Hard News by Russell Brown

130

Together Alone

We're about to do something unprecedented as a nation. We hope that by taking this extraordinary action before a single life in New Zealand has been lost to the deadly novel virus we will save tens of thousands of lives. Our  lives. We'll do it together, in households, in isolation from each other.

You'll have noticed that Public Address has been a quieter place in the past two or three years – and that's been more or less deliberate on my part. The site launched nearly 20 years ago and for most of that time it has hosted discussions for and by its reader community. Moderating those discussions has been very largely my job and frankly, a man gets tired.

But Ian Dalziel emailed this week to remind me of the comfort this place brought to many Christchurch people through the earthquake years. It created a community within a community – and a number of the people I "met" at the time I regard now as real-life friends. Could, he suggested, do that again?

Yes, we can. Consider yourself welcomed back to share your experience of the next few weeks. Talk about how it's going, help each other out. Know that those experiences will endure here – as far as I know, Public Address is still harvested by the National Library.

But pleased be restrained with your reckons. The country has no shortage of those. Be kind.

We're fortunate in our house to be relatively well set for a month of lockdown. The supermarkets will be open, but I've been quietly stocking the freezer and the pantry for a week or two and we'll aim to minimise shopping contact.

I've had to apply for the wage subsidy as various big jobs disappear, but I'll have some work to do from from home and Fiona will be here next to me creating her part of the New Zealand Listener (ironically, I'll be covering her job for part of the month because she'd aleady booked annual leave). Of our two adult autistic children, one has lost a job he really values for the foreseeable future – and the other is basically a pro at self-isolation.

We have good internet and we live in a small sreet where we know each other's names. Fiona and I also have e-bikes, and we'll be using those for no-contact exercise. I'll report on what I see from the roads and cycleways. 

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You will still need to register to comment here. If you're returning after a while away, password restore should work, and the system will still take new registrations. But I can't guarantee I'll be able to help much with any glitches. People will help you out in the discussion with stuff like formatting and uploading photographers. Have fun. Be kind.

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