I try to fight off encroaching old-fogey-ism when I become aware of it in my thinking or behaviour. I have managed (sometimes) to stop myself complaining out loud at the dire state of popular music these days, or shouting at the television when particularly infuriating comments are made by politicians, pundits and others whose views rattle my cage. But I cannot deny that the signs are still there.
The current pandemic affords me ample opportunity to exercise my sense of outrage, and in particular the recurrent obsession of the media with speculating about the ending of lockdown and the possibility of a return to ‘normal’ life. The current easing of some restrictions has heightened this media onslaught, and increased my annoyance.
I should, I suppose, offer explanation for my negativity.
My life has been, for a number of years now, close to permanent lockdown on account of my limited mobility. I don’t get out much, unlike the restless gadabouts who appear regularly on my television, weeping about not being able to go to nightclubs, restaurants or the gymnasium. Staying in doesn’t bother me any longer.
Similarly, I gave up trying to arrange vacations when, for the third time in a row, hotels advertising full accessibility for the disabled turned out to be lying, not only in their websites, but on the telephone when I contacted them to double check their claims. It had a negative effect on my blood pressure to arrive at a hotel only to be confronted by steps at the front door which could not have been negotiated in a Sherman tank, never mind a wheelchair, and to be told, ‘Oh, we used to have a ramp but it got broken.’
I recently heard a couple on the radio declaring, ‘We both work hard, and we just live for our holidays.’ I hope I can be forgiven for my slight lack of sympathy. I can feel the fogey-ism beginning to bubble up as I consider these poor souls whose only reason for living is the annual fortnight in somewhere foreign by the sea. Probably I am being unreasonable, but the importation of Coronavirus by returning holidaymakers last year seems to have been forgotten, not only by the travellers themselves but also by businesses desperate to return to profit.
The other whinges that particularly attract my elderly disfavour are the incessantly stated longings for hairdresser appointments and ‘a pint of beer in a pub,’(to quote the Westminster Prime Minister – I could perhaps understand had he expressed the former desire, rather than the latter).
But then, I am bald as a coot, with a poor capacity for the retention of fluids, so neither of these predilections are high on my list of priorities.
What is important to me is that the following of the data is observed, and compliance with necessary restrictions thus continuing the management of the pandemic, and reduction of infection rates, consequent illnesses and mortality.
I know, I know, the Conservative backbenchers have explained again and again that we must open up the businesses that have suffered for more than a year; but too often, it seems to me, this plea is made with little regard to the safety of the population.
But then, I am just an old fogey. I may as well admit it.