It is a cliché at this stage but I miss the pub. The role of the Irish pub has tended to focus on the negative but over the past 12 months, the positive side of the pub as a hub of social interaction has really been recognised. It is true we don’t appreciate what we have until it’s snapped away from us.
When they do reopen, I think we will have to learn the art of socialising again because I’ve forgotten.
We will know it is safe to return to the pub when Joe Duffy declares he is dropping the “wash your hands” bit from his text reminder “51551 – wash your hands.”
As for shaking hands, surely we’ll never go back to shaking hands as a form of greeting one another. Seriously! It’s a practice that’s been tainted as lethal.
[...] where does that leave the hug or the European greeting of a kiss on both cheeks?
Admit it, seeing two people shake hands in a movie now is having the same impact as Reeling in the Years footage of people smoking in pubs! Think about it, wouldn’t it feel weird if somebody approached you now to shake hands?
And, where does that leave the hug or the European greeting of a kiss on both cheeks? Not sure I’d risk going in for a kiss on the cheek to greet an old friend for fear they’d jump away like I was going to hit them.
There are some days where I literally don’t interact with another human save for whizzing past walkers and runners when out for a run
On a more serious note, is that great Irish tradition of funeral-going more or less finished also? Hope not but who knows. A friend of mine lost his dad to COVID-19. I texted him my condolences and he replied: “Thanks Damien, I really appreciate the message, especially since you can’t shake hands with someone.”
There are some days where I literally don’t interact with another human save for whizzing past walkers and runners when out for a run. That’s another legacy of the pandemic; runners have been downgraded as an outdoor species to that of a skunk. Last week, one woman dramatically jumped to one side and turned her back and covered her face as she saw me approaching in the opposite direction. I responded in kind by leaping in exaggerated fashion out onto the road to avoid her.
[...] even when we are all vaccinated, going into the shop without a mask will feel like going outside with no trousers on, at least for the first few times anyway
Those days of solitary confinement has given me a real sense of how dangerous isolation is to ones wellbeing. There was one day in December I remember I didn’t leave the apartment – where I live alone – and I wasn’t the better for it. It was a reminder of how we take social interaction for granted. I swore I would never do it again. And I haven’t, even if it means going to the local newsagent to buy a bag of popcorn, I’ll do it before the day ends.
Speaking of which, even when we are all vaccinated, going into the shop without a mask will feel like going outside with no trousers on, at least for the first few times anyway. Although, surely we will never naturally go back to not queuing two metres apart when we go shopping?
Things might be strange now. They’ll be even stranger when the pubs are open again
The same goes for the pubs when they do reopen. That great Irish tradition of elbowing ones way through the sweaty squash to a busy counter or at half time of a big match in Croke Park or Lansdowne Road or a concert may be no more.
That’s no bad thing says this grumpy middle-aged man. Things might be strange now. They’ll be even stranger when the pubs are open again and we try to remember how to socialise with each other.
Just wondering, how will Liverpool do the delayed open-top bus through the city to celebrate winning their first league title in 30 years with no actual trophy to show their fans?