Okay, let’s talk the walk – the Covid-Walk, a walk we’ve all been doing since the very first lockdown, and a walk we still have to do.
Now we, my good wife and I, do our walking in the wood, the Millennium Wood (which I’ve been on about often, in fact I feel like I’m a PR for the place).
The Millennium Wood (MW for short) with walk-tracks just about two metres in width, if even, is a prime place to observe the latest species on the planet: Homo Covidicus Ambulator!
Ah, forget the Latin, Covid Walker (CW for short) will do fine. Covid Walkers - and there are several variations of the species - are best observed in confined spaces but it is worth mentioning that all species can be observed on the city’s streets also which are not quite as confined and allow more room for manoeuvre.
In the meantime, the MW is a prime, a perfect spotting spot. First up is the conscientious, the careful, the cautious CW. This man, or woman, spots you coming towards them 200m metres off and immediately takes the left, or right, hand side of the walk, signalling straight off, and straight up, move over buddy, I do not want to come within a centimetre of your possibly Covid-contaminated body.
‘Take no chances’ is their motto. And they’re right. These CWs may well be masked-up and are part-time hypochondriacs. I say part-time because full-time hypochondriacs wouldn’t stir outside the door.
At the other extreme is the middle of the road, or middle of the track, CW. He, or she, strolls along in the middle.
They see you - also in the middle - coming towards them but damned if they’re going to move right or left. And if they’re not going to move right or left – damned if you will either (I can be as stubborn as the next man, or woman).
And now we’ve got a face-off. This is the classic Covid Walkers Showdown and it’s all about who’s going to blink first, so to speak, usually me (as deep down I’m a comprising and nice guy) who swings abruptly to the left or right to avoid a head-on Covid collision. Stubbornness is the name of the game here and it more often than not involves males – thick as ditches, even during a pandemic!
Ditherers (and I can be one of those also) see each other coming but for some godforsaken reason cannot commit to veering right or left. When we do, the other ditherer veers to the same side which results in a reshuffling routine – left, no right, no left again before an acceptable, socially–distanced passing is navigated.
It’s the Covid variation of Lanigan’s Ball; just substitute stepped left and stepped right for stepped in and stepped out. If that makes sense. And not a lot does during these quare times.
There’s also the lost in thought fellow who isn’t remotely aware of your oncoming presence and proceeds down the middle, head down or maybe head in the clouds as he ponders the meaning of life or simply wonders if it’s going to be pizza again for dinner.
He, or she, may well be a poet or amateur philosopher. Eventually he spies you coming down the track and suddenly veers to the opposite side, apologising profusely. Possibly in verse!
Then there are couples. Always tricky especially if they’re not on the same track (metaphorically speaking). One goes left, the other goes right and you’re left squeezing in between – way too up-close and personal.
And then there are Covid Walkers with dogs. One man and his dog is manageable as he, or she, keeps a tight rein on the terrier, poodle or whatever. As for couples with dogs, and couples with children and dogs – guaranteed Covid chaos. No matter what side of the track you, or they, take, either the dogs or the kids end up under your feet. Some dogs will even end up under your nose trying to lick your face. Sure what can you do only grin and bear it and thank the Lord dogs don’t get Covid.
And then there’s that other couple ie my good missus and myself. Well, we’re more or less synchronised Covid-walkers by now, without even thinking we’ll fall in, one behind the other, in the left or right ‘lane’ as someone approaches.
But not always. Occasionally one of us may be lost in thought resulting in under-our-breath, stern admonitions of: ‘Get in for Godsake, get in.’ ‘I will, I will, don’t lose your head.’ ‘I’m not.’ ‘You are.’ ‘I’m not.’
And that’s how a good walk, albeit a Covid-walk, gets spoiled. One of these lockdown-days, we may all get the hang of Covid-walking!