There’s been a lot of catching up on lockdown. All sorts of new connections are being made and old ones rekindled. Who would have thought that it would be boredom that heralded a revival of human love:

The dog went missing last night. Which wasn’t a concern to begin with, he’s always been a bit of a wanderer. When a few hours passed, I grew a bit concerned – so I rang the cops.
“What’s your name,” asked the female Garda who answered.
“Harry,” I replied.
She didn’t recognise me from either work or the warrant for the unpaid fine so I could tell she was new to the area.
“What kind of dog is it?” she asked.
“Shepard,” said l.
“Shepard? He shouldn’t be out on his own.” She sternly stated the bleeding obvious.
“Er, that’s why I’m ringing you?” I said, trying not to sound sarcastic to a rookie who was still finding her feet with her newly bestowed authority and was obviously not familiar with the way things work in this town.
“Well maybe if you take a 2km walk he might turn up,” she replied, making sure I was aware of the rules.
I wondered what would happen if I strolled for 2.1k… could I use the old English defence of “still working in imperial units… m’Lord?”

I read yesterday that four billion people are now on lockdown of some sort. The dog obviously isn’t one of them. He turned up at his other family’s house. The fact it was 16 kilometres away and he is 91 in dog years with arthritis of the hips didn’t phase him one bit. Which is fine by me – he can go and vomit on them for a bit. I just hope he didn’t catch anything from the dog upstairs.

A computer virus infected my Facebook, spreading to everyone in my meagre contact list. It turned out to be a blessing. Everyone on said list messaged me about it, leading to conversations and phone calls with people I hadn’t spoken to in years.

There’s been a lot of catching up on lockdown. I’ve been speaking to my Dad, maligned as he was in previous installments of this journal, on a regular basis over the last two weeks. I’m still mustering the magnanimity needed for my mother, but I’ll bite the bullet later today.

I rang the sister of my ex over the dog – the floodgates opened as if she hadn’t spoken to another adult human in weeks.
A friend from the firefighters recruits course rang me: “I’m bored off me f**** tits.”
“So you thought of me? Cheers.”

I did the dog walk earlier, sans the dog, meeting the ‘happy-man-with-baby’, yet again. We had a descriptive old chat about childbirth from the dad’s eye view.

All sorts of new connections are being made and old ones rekindled. Who would have thought that it would be boredom that heralded a revival of human love? I don’t remember that bit in the Bible. Connection is our greatest asset right now.

Like Ivy, the virus that started as an obscure news story, in a faraway country, is slowly – or at breakneck speed depending on your perception of time – tightening its stranglehold. I sense foreboding and a heightened air of gravity. Is it just my flightful feelings playing tricks again or are my faculties trustworthy? Either way I am adjusting my mind set accordingly. An ambulance drives up and down the main street, sirens ablare. It’s an ominous backdrop to this entry.

The Critical Incident Stress Management team (CISM) have emailed all firefighters asking them if we want to avail of counselling. Why now? I ask myself. What are they hearing elsewhere?

We have been issued with a letter allowing us to travel freely to work and incidents. Til now, Gardai have told me they have just been “advising” people. So why now? Is it simply protocol or are we preparing for a more rigid enforcement of the rules?

Strict instructions on how to manage the PPE stock for ourselves and the casualties – to prevent shortages – have been issued. Is it just prudence or has the ‘surge’ been deemed inevitable?

On either side, our neighbours are in danger of becoming overwhelmed by the tragic toll. I feel the vine begin to choke.

I was wise I feel, not to have expended too much anxiety on things to come up to now, but my focus is starting to narrow, my resolve starting to harden and my thinking starting to prepare for whatever is about to be unleashed.