Despair in a time of plague
Pandemic Journal Fragments
April 2nd 2020:
Far more homeless around than normal, in medium to large groups.
Social distancing still a problem if people are queueing for the
till. Had one guy breathing on the back of my neck because he
tried to skip the queue because social distancing spots. Fuck it
One of the main places where the homeless have been gathering,
looks like they’ve had a party. Not like normal. Sticky ground.
Smashed vodka bottles. It is also where people queue to get into
Early closing does not seem to be a wise idea due to panics and
There are more clusters of homeless in the area than normal, and
there is no distancing. Wandered into a builder looking fellow,
well enough dressed, with a well enough dressed wife, walking
around asking anyone who looked local for crack.
“Zero craic at the moment”.
He didn’t get the joke.
“There’s minus craic.”
“Rock? You’ve got rock?”
I’m probably lucky I didn’t get punched in the face for that. But
how or never. The whole three blocks in the area is busy, and
still hopping until about close to 9:30/10pm.
Sometime after ten, the Gards will swing by a few times, if
they’re bothered, and sound the siren.
The homeless drift back into the hostels, and the shadows.
They’ll often drift back at other times of night, and impromptu
sessions can start under my window.
If someone phones it in, maybe you’ll hear the siren.
The teenagers still roam. But a bit quieter.
Sometimes they can’t help themselves and fall into that loud
boyish honking and megaphone voice.
Sometimes a siren, sometimes self-awareness, and they too scatter
My friend in the Lidl is confused by the shifts. 10-12 hours. But
due to distancing, they’re not as busy, or busy in spurts.
I keep meaning to ask him if they’ve been told they can’t wear
masks. As that fad seems to have passed abruptly.
The South Asian owned and run stores reacted fast. Plastic shields
went up at most cash registers. 5 at a time only.
Lidl seems permanently sold out of eggs, but otherwise remains
Tesco too, except for runs on alcohol.
Spar remains well stocked, but gouging still
I still see people walking in groups, and socialising.
A woman petting a stranger’s dog through a fence.
Sorta squinting watching her maybe rub Covid all over their puppy.
People spitting in the open streets. Coughing into the air.
The drunks seem more drunk
They’re getting bolder too…
Making beds in places they didn’t normally, earlier.
No quarter asked, no fucks given.
Masks are predominantly on Irish-Asians, Irish-South-Asians,
Irish-Latin Americans I don’t know nationalities exactly, but
they’re ours, so it’s Irish.
There is a healthy state of paranoia in the building.
Sometimes people jump out of your way or walking into walls to
avoid being close to you.
Nearby, addicts on a ragged tip are trying to sell half-finished
bottles of methadone to people queueing for food without masks.
Homeless swarm at their feet to sit, like ducks, waiting for
bread, which they can they turn into cans and vodka. The odd
suspicious cough here or there.
(Photos by Colin Cowdrey)