Isolating The Already Isolated


Author Paul Kestell

Right from the word “go”, this country was setting itself up for a hysterical journey to deal with the pandemic Covid-19, the coronavirus.

There are various arguments about the justification of the lockdown. Some people argue that the lockdown saved many healthy people from getting the virus and thus there was no epidemic within the pandemic, and our acute hospitals didn’t come under severe pressure.

Others argue that locking down healthy people didn’t do enough to create a resistance to the virus within the community and thus we will be at the mercy of a second wave, if it should come.

There are rows about social distancing, the breaking of the guidelines on the same and some reports say we will need to adhere to social distancing indefinitely until a vaccine becomes available.

All well and good and there are many comments and angry ones at the brewing scandal about the elderly and how it was deliberate policy to expose them in favour of keeping the acute hospital beds free for the so-called healthy.

However it’s the total unfairness, socially, of the social distancing rules that I want to rant about today. They are totally unfair, unequal and based on someone’s idea of the perfect society.

“OK but it saves lives,” you might say, “we can’t have contact”.  And I say back: “Who can’t  have contact?”

For example, there’s a married man who works for the Cork County Council who has been outside my window for six months, digging and banging and drilling. He goes home to his wife and three kids each evening after a tough day. He can eat with his wife and family, he can sleep with his wife, he can watch The Tonight Show on the couch with his eldest son.

All day he mixes with other men talking to engineers, goes to SuperValu and gets a coffee and a roll, eat it while sitting on the wall with his mates, or in a car or a council vehicle. Each day he does the same thing.

Here I am, looking out the window at him as a single man living alone. I haven’t seen my son or daughter, or my two ten-year-old granchildren since early February. I can’t meet colleagues to discuss joint arts projects. I can’t have friends visit or I can’t visit friends. Not only am I self-isolating, I am living in forced celibacy with no prospect of that dark fog lifting until a vaccine becomes available.

Meanwhile ‘Mr Married Council Worker’ is grand. He sees his wife, his kids, his work pals and he can engage with all in a proper and appropriate manner and go about his day.

You could, in all honesty, say I’m one of thousands. How many people in lockdown, young and old, live alone? But who cares? Not the mainly married or partnered-up liberals who scream social distancing guidelines down the megaphone of social media.

They don’t mention the truly isolated who must obey the two-metre rule or be damned and shit if it isn’t our bad luck to have been alone at the start of this thing?

We should have moved our friends in or they should have moved us in. But the biggest mistake we made was not to be part of a working family or live with our partner or be married because you see the rules are different. For them, life continues, somewhat, as normal.

The Catholic Church, in its heyday, couldn’t have introduced a more draconian diktat for the already isolated if they tried.

Seriously. When will this nonsense end? To the best of my knowledge, as I write, I don’t have the virus. None of my friends or family thankfully have the virus either. But I’m not allowed see them. Until when?

When can I give a girlfriend a kiss? When can I give my son and daughter a hug? When can I drive my grandkids to the beach?

Why is there one rule for the married and the hitched but another one for the isolated, those who chose to, or through no choice, live alone?

What happens when the nightclubs come back, and Johnny meets Mary and they have a snog. Will they do it two metres apart?

To me this doesn’t end until a vaccine is found, unless Leo Varadkar and his gang are only messing about, like having a laugh.

Paul Kestell  is a novelist –short story and novelette writer –with six books released. He lives in Skibbereen County Cork.

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39 thoughts on “Isolating The Already Isolated

  1. Gringo

    Maybe go out and talk to the council labourers If they have spent six months digging holes outside your front door they could nearly be considered family by now. I”v known marriages that didn”t last as long.

  2. m

    maybe if you weren’t such a whinger you wouldn’t live alone,
    I’m sick of people whingeing about restrictions aimed at keeping people alive
    are they hard to endure, yes,
    are there secondary issues being over looked such as mental health, absolutely
    but this is where we are, life just sucks sometimes

    1. Rob_G

      I would not have put it in such harsh terms, but agree with the general sentiment.

