I’m not saying life in lockdown is dull. For if I did then I’m sure Fionnuala could find plenty of household chores to occupy my time. But the days do tend to drag. I had to ask this morning what day of the week it was. By necessity, we find ourselves staring out of our front window a lot at the street outside. This means what was normally banal and routine takes on a whole new significance.
I wouldn’t go as far to say we have turned into creepy, curtain twitching neighbours. Well, not yet anyway. But the daily arrival of the postman or grocery delivery van whips chez Black into a frenzy of excitement. The window cleaner returned last week after several months AWOL. It was akin to the Second Coming. I fear I may internally combust when I next see the man who cuts the hedges across the road. Or the council workers who water the hanging baskets.
Online shopping deliveries take the hysteria to a whole new level. Who has ordered what and when? We clamber over each other to get to the front door first. While, of course, maintaining social distancing as the bewildered courier leaves the package at the door, before beating a hasty retreat from the wide eyed, slavering horde on the other side of the glass. We then descend on the item, jostling to see who it is addressed to. Never a dull moment in our house.
Imagine my ecstatic reaction this morning then when I looked outside to the see the sight above. The council were marking the road signs at the entrance to our street. Yes, I was that odd man of a certain age taking photographs while not so discretely hanging out the window. No, I don’t have any shame left and am quite willing to write a 500 word blog post on the subject. There are no depths, no rock bottom as far as I’m concerned.
The council workers were thankfully blissfully ignorant of all this as they went about their business. Otherwise, I fear the next vehicle to have entered the street would have been the local constabulary, enquiring as to my recent bizarre behaviour. They painted the road then moved on, utterly unaware of the impact their presence had induced in at least one of the residents. For all I know this could have sparked an avalanche of creative writing in the village.
Hmmm. Road markings. We need them, don’t we? The signs that warn us when to stop, slow, give way. Without them, there would be a lot more collisions and mishaps when we are out and about. They guide us, inform us, keep us safe and out of harms way. We take them for granted, never give them a second thought, yet they save lives. It’s a boring, repetitive job to mark the roads, yet a vitally important one as well.
We adhere to them, for failure to do so can lead to injury to ourselves and others. Plus there’s the small matter of vehicle repairs, fines or even visits to court. It’s the law so the large majority of us tow the line. If only we had such road markings as we journey through life. Telling us what to do and what to avoid. Wouldn’t it make things a whole lot easier? The truth is most of us do but we tend to ignore them much of the time. Because we know best.
Be it a family member, a friend or a faith system, we all have access to signs and signals to guide our moral compass and keep us off the rocks. The sirens may entice and seduce us but the markings on our personal paths are there. All we need do is be aware of them. It’s mundane, it’s unspectacular but what’s the alternative? Do the simple things and do them well. Follow the rules laid out before you. Be you and live your life. Stay on the road you were born to walk.