Friday 8 March 2024

Coronavirus streets in Manchester - LXXIII

The pandemic’s long tail

The latest figures as of yesterday in the UK, we have 3,927 active cases of COVID-19 infections, this would suggest that someone is laid low, for them, the looming spectre of the pandemic is a grim reality that many seem to have forgotten because it is apparently out of mind and out of sight. [Worldometers: United Kingdom]

It is however without dispute that the world has changed perceptively in some cases or otherwise. I barely see anyone donning a mask, but the absence of someone I regularly see at some meeting place almost always suggests they have taken ill rather than having taken a holiday.

There have been no notifications for a vaccine booster yet as those who are immunosuppressed would be informed of the prospect for them to prepare. What I started during the pandemic and led to my discovery of Manchester was walking, and walking helps with a unique observation and perspective of my beautiful city, the people, the buildings, the events, and the changes.

The dangers with bicycles

Electric bicycles remain an enduring menace of lawlessness, the riders who no longer need to exert any physical energy in peddling their bicycles are totally oblivious to road traffic rules, and they run through red lights as if they do not exist. If they are not weaving through pedestrians whose precarious existence is exacerbated by being anywhere outside their homes, they would be run through at risk of life or limb.

I was leapfrogging over a bicycle left lying on the pavement as the rider went in for a KFC, later, it was someone who forgot to activate his phone’s camera to keep an eye on the path before him as he interacted with his phone with carefree abandon and just inches of bumping into another.

Working on a hybrid high

I suspect anyone putting out a job advertisement with the strict requirement of working in the office where the work can be done remotely is on a losing streak, they would get fleeting interest. The worst you can offer is a hybrid working scenario, and whilst we cannot expect to work from home permanently, the flexibility and the ability to negotiate those terms must be available or your vacancy would remain vacant.

The buildings, we have a construction site everywhere and cranes not of the avian type towering around the city lit up with colours just to prevent cranes from flying into them at night or we, the slightly taller people from hitting our heads when stumbling out of nightclubs totally inebriated that our minds are rivalling kites for height.

Milking us for every penny

In the completed buildings the shops that were a longer walk away are now at my doorsteps, the Starbucks that disappeared almost two years ago has now halved its distance from my door. I stopped shopping at Tesco when one of their managers installed anti-homeless spikes outside one of their stores in London. I guess all is forgiven now that it is too inconvenient to ignore the closeness of the new store, the distance is not enough to attract a charge of outraging public decency, if I left home with just a towel wrapped around my head.

Imagine not having to walk 3 kilometres for a small tub of taramasalata, though I won’t be spending an extra 30p on milk that goes for less at my local Sainsbury’s. Between online shopping through Amazon for Iceland produce, Aldi competes favourably on price for most of my needs, and Marks & Spencer when slightly indulgent, then Spar for just the comfort of a sweet tooth, what I need is an automated shopping trolley with the instincts and intelligence of a dog that respects voice commands, throw in robotic arms and it might well go and do the shopping while I occupy myself missing the life and wonder of my city. Probably a bad idea, except if it would bring those lawless bicycles to heel on our somewhat dangerous streets.

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