Life in times of corona – lockdown day 209

Goodness me, this thing wont end. The whole world has gone mad. We might be on Level 1 now, which basically means nothing as everything is operating again, but Europe is having a massive resurge in cases so who knows if the dreaded 2nd wave will come here too.

So much has happened in the space between this and the last post, easiest way to report it all will be under subheadings.

Family

Most importantly, we all healthy, and as of today, pretty happy. This does fluctuate though! Lis has had her ups and downs, the monotony of household cleaning, lack of money like we used to have, kid pressures, social anxieties, have all been big challenges. Some days good some days bad. I try my hardest to carry her when she’s low, but can be tough when I have had so many hardcore challenges on my side of the table. But its my duty to serve and support my beloved family, at all costs.

Max ended up changing to the local Kommetjie govt school in August, much to Lis dismay. I couldnt pay the private school fees, and they were hounding me for the money even though we wernt attending, so was impossible. At least at Kom Primary he was with his original buddies Marley, Kalani and West, which at this stage means alot. He adapted well to the more rigid format, but struggled with the comparison of pre-covid kind loving enriching sporting montessori vs post lockdown govt school, all day mask wearing (so shit), no sport, and a pretty weak education to be honest. But its just till the end of the year.
Other than school he’s been doing great. Lots of socialising with friends, him and Sophia have bonded deeply and play together so beautifully now that she’s a bit bigger. He has shown some signs of emotional unrest, maybe just growing up, but went through a bit of a sulky patch if he didnt get his way. I nipped it in the bud pretty hard and hasnt happened for some time now. Lots of fishing days, bodyboarding, skating, bike riding, which has been so rad, the kids birthright! He has also really gotten into his art, doing amazing detailed pictures everyday and then proudly telling the stories. Also really into his lego and builds the most fantastic vehicles with incredible detail!

Sophia has blossomed into the cutest little girl, with the wildest long curly blonde locks. She loves school, and has expanded her friend circle to now include Frankie (Marley’s sister) Lincoln, Bjorn and baby Sophie, always has fun stories to tell when coming back from school. Also loves her art, already starting to draw basic people, almost same time as her brother!
She is really enjoying her push bike rides, plays on her own with her dolls, still has her blankies and dummy at home. Says very funny things and has a wicked heart melting litttle guffaw, quite a mischievous streak too. And the stubborn little monster still rears its head now and then too, but much better these days.

Business

Since July I have been working really hard to rebuild… something, anything to survive. Started renting out rooms to locals, had 3 takers first month, now all full. Couple of remote workers, a cannabis seed co taking two rooms as offices, and a few regular joes. Has made me able to pay the rent, keep lights on. My mom has been helping me with staff survival wages which has been incredible.

The health shop concept ‘Vitamin Sea’ was well received but super slow barely making any money the first month or two. But it did create opportunity. And gave the team purpose. Been through several itinerations (organic veg was a fail!). Was approached by two very ambitious young guys I knew who owned a vegan burger business, and they ended up renting the ex-Soul Bowl kitchen, plus the yoga studio. That alone made a big difference. Then my mate Sam came in with his vynil records and books and setup a small shop inside the shop. Started selling a few beers to go with the coffees, and now after a couple months of frustrating teething issues with the new guys, its all come together into a pretty rad space. (Live vynil beats on Fridays, strictly 50 pax capacity) Something unique, hip and becoming busier every week. Turnover doubled from last month already and still a week left of October.

Longish term plan is run with this model. Ive basically outsourced and turned my revenue stream into  rentals vs hospitality, way less stress, know what im gonna make next month, and if i can get it right, wont have to do the dirty work anymore. Money is way less, but so are expenses and wage bills. More sustainable for now, cos Tourism is fucked #OpenNotOpen Govt opened airports but banned leisure travel from any country that counts. Dont see the situation recovering for at least the next year, so my local-focussed low-risk plan feels like a win.

