music and the reality of Level 4 lockdown – and it was stark.
While observing the security guard at the door, the person gathering used trolleys, the staff stacking shelves and the counter operators behind a small sheet of Perspex an apt song started playing in my head (and yes, it is the Foo Fighters):
"There goes my hero watch him (her) as he (she) goes, There goes my hero he's (she's) ordinary"
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I've hummed, sung and even screamed these lyrics over the years and I have to say that, until now, the definition in my mind of 'hero' has been reasonably generic.
But as of Sunday April 5th the supermarket staff I observed constitute a specific application of the definition of 'hero' alongside health workers and other 'essential' workers – because they actually are doing their job in the face of a clear and present threat.
And that threat is driven by the catalyst for the extreme measures which we are finding impacting every facet of our lives.
Which is why I am dumbfounded at inappropriate behaviours that I read about and even saw on Sunday which create even more risk for essential workers.
My experiences were mild when compared to reported assaults and accounts of verbal abuse, but the non-observance of 2m separation and uncovered coughs and sneezes I observed in a short visit is just as bad in the environment we find ourselves.
This is in spite of the supermarket, as a business, going above and beyond to ensure social distancing and an event free experience, and they are to be congratulated for sensible controls to mitigate risk under these circumstances.
Although I see someone put it up on Facebook before I could, some of the shopping experience felt like 'PacMan' – trying to find an unhindered route to the fruit / food, but all the while trying not to be enveloped by ghostly clouds of virus.
Word to the wise for future shoppers, if you're wearing a mask and you cough or sneeze a virus can still pass through it – also wearing it on your head or around your neck kind of defeats the purpose.
But, in all of this, the supermarket staff I observed were professional, friendly and busy and a real credit to their employer, the national chain and us as a community.
However, in reflecting on (when you read this) 14 days of lock down, there are more heroes out there.
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Those that stuck to their bubble to stop the spread, the business owner(s) who are keeping things going or dealing with struggles not contemplated even weeks ago and those who are dealing with anxiety of any kind – just to name a few.
Kia kaha and if you need business advice give me a call on 021 244 2421.