      Some generations are asked to leave their families, and travel half-way across the world to suffer deprivation and death in order to save the world from fascism, because that’s what needs to be done; our generation is being asked to stay home and watch a bit of netflix…

      And that’s not to denigrate the real loneliness and isolation that people are feeling right now, but come on, we have to pull together to protect our friends and neighbours. It’s just for a couple of months, suck it up.

      1. Darren

        This person speaking is speaking now. His feelings are not concerning the second or first world war. That is not and has never been relevant to the narrative. It is something that was refered to, especially as the restrictions began to define themselves in the lives of individuals. To presume that you have context from such a distance as offered by the last half a century or so is probably best left to men like peers morgan. The generations that died for what we now recognise as valid causes still had the hard work of living through the invalid parts, where feelings and personal experiences brought with them solutions that although not yet legitimised, we’re bound by those very circumstances to set up the so called new normal. But that was then and we are having other norms challenged and the personal response and human experience will be the one which however messily brings forward the new. All the best to the man who spoke up for his own experience. There are no doubt many who would sooner deny that effects which do not reach them are even effects at all.

        1. Rob_G

          Your post is a load of esoteric nonsense.

          Is the lockdown easy? No
          Is it harder on single people who live alone? Yes, most probably
          Is it still the moral and right thing to do? Yes, so we will just have to do it.

          1. John Smith

            Darren, regardless of a reader’s view-point, what you say is well-argued and reasonable, not esoteric nonsense.

            Rob-G, there are moral and medical arguments on both sides and to state categorically that one set of arguments is right, in these circumstances, but without giving any justification is to insist on blind obedience. If you think the lockdown and all it entails is the moral and right thing to do, then, yes, you will feel that you have to comply but you do not have the right to dictate to other people. Someone who, after due consideration, judges it to be immoral and wrong may come to a different decision as to what is the appropriate action for them to take. Wherever we stand on this question, too, we all need to be prepared to accept the consequences of the actions we take – or choose not to take, for that matter. Certainly, it is right to consider the present situation from as many points of view as possible and to learn from it all we can so as to be prepared for making the right decisions in the future.

          2. Rob_G


            I’m not dictating to anyone – the government is.

            According to your reasoning, I could decide, upon due consideration, that drink driving laws are immoral and wrong, so it’s fine for me to drive my Polo around while twisted drunk. You have an awful narcissistic, Randian view of the world.

  3. Cian

    I’ve been flip-flopping between :
    a) going crazy living with a locked-own family that all have cabin-fever, juggling work and looking after the kids – who are going absolutely crazy stuck in on their own…. and wishing, just wishing, that I was single and childfree and didn’t have to put up with anyone else’s madness; to
    b) feeling lucky to have a family to have and to hold and to spend all this extra time with…. and feeling sorry for the singletons that are alone and missing human contact.

    The other man’s field is always greener! :-)

    And Paul, if you’re reading this, you are allowed to go to SuperValu and get a coffee and a roll, and eat it while sitting on the wall (even with your mates – if they live within 5km.)

  4. John Smith

    So true, Paul – and you are not whinging. You are putting forward a totally valid viewpoint, one that may not occur to a lot of people who have not be affected in the same way.

    And don’t forget those living in fairly remote areas, who may not be ‘cocooning’ but who may have had no-one else within the travelling distance when it was 2km radius and some of whom may still not have anyone within the 5km. (In normal times, I visit a lot of areas like that.) These people have still been trapped by the same restrictions and – under the rules – would not be able to walk/run/drive over for a socially-distanced talk to someone else.

    I have to agree that the restrictions are ‘totally unfair, unequal and based on someone’s idea of the perfect society’. In the current situation, applying the same rules to everyone, regardless of individual circumstances, is not fair because the effects are not the same for everyone.

  5. Dav

    Can I have Paul’s medical qualifications please, since this covid thing is nothing but hysteria.

    1. John Smith

      You don’t need medical qualifications to form an opinion and express it – and people with medical qualifications are very divided about the issue, anyway. A practising doctor, speaking to me about the lockdown, used almost the same words as Paul has done in the first sentence of this article.

  6. Clampers Outside

    Sounds like you’re overdoing the self isolation…. And you could be doing some of the things you mention others doing.

