"It is quite funny how the dog walkers guild as it were, are seemingly unable to shake their friendly ways".

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A PIECE OF MIND: THE DOG WALKER'S GUILD

Words Alexander Dainton

Illustration Kelley Shields

03.04.2020

ARTS & CULTURE

Let me paint a picture for you: one mother, one small trampoline, gabber music and an online workout. Coming downstairs in the morning and making my morning coffee to a man shouting “COME ON LADIES” through my mum's phone speakers while she lay squinting, trying to see the screen AND work out her next move. ‘Rise and shine’ as one rather ubiquitous celebrity I shall not mention once said. Being at home during isolation has meant seeing sides of our families that we may not have wished for, inevitably leading to increased scrutiny and over analysing of each other. I have recently been feeling like I want some of my own space, which is hard to achieve in such environments. I am sure many other people are going through a transition period if you have moved back home. I’ve been attempting to master a new skill where I put on my headphones, and then I can completely screen off my surroundings and create my own space even in such communal areas as the kitchen. Kind of joking, but also kind of not. I feel like this isolation is bringing out aspects of everyone's inner 16-year-old self.

 

I found myself getting worked up about the survival rate and the ratio of deaths to cases. However, it is important to remember that the statistics are not cut and dry, which can be hard at times. With the UK desperate for testing, nowhere near enough is being done to ensure NHS staff are adequately checked – a constant reminder that those who may have already had the virus and slipped the radar, have not been included in the statistic of diagnosed cases. As we already know, coronavirus can be asymptomatic, which would mean some might not even know they had had the virus. Therefore any form of ratio between cases and deaths can be deemed inaccurate. Numbers aren’t the whole story.

 

I took my dog for a long walk the other day. It is quite funny how the dog walkers guild as it were, are seemingly unable to shake their friendly ways. Walking down any regular street, I find myself (and others) crossing the road, avoiding eye contact, head down and pacing past, which is understandable given the current climate. There is a feeling that people are implementing a level of self-protection mixed with guilt when walking around. Meanwhile, the dog walkers of the world are still keen to have a friendly chat (from a safe distance), while the canines slobber all over each other. At least the dogs don’t have to adhere to social distancing. I was taking some joy from them carelessly running around innocently ignorant. The contrastingly friendly nature of dog walkers might just be a surprise to me because I don’t go on many dog walks who knows. Anyway, there was a family with young children on a walk; the dad was talking loudly with a can of pale ale in hand. Clearly his toddlers are driving him to a bitter end. A golden retriever proceeded to snatch the small children’s frisbee, which resulted in a crying fit and the frisbee being destroyed. Much to my amusement, the owner of the retriever awkwardly tried to get the frisbee back and then attempted to shout an apology from a respectable distance. At the same time, the parents glared and attempted to console their screaming child. As if they hadn’t got enough on their plate already. It is remarkable what might unfold in front of you while on a walk. Highly recommend checking out Putney Heath for the next episode of 'Tiger King has run its course'.

 

One minute I hear coronavirus is being backed into a corner, the next day it’s scandal; lack of testing and shortages of safety equipment, while BBC news updates us with the daily death toll. The news is either scaremongering or presenting a mixed bag of contradictions. As I'm sure, I have said before, too much news at this time is really negative. We should all try and keep up to date but also be wary that little and often is probably the best option. 

 

I read a fascinating article the other day about privacy and the current goings-on, which was sent to me by my friend Jaime. CLICK HERE to read. Highly recommend the read. Written by Yuval Noah Harari (author of Sapiens):

 

Currently listening to Headie One 'Told'.

*Entire album is banging*

 

We wait for more news…

I heard an interview with Robert Weighton this morning, the world’s oldest man at a fruitful 112 and one day. Happy Birthday. I thought this quote stood out and was something that perhaps could do with some broader attention. People might say there is a generational gap in understanding with phrases such as ‘grin and bear it’; however, I think it says something for resilience which is an admirable trait. For someone who has lived through both world wars, Spanish flu, numerous other natural disasters and who knows what personal issues, I feel as though he is entitled to the phrase and has the benefit of enormous perspective over the events we are currently experiencing.

Let’s get the blonde-haired elephant in the room out the way first, Boris has coronavirus (if you’ve been living under a rock for the last two days). This is hardly shocking considering he has perhaps had more contact with people than anyone else. The meme overload was immediate and relentless as if people had prepared for such an announcement. It is concerning that perhaps all the top scientists, the chancellor and other officials have been sharing close confines with him, we can’t have them all going down.

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AIME ® Get in touch at aimemag@outlook.com