When all this is over it will be academically interesting to witness the constitutional fallout of the interstate border closures, but in the here and now, it’s a necessary thing. People continue to flout the lockdown rules and the governments are terrified about the upcoming Easter Weekend, as it’s generally a big travel weekend and a LOT of people seem disinclined to cancel their plans. Idiots.
In the normal course of things, I’m such a big introvert that this self-isolation wouldn’t even be a blip on my radar, but as some of you know, MT owns his own printing business in the city. It’s small, only employing 4 other guys, but it’s been a solid, going concern for almost 50 years (his father started it, of course). Once the closures started happening, his business evaporated by about 80%. So we’ve been super-stressed about, well, everything.
After what felt like a lot of heel dragging from the government, but which was only a week, they announced a wage subsidy program, which was a massive relief, as it means we don’t have to let anybody go. But we’re still waiting to hear what – if anything – they’re going to do about rent subsidies because we could very well make it through this only to lose everything on the other side. The landlord for the building MT is in is disinterested in doing anything that will cost them money, but they’ve made the ‘generous’ offer of a 50% reduction in rent for 3-6 months, but after the crises, he’ll have to pay 150% rent monthly for an equal number of months.
Now I don’t normally share personal things, so I’ll just say the normal rent is a 5 figure number. 150% is a much bigger one – and why anybody would think it’s going to be possible to bounce back that fast is beyond my comprehension. So the stress factor is still huge.
I want to make sure to keep this in perspective: we have a couple of very, very fortunate aces up our sleeves, that we could use if we really have to, but they come with a risk of putting us in a vulnerable position further on down the road. We’ll use them if we have to, but in this house, we’re on tenterhooks for the government to come out with a legislative plan for rental moratoriums. Which they’ve been swearing they’re going to release ‘in the next three days’ for the last 10 days.
All of this isn’t much different from what anybody else is going through, and still better than what a lot of people are facing, but the first-world-problem result is that I’ve had a legit reason to stay at home for the last 3 weeks and haven’t enjoyed a second of it. No projects, no crafts, only 2 books, no games, because I’m too glued to the damn news feed, waiting to find out how relatively screwed we are. Which leaves me feeling rather bitter. And the immersion into the newsfeed has made it starkly clear how much the government is lying to everyone about their testing stats in relation to the rest of the world (verifiable – can nobody in the government google??), which has left me rage-y. It takes a lot to tip me over, but the Aussie government’s bragadaccio about having ‘the best testing rates in the world’ has just pushed me right off the rage cliff. (AU: 1% of population; Iceland: 5% of population).
I’ve taken steps – weaning myself off the newsfeed for several hours at a time, starting a jigsaw puzzle, digging through my TBR for the truly escapist reads. I’m hoping that once the government gets around to announcing rental policies, I’ll be able to take a deep breath, make a plan, and finally, step back and immerse myself in the joys of isolation.
If you’ve made it this far, thank you for allowing me to vent – the downside of isolation is that you have so few outlets for venting, and let me tell you, the cats are not sympathetic, and the chickens only want to know if I have any mealworms (their personal chocolate).
Stay safe and stay home everyone. 🙂