    Mind yourself

  7. Daisy Chainsaw

    Hard to believe but sometimes ̶K̶a̶r̶e̶n̶ Paul, it’s not all about you.

    1. John Smith

      Paul is not just speaking for himself. As he says, ‘you could, in all honesty, say I’m one of thousands’. He is explaining how those who are already socially-isolated are particularly badly affected by lockdown and is doing so by citing his own situation. This extreme isolation for some people is a one aspect of lockdown and ‘m’ mentions others. There has also been the affect on those with other health problems, who have not received the medical care they needed. All these points deserve consideration when judging the appropriateness of lockdown – especially as the same measures might be considered in the future for the next Covid or similar infection…

  8. d

    Thanks for sharing that Paul. You are saying what alot of people are thinking and going through. nicely written too. ill have a look at some of your books.

  9. SOQ

    Paul, you point is valid- but if you don’t mind me saying, the way you phrase it suggests total compliance. When you have Leo in the park and a 5k gatherings, it is quite obvious that some people were and are taking the ‘rules’ a lot more seriously than others.

    I suggest you just get yourself out there and meet a few people. Invite the other half round and have a bit of craic- you are still a lot risk than many.

  10. Mick

    If we ever have to go through this again single people should pick bubble buddies and hang out with them in their respective houses… as long as the bubble is small

  11. Cian

    You could have gone to visit your kids. That was one of the original reasons that you were allowed out.

    *ninja edit: this only applies to children under-18. If you have grandchildren – I’m assuming the kids are older.

    But nobody, not even the CoCo workers, was allowed to go visit their adult children or grandchildren.

  12. Gringo

    “he can watch The Tonight Show on the couch with his eldest son ” I deduct from that line, Paul, that you are a writer of comedy, gothic horror or science fiction.

  13. George

    “We should have moved in with friends”. There is no rule against doing this as long as you stay living there and observe the rules as a member of the household and the rules are the same for the married as the single.

    Non-essential council work only resume 3 weeks ago so no, he how has he been out there for 6 months?

    You can also eat your lunch in a car too if you have one.

  14. Lilly

    Do you not have friends with a garden you could visit within 5km? If not, I’d suggest going further afield. Bring a picnic and a nice bottle of wine. You’re responsible for your own wellbeing; these are guidelines, that’s all.

    My sympathies, this is hard for people. We’re social animals for the most part.

  15. fluffybiscuits

    I applaud his post and he has played by the rules

    Im just up, went to a funeral for someone I knew twenty years, I wanted a hug as I was emotional so I went to bed for four hours , talking only does so much..I just wanted a cuddle

    Paul go fo a socially distant walk xx

  16. Janet, I ate my avatar

    honestly even for people who think they are doing fine, even if they don’t see anyone outside their partner and the long suffering girl at Tesco, those run every day, cook meals, make their beds, wave at parents from the bottom of the garden, finish that giant nudey charcoal, I have been having the worst nightmares,ones I am too upset to sleep again from like a little kid, not something I usually suffer from, I don’t feel depressed, I guess what I am saying is we all are living this in our own way, have different anxieties, history and ways of dealing with stress, also different measure of how strict we feel we must follow guidelines/rules,
    so let’s just not shoot anyone down and be kind

  17. Truth in the News

    Did the lockdown save any lives at all, can anyone explain how the virus spread like
    wildfire in Private Nursing Homes and Meat Processing Plants + over 30 % of the
    total infected coming from the medical care sector and since this country is an island
    how come it took hold so easily, was it here well before the start of 2020

    1. fluffybiscuits

      The latency period for the virus and incubation is up to two weeks. This means anyone may not show symptoms for up to two weeks. Now the virus can remain in one part of the home and then move within those two weeks and you start a new two week shift. One nursing home in Co.Meath I know of saw body bags come out in batches as the virus killed in clusters and staff are traumatised by it. Meat plants is due to the accommodation that is provided

    2. Cian

      It spread quickly before the lock-down.Afterwards is spreads through the things that aren’t locked down. like factories. nursing homes.

      1. italia'90

        Who made the decision to send elderly patients from
        hospitals to nursing homes without first testing them for the virus?

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