Gareth Moses By: Gareth Moses
1st Assistant Director
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08 Apr 2020 : Temporal Shift

Feeling ashamed for engaging in a very mild exchange at the local supermarket. As per a directive from the Provincial Health authority shops can no longer accept customers’ personal shopping bags and have resorted to packing groceries into plastic bags. Makes sense I suppose but when I am told of this at the checkout I concoct an elaborate plan where I will pack the items into my backpack without said backpack touching the surface of the conveyor belt or packing area. Ingenious.

I plead my case but the tired cashier gives me a look of mild irritation presumably having heard this and lots of other nonsense before. She tells me she only has half an hour till the end of her shift - the subtext being for me to please stop being a dick. My internal logician writhes in frustration at not being able to enact my plastic-bag saving plan; but the new reality social shame at giving the cashier a hard time means I take the loaded plastic bags, thank her and exit.

Image of lockdown: a snaking queue outside the beer and wine store, polite shoppers almost exactly six feet apart. Makes me think of Shaun of the Dead.

Behaviour in lockdown: extremely fortunate to live by a beach front where I can run but have noticed that at the moment I automatically wave to everyone as I pass - whereas pre pandemic I may, at a push, have proffered the most minimalistic of head nods. They all wave back. A sort of silent acknowledgement of continued existence and blessings.

Is everyone experiencing a massive increase in watching right now? Watching the news, watching the shows and the films, watching friends on Zoom, watching twitter and facebook. It may seem a subtle distinction but it does feels like I’m constantly ‘watching’ rather than ‘reading’ when it comes to on-line activity: as in watching for the very latest update, some new figures or statistics, some definitive confirmation of a probable timeline. Anxiously attentive.

I feel intellectually ill equipped to elaborate but I also think there is something interesting happening in temporal space. As someone who used to live in the U.K. (and therefore having family and friends still there) I have often felt the subtle uneasy hum of being in a different time zone and experiencing the day at a different times to those close to me. It’s most apparent during holidays - a Christmas conversation with my family is often a strangely dispiriting affair because we are at different stages of our collective experience. I’m sober with presents still wrapped and breakfast just completed - you’re quite pissed post dinner with the television on.

But while the time difference will always exist there’s been a shift during the current crisis to a sense of experiencing things more simultaneously as we understandably fixate on emerging events happening on real-time news outlet websites. A compression of time-zones.

Or it may just be the micro-dosing.

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