Andrew Dickens: The poor are getting ignored in this pandemic

Author
Andrew Dickens,
Publish Date
Sun, 5 Apr 2020, 11:08AM
(Photo / File)

Andrew Dickens: The poor are getting ignored in this pandemic

Author
Andrew Dickens,
Publish Date
Sun, 5 Apr 2020, 11:08AM

Day 11.

So they did it. They outlawed swimming. The New Zealand we know and love is no more.

It’s a personal disappointment because this past week I’ve enjoyed a swim a day. I’m lucky in that I’ve got a calm little beach 200 metres from my home where people have a dip at high tide and move on in 15 minutes.

But that’s gone. Possibly because of the people who continued to swim and surf at beaches full of rips and hazards, who were flipping the bird.

But look, this is not a major. It’s April for goodness sake. The numbers swimming are because of good tides and an extraordinary Indian summer. The tide in the North is becoming awkward and all it will take is a good cold snap and the beach scenario is gone.

You could always cycle, which is still pretty dangerous but somehow it gets away with it, possibly because so many politicians cycle.

I have a message to the cyclists who have invaded our now empty streets in their hordes. There seem to be a large number of you who have unearthed a bike from somewhere, perhaps it's been under the house for a good few years. Having found the bike, you've taken to the road for your mental health.

To those people I say, for God's sake, oil your chain and pump up your wheels and you might want to take a look at your brakes. Watching portly middle class people wheezing along as their bike squeaks and creaks and the wheels are half down does my head in.

Can I also talk about give way laws in our round the block exercise? The worst offenders in terms of invading the social distance in my opinion are runners. They bomb my bubble group all the time. Sweating and huffing and puffing virus laden droplets all over the place.

In my book, walkers come first, runners need to run around walkers rather than running straight at them, and cyclists need to avoid the lot of us.

I also want to lecture supermarket shoppers. In my view the supermarket is the most hazardous place there is, forget tramping shooting or swimming. The virus hive I call it,

This is what is driving me nuts. There should be only one of you from your bubble. I've discovered an unfashionable supermarket that never has queues but it has mindless shoppers.

The other day I encountered a middle aged woman and her 18 year old son doing an incidental shop. They were all over the shop. They squeezed past me countless times as they search randomly for essentials like Coca Cola and potato crisps. Mum phoned home to ask what do we need?

There was another Mum in there with a teen daughter. The teen daughter's purpose seemed to be to look at her phone. There were others who had just a hand basket wafting along in their flip flops like they're on holiday and I'll just get some tonic.

Shop seldomly. Have a list and a plan. Get in and get out. Wipe the trolley handles.

Back to the hysteria about people going to the beach. A virologist the other day mentioned how the chance of catching the virus outdoors is very low. Viruses spread in close contact indoors. Viruses love supermarkets. Get supermarket wise.

These though are all First World problems.

Finally I want to say where are the poor voices. The other day Shamubeel Eequb was on the radio. He and Kerre were talking about the next generation and the world they're inheriting. They were talking the world after. They were talking about how people can work from home on their computers. They were talking about how people are re-discovering gardening and knitting. They were talking about how this might be the end of consumerism and the excessive consumption of stuff.

It was the conversation of the comfy.

The production of the excessive stuff is how poor people make money. Poor people don't have fibre or laptops or houseparty for Friday drinks. Poor people don't have gardens. They work with their hands making the stuff in factories and construction sites. Or they do stuff rich people don't enjoy like cleaning or gardening or picking up their shit in all sorts of ways. And they've been hit for six.

I'm not hearing those stories. Maybe it’s because they don't have Skype for the telly journalists. And they're not phoning talkback because they have more pressing problems and the radio is burbling on about working from home and tending the dahlias and having quarantini parties and they’re getting so upset because they can’t swim at their local beach in million dollar suburbs

I've spent the whole week worrying about the shit going down in the landlocked poor places while the talk is all about going to the beach or mountain biking.