The truly frightening thing about life in a hermit kingdom is that you get used to it.
Once sporting people started leaving the country to get any international competition this year it seemed a tragedy. When the All Blacks had to base themselves in Australia for the Rugby Championship I expected a national outcry.
But not so. It turns out not to matter to us whether a test against the Springboks is played in Townsville or Timaru, as long as it's on television.
Likewise with this lockdown. Each of Auckland's four lockdowns has had a different character. The first was "kind" and quite fun. The second, in August last year, was aggravating. Everyone said, "I'm over this." The third, in February, was tedious, we just shook our heads that a student awaiting a test result had gone to a gym.
But this one? "Don't talk to your neighbours," the Prime Minister said. Aerosols could carry the virus further than previously thought. Police would have less tolerance of breaches this time. But the only word I have for my experience of this lockdown is lethargic.
I'm past anger, worry, fear or even boredom. The days go by surprisingly fast considering you hardly see anyone, go nowhere and nothing different happens. You get used to it, and oddly contented. This must be what it's like to become an institutionalised prisoner.
I feel guilty when I call my brother and sisters in Christchurch and they express sympathy for poor Auckland, still at level 3. I tell them it's not so bad, I think it worse that they lost weeks of business and schooling without a trace of the virus in the South Island.
Around my neighbourhood there's been noticeably more traffic, even at Level 4, than there was at Level 4 last year. I suspect people were travelling if they need to, quietly finding ways to work around the rules as institutionalised prisoners do.
I'm not sure I should be telling Jacinda Ardern any of this. She's been in Wellington for the duration and, at the daily press conference, often sends Auckland her angst for us.
She is weighing up whether to release the city to level 2 next week and some of the case numbers coming in this week from tests at level 3 suggest Delta's "long tail" has a sting or two left in it. But I think she wants to release us, come what may.
I'm sure she cares about our social health as much as our physical and economic condition. The last thing she might want is for us to get accustomed to the solitude and silence of the past seven weeks.
And she's starting to consider opening the country again. When Sir John Key said we were at risk of becoming a "smug hermit kingdom" this week she rose to the bait, rejecting the prospect. The trouble is, she's probably ahead of the public on this. Most people want to keep the country closed.
Most people are not in business, do not export or import or notice how much their living standard depends on people who do these things. Most people do not have a need to travel or a desire to do so now that the virus is endemic just about everywhere else.
Polls consistently find heavy public support for the effort to keep Covid-19 out by restricting entry to everyone except homecoming Kiwis. The agency that does Labour's polling produced a survey this week showing only 26 per cent believe as I do, that border restrictions should be relaxed once everybody has had a chance to be vaccinated.
The vast majority, 64 per cent, agree with the Government that restrictions should remain until we have "90 per cent-plus" vaccinated and infections among those not immunised would not risk overwhelming the hospital system.
The second option begs a big question about hospital capacity but, even so, the people's preference is clear: if we cannot reach 90 per cent they want to stay safe in the hermit kingdom. Perhaps it's no wonder. Like North Koreans, Kiwis have been pounded with a message that the world is a dangerous place, dominated by a force that's out to kill them.
Vaccination is the only way out of this siege and a former Prime Minister's contribution this week was useful. Dismissing the hermit kingdom, Ardern told RNZ some vaccine providers were already using one or two of the incentives Key suggested.
Then on Monday the Cabinet decided some returning business travellers can bypass MIQ for a self-isolation trial next month. That is progress, as would be an end to this lethargic lockdown.
We need to get out now for the sake of our health.