diamond geezer

 Monday, February 22, 2021

I demand to go to the pub. It's been months since I last went, indeed I haven't had a decent pint in ages. It remains the inalienable right of every Briton to go to the pub and it's an absolute travesty that the government has banned it. A cosy table, a few friends, a chance to put the world to rights and a proper draught pint of bitter are all that I require. Say what you like it's not the same at home drinking out of a can, and even a bottle of wine tastes different if you open it yourself. They tell us sitting inside a pub is somehow dangerous, but I'm no scientist and surely that can't be the whole story. I think all bar staff should get the vaccine immediately, jumping the queue if necessary, because I deserve a pint and I absolutely can't survive without one.

I demand a meal in a restaurant. It's been months since I last got the chance, indeed I haven't had a decent three course dinner in ages. I miss perusing the menu and being jealous of what someone else ordered and trying to split the bill afterwards, not to mention not having to do the washing up. I know you can get restaurants to deliver but a carvery out of a box just isn't the same, a decent pizza is impossible and my favourite curry house recently went bust because nobody was allowed to turn up. They tell us an evening in a restaurant is dangerous but surely it's only food and good conversation, and nobody wants to sit on a draughty patio terrace anyway. I think all hospitality staff should get the vaccine now, underlying health conditions notwithstanding, because I deserve a change from endlessly eating at home.

I demand a nice sit down in a cafe. It's been months since I sat opposite a friend and spoke face to face over a coffee and I really miss the experience. I'm tired of standing outside a hatch waiting for something frothy in a cup, I want to be able to perch on a tiny stool and gobble my pastry in peace. It's been miserable having to take my drink away and stand out in the cold because the British winter is brutal, so now that spring's here we should all be allowed inside in the warm. They tell us lingering inside a cafe is dangerous but surely they told us it'd all be over by Christmas and look how wrong they were on that. I think all baristas should get the vaccine now, or maybe cafes should only be allowed to employ the over 70s, because I deserve an overpriced chocolate croissant in situ.

I demand to go non-essential shopping. It's been months since I bought clothes in person, indeed I haven't worn anything smarter than jogging bottoms for months. I'm tired of ordering something and finding it's not the right size and having to send it back, because even though online is convenient the queues to return stuff at the post office are beyond a joke. I just want to buy something unnecessary today rather than waiting indoors for a courier to deliver it next week. They tell us browsing in shops spreads disease but surely they allow us inside supermarkets so it can't be that deadly. I think all shop staff should get the vaccine now, assuming they still have a job, because I deserve to spend my excess salary in person.

I demand to go back to the gym. It's been months since I was able to use proper equipment, indeed I can barely remember the last time I was shouted at by a personal trainer. I'm tired of having to work out at home using household objects as weights, or standing in the park doing stretches with everyone looking on. What's the point in jogging round the streets for free when I could be getting value from a recurring membership fee? They tell us exhaling vigorously in a confined indoor space is dangerous but surely going to the gym is all about getting healthy instead. I think all gym staff should get the vaccine now, or at least be bumped up the queue considerably, because I deserve to be optimally fit again.

I demand to experience music live. It's been months since I last went to a concert or shook my booty in a club, and I fear these venues won't still exist the next time I visit. I'm tired of listening to recorded music, the entirety of which is now tediously available at the touch of a virtual button. I just want to be able to bounce up and down surrounded by a dense mass of humanity rather than booking a year in advance for a festival that ultimately ends up being cancelled. They tell us to prioritise our mental health but surely this is institutional cruelty on a grand scale. I think everyone who's been vaccinated should be allowed to go to concerts immediately, because I deserve a night out and I cannot possibly adjust to one more week without live music on top of the fifty I've endured already.

I demand to be able to get on a train and travel to the other side of the country. It's been months since I last ventured anywhere beyond my immediate locality, indeed I've entirely forgotten what the countryside looks like. I miss fields and hills and the seaside because I stupidly chose to make my home nowhere near any of them but that's hardly my fault. I should be able to go anywhere I like simply because I want to, no matter what asymptomatic variants I might be harbouring, and damn the potential consequences in the wider community. They tell us death rates are falling but surely a grand day out with a pub lunch should be our godgiven right. I think everyone who's had a single vaccination should be given carte blanche to travel anywhere because I deserve a change of scene.

I demand a foreign holiday this summer. It's been months since I last went abroad so my tan is in desperate need of topping up. I don't want to restrict my horizons to just Britain because that's so incredibly limiting when I could be flying to the Med and sitting by a pool for a fortnight instead. My annual holiday is always the highlight of my year, indeed the anticipation's usually the only thing that gets me through, so this relentless focus on restricting international travel is really unhelpful. Anything that involves cramming into a metal tube with strangers for several hours, there and back, would be ideal. They tell us not to expect to travel abroad any time soon but surely quarantine is only necessary for inbound foreigners. I think vaccine passports will solve everything because they'll bring back the freedom of movement our European neighbours have cruelly stripped away.

I demand one marshmallow now. They tell me I can have two marshmallows if I'm willing to wait but I need instant gratification now. My willpower has always been weak so I'd much rather a single marshmallow immediately than a greater reward at some later date. You may mock but the economy relies on people like me, always letting short-term desire beat long-term prudence, indeed it's only my willingness to book ahead that's keeping certain sectors afloat. They tell us it's important to be patient but surely I'll suffer no ill consequences if we all just throw caution to the wind. I can't wait several months for life to return to normal, it's just too slow, because the only way we'll escape this living hell is by being too selfish to see the wider picture.

I demand that children go back to school. I demand to watch blockbuster movies in the cinema. I demand the return of spectator sport. I demand a professional haircut. I demand the reopening of galleries and museums. I demand to meet my friends and family again, however old or vulnerable they may be. It's simply inhuman to force us all to bunker down so that people's lives can be saved when I'm missing out on all the nice things I could be doing instead. They tell us it's important to unlock slowly but surely we should ignore the scientists and take the brakes off because anything else would be overthrowing democracy. I deserve priority treatment because I'm bored and frustrated, and I'm sure today's roadmap will confirm I deserve my old life back as soon as possible.


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