Schnapps V All-Night
Today is Day 5 of the Great Lockdown and I decided to take a look at what is happening in the world beyond my immediate neighbourhood. Someone said that if Ghanaians were ordered to stay indoors, many of them would come out to see whether people were really staying indoors. That is quite true. I remember how it used to be in the bad old curfew days when we would stare outside “to look at curfew”.
Curfew meant empty streets except for a few hardy souls who either had “connections” or a “curfew pass”. Curfew created its own culture and a part of it was the frisson of excitement that ran through the body as the evening curfew drew near. You knew you had to be inside by six o’clock and your body and mind would tell you instinctively when it was about thirty minutes to go.
Indeed, the curfew feel is reinforced when you get onto the main roads. For the older generation the roadblocks and checks are an eerie reminder of that unlamented era. Indeed, after the reinstatement of civilian democratic rule in 1993, the nation resolved that never again would our country go through such curtailment of our liberties. Today, we have roadblocks and checkpoints back in full force – but this time, we love them because they are there for a good purpose.
Generally, I think the lockdown is working. Maybe there are too many vehicles for a country under lockdown, even partial lockdown. Maybe all the people in the other vehicles are looking for materials to write their newspaper column! The police and army people are doing well. At least from what I saw, they are being courteous and tolerant. They ask you where you are going and advise you to stay home for the good of everybody. Of course, we have seen videos in which some people are brutalized. The authorities have promised to look into these cases. Let us give them time. Some of the videos are said to be fake. This is not good. The security and medical people are doing their level best under difficult conditions. Let us not demoralise them with false allegations.
Today, Friday is the beginning of the weekend. Normally, in pre-Coro times people will be preparing for funerals, weddings and other engagements. Friday nights are nights for both nights for religious “all night” services and nightclubbing. As observed by the musician Kofi Kinata, the two activities seem to go hand in hand because the ship that brought the first Bibles to Ghana also carried bottles of schnapps! Tonight, neither all-night nor nightclubbing will come on. Everyone will stay at home.
I have been working from home but at a slower pace than I would normally do. I think the absence of any pressure to attend meetings and the like has slowed me down. The other distraction is watching old football and cricket matches. I discovered some old Arsenal matches on YouTube which I have been watching. The beauty of it is that since I control the remote, I am able to eliminate parts of matches I don’t want to see. So, for example, watching Arsenal versus Chelsea, I am able to stop Chelsea goals while I watch the places where Arsenal scored – again and again.
Life is like that in lockdown; you can choose your own fantasy to make time go fast or stand still. The choice is yours.
Enjoy a happy lockdown weekend.
Nana Kwasi Gyan-Apenteng.
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