Grandma Lorna sees hope for the future in a box of eggs
“Will you look at that”, asked Grandad Ron. “All those people on Westminster Bridge jostling and clapping just because it’s Thursday, and we’re stuck in the house. The world’s gone mad.”
Ron was watching the news on TV on Friday morning, which featured a brief clip of the previous evening’s ‘clap for’ initiative.
Lorna came in and sat down beside him, holding a box contains half a dozen eggs. “Rewind it and let me see,” she said. They watched in silence, until Ron said: “Social distancing my eye! They’re all breathing germs all over each other.”
Lorna nodded slowly. “Probably. But I see something else. Look; they’re talking to each other. In London. That’s remarkable in a city known for being so stand-offish; where people think you’re ever so slightly abnormal if you try to talk to strangers.”
Ron rewound the programme and looked a little more intently. “You’re right. They are. I suppose it is unusual. Why are you carrying eggs?” he added, noticing the box in her hands.
“The same reason those people are talking to each other on the TV. I’ve been talking to Helen, and she got these for me.”
Ron’s brow furrowed. “Who on earth’s Helen? And why is she getting our eggs? Don’t we get them from the supermarket?”
Ron did his utmost to avoid going to supermarkets, and Lorna couldn’t remember when he’d last been on his own or bought eggs, so ‘we’ was a bit of a stretch. Lorna ignored that and said: “Helen is our next-door neighbour. We don’t get eggs from the supermarket when there aren’t any. Helen gets eggs from the milkman. And the milkman has eggs, so Helen got some for us, and we have eggs.” She held up the box. “See?”
“Oh, you mean that woman with the terrier,” said Ron, before changing tack. “But that has nothing to do with people talking to each other on Westminster Bridge.”
“It has everything to do with it. Horrible though this illness is, it’s brought people closer together. It’s teaching us that we don’t live in a bubble, and that things are better when we talk to people. Helen’s got us eggs; I was able to get her some flour. We shared. We’re friends now. It’s a recognition that people need help, some of us more than others, admittedly, but people need help all the same. And we have a duty of care to give it. We never know when we might need that help ourselves.” She held up the box of eggs again. “We needed eggs. Because we have friends, we now have eggs. From ‘that woman with the terrier’ who, incidentally, lives 20 metres from our house.”
She went on: “It’s like the ExpenseOnDemand people, who give a proportion of their profits to people facing difficulties we could never imagine – orphans, the sex workers, the blind, the children not able to get a hot meal. I love the way people are talking to each other. Having conversations with complete strangers. Perhaps if we talked to each other more, and didn’t revel in hate, and accusations, and lies, and, and… …and allowed people to have opinions other than our own, and weren’t quite so self-centred, and recognised that it’s not all about ‘us’, then the world would be a better place. I would dearly love, when we come out of all this, for that to be the new ‘normal’.”
Picture: Ipek Morel Diplikaya | Dreamstime