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  • Writer's pictureJack Martindale

I really miss our casual relationships

Updated: Sep 18, 2020

Talking of non-committal bonds between people may often be inferred in a sexual sense. Just for the purposes of clarity, let me just make it clear this could not be more an opposite of what I am trying to highlight.

I’ve enjoyed the fortune of being in a relationship for well over 3 years. The immense frustrations that COVID-19 has imbued my girlfriend and I within our transatlantic relationship is another story! Here I am talking in the wake of Monday the 14th of September’s rule that we can no longer congregate in groups of more than 6. Not that I’m wanting or passing judgment on this restriction in itself in light of overall safety, I’m just stressing how In am not much enjoying how regulated and almost santised our social lives – even extending to our families – have had to become. Again, not a criticism; stark reality.

It is the people who may appear semi-regularly in your life as friends of friends or even people that you’ve built-up quite an acquaintanceship with over however many years and enjoy being in the company of, only it wouldn’t feel natural to initiate contact. The fear of rejection – for better or worse – has never haunted me to any significant extent, it is just that in the basest of terms, there are people who you enjoy being surrounded by as part of the group, yet would just feel a bit weird arranging to meet individually. Perhaps this is something of an overstatement. It is just that it may feel a little artificial or just strange to be with certain people away from the established context.

Spontaneity and sporadic contact must surely form the zest to much of our social lives. At the minute, it just feels difficult to release things from the frame in which they have to be set. You can enjoy say, going for a fun meal and or drinks in a group of up until half a dozen, but that’s your lot! In the almost mythical world of before, we could conflate and what may have begun as a casual drink with a friend or two could easily be provoked into a potentially across city all-nighter. Admittedly this is pretty London (or at least urban) based, but surely wherever you live, not quite being able to predict quite where you’ll be from dusk to dawn is one of life’s treats for us young at least?

This sort of adventure may have been becoming fewer and further between (out of choice or necessity it could be argued!) as we aged, but we could. I recognise that I have always been a feign for nostalgia and it could feasibly be stated that it could be seen that there is little point to me reminiscing about the freedoms that we were once able to enjoy before this blight on society is rectified or at least under control.

Never before – at least in peace times – have we found ourselves underneath such state control. Politically, I’ve always affiliated myself with wanting to exist within a system of strong government. There is bitter irony to be extracted from an ideologically neoliberal cabinet having to impose such stringent rules. Whilst, I did not particularly want to make this piece political, you have to see that everything is political and you only need to research Angela Raynor’s investigation into our Prime Minister on the 16th of September to gain an appreciation of where I am coming from:

So I could not exaggerate the degree to which the safety and well-being of people should always the top priority of mine. I also appreciate how lucky I am in being young and without having any preexisting health conditions that should make me especially vulnerable in falling victim to Corona Virus.

How long a piece of string is though, would perhaps be the best way to describe the nature of the difficulty in conceptualising life returning to… Not that I ever much like the redundancy of the term ‘normal’ to describe anything, so perhaps ‘free from extra restrictions’ works best to describe how I should like to see things. Already, on more of a micro scale, 3 weddings that I was attending have had to be postponed, let alone birthdays or even just barbecues with family and friends have not occurred. It’s just so sad.

Life passing me by, a lack of variation and feeling stagnated are I’m sure things to which we can all relate and I’m sure that never being able to envisage the extent of this pandemic – even as far along into lockdown as May and June – having its hold over us. In the words of the late Dame Vera Lynn , we don’t know where, don’t know when, but life has to soon come back. The only way for this to be able to happen sooner rather than later, has to be to obey social distancing and if I wasn’t aware of how contentious it is, I’d say act as your own personal metaphor for socialism, in terms of putting the needs of other people before that of your own in terms of the bigger picture.

As inseparable as I may believe that the terms are, I’ll close rephrasing that, with more neutral terms of let’s help each other in nipping this dastardly situation in the bud – as overly far as we have already let it bloom – ASAP.

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