By Earl Bousquet
‘Lockdown Sunday’ or ‘Stay-Home-Safe Day’?
Call today whatever you want – and us too – but Saint Lucians can always be counted on to do and say both the least expected and the most unexpected – especially on a day like today when all have to do the same thing; in this case, Stay Home!
Declared by the island’s health authorities, it was designated to drive home the point that staying-at-home – for just one day – can help save lives. How? By eliminating direct contact with anyone beyond your household or doorstep.
The health planners are convinced that this one day, spent this way, can and will save countless lives, if only because no one will be legally able to violate social distancing outside the home and catch or spread the virus through direct person-to-person community contact.
Theoretically, scientifically and practically, it makes sense
But try telling that to those who will comply, but still, find a way –not just to complain, but to also make a point, if only about ‘government taking away my right to leave my home anytime’ and/or ‘the government preventing me from going to church…’
Or, as another friend put it in a post this morning, he supports the government ‘and our party’, but he was ‘feeling-a-way about being told, for the first time in my adult life, that I cannot leave my own friggin’ home when I want…’
He also referred to it as ‘the first time in history…’ that ‘Saint Lucians have faced this situation’ – so I told him to simply ‘enjoy making Saint Lucian history…’
Interestingly, these are responses from government supporters – except that they feel it ‘mashes’ their toes.
Take my young friend whose family were not Labor supporters, but who during the campaign surprised many (me too) with several bumper stickers on his car saying PJP4PM.
And after the first move 04:00 pm Sunday curfew after elections, he sent me a WhatsApp message saying PJP- 04:00 pm.
And today he sent me this other: #PJPRedSunday24/7# 4PM2!
I think, I was able to decipher the message(s), which were more funny than serious.
But not everyone responded the same
The likes of me and my sons at home decided this morning to take some of the day off to do all those things we didn’t get to do at home together since July 26 (Election Day, when we all voted the same place…)
Yes, COVID-19 lockdowns and curfews have conditioned us all to Work-at-Home and enjoy it, but there are still many who’ll welcome the day off, but just don’t want to be told or asked or made to do so.
A one-day holiday at home is therefore not seen by all as the same on a Sunday, if only because, after all, that’s normal – or used to be.
I read all the police warnings and the advisories from the health authorities for today, but I bet (with myself) this morning that by the end of the day, I would not be surprised to hear ‘how many’ people might have been arrested or otherwise intercepted, even ticketed, for violation of ‘Stay-Home Sunday’.
Not that I wish, but given our demonstrated ability to circumference laws and bypass regulations and the clear evidence of how we can manoeuvre around curfew times and alcohol consumption restrictions by shifting gathering times, bars and other drinking locations to suit, I won’t be the least surprised.
So then, why would anyone want to simply break the protocols on a day like today?
Thing is, it may have nothing to do with a wish to violate, but out of a need or necessity, any and many of which can arise on any day, including a curfew Sunday – all depending on the violator’s ability to convince an intercepting officer why he or she or they is/are ‘on the road…’
But today also offers a day for those at home, at some point during 24 hours, to reflect on or just think about why a government would accept health authorities’ advice to take such a step, which, when you do come to think of it, is not at all a useless one.
You may be doing something entirely different today than you never planned – and it might have nothing to do with COVID care or protection. But we’ll have had all of 1,440 minutes to spend just one – only one – accepting that by just being home, we will have helped save a life — or two, or more – by ensuring no social contact for the entire day.
Of course, the would-be violators I’ve catered for would be easy to identify, at their regret(s) – of being caught and of ‘spreading and/or catching COVID’.
One friend told me he planned to ‘avoid wasting time trying to understand’ and ‘just spend the day ‘fixing broken things…’
And to round it off, just as I was fingering my keyboard with this article, this other nameless friend sent me a WhatsApp message (around midday) to ask:
‘You think PJP [Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre] will stay at home today?
I replied: ‘Yes, I believe he will take his own advice and follow the law just like he’ll follow the science…’
To which my yellow-turned-red friend responded:
‘You mean, I won’t hear a siren and see a black-and-white motorcade with the prime minister winding thru traffic on the highway?’
To which I replied: ‘I don’t think so, because there’ll be no traffic…’
But then, I remembered my earlier contention that on any day, including a lockdown Sunday, anything can happen to force anyone to leave home, including the prime minister.
So, I ended my repost with the following safety clause: ‘It all depends…’
And with memories of two old-time favourite musical hits: ‘What a difference a day makes…’ and ‘Oh Happy Day!’ – versions of which plan to keep repeating all day today, on YouTube.
Check them out… Oh, Happy Day!