"Returning to normality seems almost too distant to even consider"

Sussex student Jenny Bathurst is hoping to study journalism at the University of Brighton (Eastbourne campus).

Saturday, 1st August 2020, 12:46 pm
Updated Saturday, 1st August 2020, 12:50 pm
Jenny Bathurst

The coronavirus crisis has robbed her of the chance to sit A levels. We have asked Jenny to share her thoughts on the difficult times we are living through... Here is her latest contribution.

"Ever since I first started wearing glasses nearly seven years ago, they have always come with their little annoyances. The consistent remarks from others that I “need windscreen wipers” when it begins to rain, and the chaos that ensues when I misplace them are just a couple of the everyday irritations that I am sure many reading this will be able to relate to. And although of course I am very grateful for the ease with which I can fix my poor eyesight, the latest government regulation stating you must wear a face covering when entering indoor settings creates yet another obstacle for fellow glasses wearers. Now not only must we endure thick steam smothering our lenses when bringing a boiling hot mug of tea to our lips, but also when placing a mask over our faces. However, this by no means implies that my attitude towards this government guideline is a negative one and I have attempted to keep my moaning to a minimum whilst food shopping with little to no vision! When considering that NHS frontline workers are dressed in PPE for twelve hour shifts, it certainly puts my five-minute browse around the corner shop into perspective.

"I admit that when wearing a face covering I do feel less at risk, yet in spite of this I am still aware of the social distancing measures that are undeniably a challenge to stick to in enclosed spaces. Perhaps this is merely an example of my stereotypically British politeness, but I feel massively disrespectful hurriedly pulling away from somebody when they lean over me to reach an item. This is only exacerbated by when I attempt to smile to appear friendly which is of course hidden by the thick mask, causing me to seem as if I am glaring at them. And perhaps that is an example of my overthinking. I have mentioned previously how I have found that one of the worst aspects of the pandemic for me has been the act of avoiding others, namely loved ones, but in the instance of strangers it also seems bizarre and disrespectful. Of course everybody is aware of these precautions and will therefore be unlikely to take offence, and yet in ensuring my own safety I still feel guilty.

"The prospect of this country ever returning to normality seems almost too distant to even consider at this current time, however it is bizarre how we adapt. I think that I would find it stranger now not to enter a shop and smother my hands with foul smelling sanitiser rather than breezing in without precaution. Our brains are wired in order for us to adjust to our surroundings and yes, some procedures have been simple to maintain whereas others I still struggle with after five months. Wearing a face covering is a small sacrifice compared to the suffering that many in this nation have endured over this period. I consider myself very fortunate to live in a region that has not been affected by the virus nearly as much as elsewhere, and therefore feel that steamed up lenses and outdoor queuing is a small price to pay in comparison with what others have had to tolerate.