“So, Marg, tell me again why we are planting a winter garden? The lockdown will be over soon.”
Marg: “There is no guarantee that lockdown will end after 4 weeks, and there is no guarantee that fresh veggies will always be available. What happens if we get hit by another disaster during the lockdown, like the cyclone that has just hit Vanuatu and Fiji? We may need garden veggies to get us and the neighbours through.”
Me: “We are feeding the neighbours too?”
Marg: “Of course we are! Where do you think we got all those figs you’ve been wolfing down? They share with us and we share with them. Besides, some of them don’t get out much anymore and could use a bit of help.”
Me: “This lockdown is getting to be hard work. Look how dirty I am! I can’t wait for things to get back to normal.”
Marg looks over at me and smiles: “What do you mean hard work? Since you’ve been working from home, you hardly get out of your pyjamas. You can’t complain about that. A bit of gardening is doing you good.
And as far as getting back to normal is concerned, maybe we should think about making some of these lockdown routines permanent.”
Me: “Why should we do that? Our life was pretty good before this virus came to town. I can’t see much good coming from it.”
Marg: “Well, to start with, we are spending much less on fuel since you started working from home. Maybe when the lockdown is over you should try to work from home a few days a week. Less traffic, less emissions, less office overhead; it could be a good thing for you and the company. You did say that the online meeting you had yesterday was about as good as face-to-face.”
Me: “Yeah, …and I kinda like working from home. I can get so much more done without all the distractions. But with my hours cut back, we aren’t earning as much, either. I see your point, though. So what else is better about the lockdown?”
Marg: “I’m sure you’re sad about not visiting my parents at Easter. That lovely ferry crossing and drive up to Auckland. The friendly traffic. Those engaging political discussions with my dad. I’m sure a SKYPE session just won't be the same.” Marg winks at me.
Me: “OK, that’s two things. I suppose I can forgo your mum’s cooking for another year. So, what else?”
Marg: “I enjoyed watching you and Jim fix his bicycle yesterday. You two don’t spend much time together when you’re working all the time. We’ve had some good family time together these last few weeks.”
Me: “Yeah, it was good. He’s growing up so fast. I didn’t realise how much he’s learned about the world. I suppose I haven’t been paying enough attention. Been too busy.”
Marg: “One of the things I’ve enjoyed about the lockdown is that I feel that life has gotten simpler.”
Me: “You’ve got to be joking! What about all the new rules; 2 metres apart, no visiting friends, shops all closed, no unnecessary trips, job on life-support. It’s like being in home detention!
Marg: “No, I mean we’ve been forced to focus on the things that really matter, like our health, everyone’s health, and where we get our food and what we really need. I feel like it is preparing us for the next disaster, whatever that might be. We’re headed into uncertain times, with the climate changing, worldwide political tensions and, now, the pandemic. It seems like new disasters just keep popping up, with this virus just being the latest one. I keep thinking about all the people who are out of a job right now. That could be us. Or there could be some other disaster, like another earthquake. We need to be prepared.”
“So keep digging up those weeds and get the dirt mounded into rows. I’d like to get these seeds in the ground before it gets dark.
Me: “OK, OK. I’m digging. And by the way, I got it wrong a minute ago. This is more like a labour camp than home detention.”
Marg smiles at me and squirts me with the hose.
These are a collection of opinion articles principally written by CKM member Tom Powell for the Marlborough Express. Tom is a retired geologist who came to New Zealand in 2004 to work in the geothermal industry on the North Island, is a New Zealand citizen and now lives in Blenheim. Some articles have been written by other CKM members, and their names appear with those articles.