The lockdown is affecting us all in different ways. But there seems to have been one thing we all have in common – we have all watched Tiger King on Netflix. The story of
big cat collector Joseph Schreibvogel, aka Joseph Maldonado-Passage, aka Joe Exotic and his team at the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park in Oklahoma has everything: cuddly animals, wild animals, dodgy millionaires, animal rights zealots, wronged wives, missing persons, murder plots, accidental suicides and so many body piercings they probably had to ban magnets from the set.
It's populated by people who are almost without exception damaged, often literally – there's barely one that isn't missing teeth or limbs. Watching it is reminiscent of the era when people used to go to asylums for a Saturday afternoon's entertainment watching the antics of the lunatics. It's generally agreed that's not something we should do anymore.
In normal 21st-century times it might have been regarded as unseemly to exploit other people's misery for our entertainment. But maybe this is the new normal. We are all doing what we can to get through his, and maybe contemplating the possibility life at Joe's makes life under lockdown seem a much more preferable option.
For an equally entertaining and morally less compromised alternative, please consider the amazing range of services you can get through your local library. Basically: free books, movies, music, magazines, newspapers and more.
Libraries went quietly and very digital some time ago. For the cost of your library membership – ie, your rates, you can access services such RB Digital which provides downloadable, up-to-date copies of magazines from the New Yorker to (until recently) North & South; or the Naxos archive of classical, world, folk and jazz music; or beamafilm.com, a library of classic and quirky cinema. And for traditionalists, there are books that can be borrowed in electronic form.
What better way to spend these enforced hours of idleness than by researching your family history – a notoriously time-consuming activity. Auckland Library has made the normally instore-only ancestry-com available online for the duration of the lockdown.
The being nice to each other thing seems to be going well. Acting as designated shopper for my bubble the other day I lined up patiently behind the pink social distance line painted on the footpath outside the supermarket. My bubble is one from which no other humans, apart from my wife and father-in-law, are ever visible so the sight of other humans was quite exciting. Unthinkingly, without the benefit of antibacterial wipes, hand sanitiser or other popular prophylactics, I grabbed a trolley from the outside rack and joined the line. The wiser soul ahead of me turned around and proffered a cloth and a large bottle of antiseptic spray.
"Want to do your trolley?"
"Oh yeah, of course, thanks."
"I bought this a few weeks ago and when I got it home I wondered when the heck I was ever gonna use it."
Some businesses will sail through the crisis, some will go to the wall and stay there, and some, like Air New Zealand, will have a long slow journey back. The airline has been a great New Zealand success story. It has survived numerous setbacks in an industry that seems to specialise in them. It's been painful to see it have the ground pulled out from under it this time.
It consistently broke new ground, innovating to get ahead in a ruthlessly constitute industry. It demanded and received a lot from its employees, up to 3500 of whom may lose their jobs before this is over. If it could irritate at times with its tendency to be self-congratulatory, it nevertheless had a lot to congratulate itself about.