Reports and Opinions

Winter 2020 – The Darkest Yet?

Opinion by Jas Bains.

I don’t like Halloween. I never have and I probably never will, but I suppose this year – yes, this year – we’re all a bit fed up with Halloween. Just like we’ll be fed up with Christmas. Fed up with Brexit. Fed up with the nation’s favourite ‘c’ words; Cardi B, Covid and I’m sure there’s another important one I’m missing.

This year has everyone feeling down and I’m sure that man’s construct of time means that the minute 2021 greets us, everything will be absolutely fine. The daily downpours will have finally ended, and the skies will rain only chocolate. Minstrels I hope, they’re my favourite this week. Not that I’ll be getting any more because trick or treating has been ‘cancelled’ so I’ll have to hang up my cape until at least Valentine’s day I imagine. Unless she’s not into that, in which case it will very much be April Fool’s day, but I digress.

What I wanted to talk about was the idea of giving chocolate to kids dressed as Elsa (not very scary by the way, unless she’s using the snowman’s head as a bucket for her sweeties) or whoever else Disney have conceived in order to capitalise from the merchandise sold as result of a fairly average cartoon movie. I still want a Buzz Lightyear toy, but Christmas is cancelled, and I don’t think I want to be arrested for having fun.

This is the problem isn’t it? We want but we can’t. Kids wanted to trick or treat but they can’t. We want to have Christmas with 11 relatives we don’t particularly care for, but we can’t. We want to feed kids who should be receiving free school meals… but ‘we can’t’. Think about that for a moment while you read this from the comfort of your room (because where else would you go? Covid, innit?), mulling over the good times you’ve had on holiday with some friends you definitely don’t speak to anymore.

For almost the entirety of 2020, we’ve been unable to do the things that that we definitely wouldn’t do, but would like to do, because we’re not allowed to do it. Otherwise Matt Hancock will find you and he will kill you. Either that or cut off your water supply.

But the thing is, we’ve been happily tucked away in the warmth of our homes, enjoying the weekly updates from Downing Street and clanging pots and pans every Thursday evening because you’re thankful for that one time you were born and the hospital was really nice or something. Let’s look at what you’ve been doing since March.

You’ve been shopping for the things you like so much on Amazon. You’ve made the best of your Unidays coupons and gorged yourself on fried rice from your favourite food ordering app. You’ve gone to bed at 3am and woken up at 3pm. You’ve scrolled through Netflix and discovered that it definitely isn’t worth what the person you’ve leached it from is paying. So, what’s actually changed from your day to day life? Not a lot I imagine. You’re probably thinking about that fried rice now in fact. I am.

The point is, we like to feel as though we’ve been denied the better things in life even though we experience some of the best days of someone else’s life. Without sounding all ‘live, love, laugh’ about it, we really do have some better times ahead of us but we really should focus on what contentment really means to us versus what it means to survive another day in the eyes of someone much less fortunate than ourselves. For those people, every day is ‘lockdown’. Denial of even the simplest things like food, water or even a bed to sleep on. Yes, the memes about the Tory’s ‘Eat Out to Help Out September, Starve a Kid to Save a Quid October’ are funny but the reality is you’re fortunate enough to laugh about it.

So, the next time a trick or treater knocks on your door and brings their bucket forward, remind yourself that there are kids who would kill for the contents of their bucket. Then close the door on the privileged little sod on your porch.

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