Personal

Mentally its been the toughest time of my life. At times ive worried about my sanity and my physical health. Had moments where i feel the stomach ulcer flaring, but mild compared to before. For sure had PTSD due to lockdown and financial collapse, which I think im over now, but for months it was so hard. trying to come from that wounded space & create something in the most uncertain, weird, messed up time ever, trying to motivate staff, dealing with family frustrations (Lis dad cancer, my brother leaving family, Lis stresses). But i found a way to navigate it, often by cutting back on smoking as step 1, letting the good energy flow, getting the pep back in my step, and then i feel my power and can do so much! Im meditating almost daily, surfing a few times a week, caring for my family, and others who cross my path, appreciating the beauty of nature. I feel strong, positive, humbled and grateful to feel this way. But i know its not by mistake

Society

The pLandemic and lockdowns have deeply affected peoples psyche. The fucking masks! People are uneasy, wounded and guarded. We are social creatures and so much isolation is really bad, you can see the effects. My friends are scarcer, everyone just dealing with their own issues and stresses caused by all the weirdness. I reach out often, alot more than I get back, but its not why I do it. Masks are now mandatory in public, but it depends where you are. Kommetjie is beyond lax. Muizies/Kalk Bay Id say 90% of people are masked in public, looking like a sea of Hannibal Lecters! Very awkward, as a business im obliged to, but i hate them, so generally at work its round my neck and put it on if speak to someone wearing one. Other than that i use it for school drop offs and going into shops. Wearing one in the outdoors is just too retarded for me.

There’s been major job losses. Tourism aside, many major restaurants have closed, film industry crippled, offshore work like yachting and oil rigs dead. Cape Town CBD is dead too, Over-run by vagrants and To LET signs in the void left by the lack of business people, and the knock on domino effect down the chain from coffee shops where they ate, taxis they rode in, bars they went to after work. All fucked. Many of my friends are out of work, with no prospects in sight, but there is also an element of apathy and laziness to that saga. Those that hustled are doing ok, surviving at least.

But the lower class are really suffering, as much of the low level employment like gardeners, waiters, uber drivers, domestics are the ones who lost out first, and a ticking time bomb is getting louder. The Govt’s R350/month survival grant is a sick joke.

Politics

Oh my word where do I start, maybe its all actually about the politics. Lets start locally.
Pres Ramaphosa has been shown to be a toothless puppet, rather an evil witch named Dlamini-Zuma took over the country under the guise of Disaster Management. She directly profited from the tobacco ban by having links to illicit cigarette trade. Nothing happened, nobody charged. The 500 Billion stimulus? Who knows where it went, certainly not me, or anyone I know of. Nothing happened, nobody charged. Massive corruption scandals linked to the president regarding PPE fraudulent tenders, corruption scandals linked to other ministers for building a waist high border fence between us and Zim. Nothing happened, nobody charged. and many more cases similar.

Farm murders go on unreported by media, disregarded by politicians. Until a 22yr old Farm manager in Senekal was killed, then all hell broke loose. Irate Boere came out in force, stormed the court where the murder suspects were held, set a police truck on fire. Julius ‘I hate Whites’ Malema took his cue and brought 2500 EFF supporters to the court to ‘defend’ state property, saying they are not going to cause a civil war, but if it happens, ‘So be it’. Fuck me, so far it hasnt but its on a knife edge. And meanwhile the Govt does nothing.

Globally USA, Britain and Brazil are having massive fatalities from Covid, and all were lax on their lockdown/control measures. Trumps election took an interesting turn when he ‘got covid’, seemed like a massive PR stunt, and quite genius since he was so vocal in his anti-kung-flu stance.

A killing of an unarmed black man George Floyd by white policemen, was the straw that broke the camels back, and the #BlackLivesMatter movement unleashed all hell all over America. Ten thousand strong protests, major looting and vandalising, running battles with cops. Massively polarising as white people who dont understand the concept of priviledge chant #AllLivesMatter in social media echo chambers and call the BLM supporters racists. Laughable if it wasnt so sad. Must really suck to be black in this world

Conspiracy

Was it all just so they could roll out 5G all over the planet without opposition? (which has been happening all over cape town, Elon Musks 40000 5G satellite grid is halfway complete during lockdown) Transition away from cash to digital. Contact-tracing apps to monitor all movements. Ultimate control built on the foundation of fear, its 1984 in 2020.

The vaccine is coming, a veritable space-race to see who produces what will be the best selling product of all time. But will it be inserting micro chips to interact with the coming 5G signals? Will I be taking it, not a flying continental fuck! To avoid a questionable flu?