When someone infected with Covid 19 coughs, some of the heavier spheres of death fly in an arc and land on the carpet just over 3 feet away, while the more cunning ones hang around in the air in the form of aerosols for at least three hours. I personally think aerosols is too clinical a name; I think they should be called arseholes.
I live alone in a retirement block on the second floor. To get any fresh air, I have to use the lift and walk along two corridors, both potentially full of deadly arseholes, so I wear an N95 mask that I got from the Internet. Nine years out of date and probably useless, but it gives me a bit of confidence.
Sometimes I wonder whether I should shut my eyes when I'm in the lift, but I know those little particles would be perfectly capable of landing on my eyelids and travelling through to my eyes, so I don't bother.
As I move slowly from the second floor to the ground, I imagine a future virus that can crawl. Someone sneezes or coughs and a drop lands on your sleeve. Over the next hour, it crawls up your arm, up your neck and into your mouth or your nose or your eyes. Or even worse, there's a virus that can burrow through the fabric of your sleeve and through your skin into your bloodstream ...
The gentle chimes of the lift announce I'm at the ground floor.
I see some fellow residents blocking the only exit, hovering round the hand sanitiser like office workers round the water cooler. Having probably not seen another human being for days, they chat while they clean their hands. I hang back, torn between the desperate need for conversation and the equally desperate need to avoid the plague.
Finally, they disperse and I make my way out of the building, slathering my hands with goo to kill the arseholes that might be on the door handle.
I walk in the front garden - the only place I can go. I'm not one of these lucky people who can go to the shops or visit friends. If I were to catch the virus, it could easily finish off my delicate heart.
I deal with the feeling of being imprisoned by letting my imagination run wild, but this time in a more positive way. I'm lucky to live in a building which has a beautiful front garden left to run wild. I walk along the edge of the lawn imagining fairy folk living happy lives amongst the ivy-choked beech trees.
Time to go back in again, back to my dark second-floor flat. Just outside the main door, another kindhearted resident approaches me, their eyes bright with the recognition of a fellow human being. They are unmasked, smiling and talking to me about how they're on their way to get a loaf of bread. They walk towards me, closing in on that precious space. I back up, sensing those arseholes flying towards me.
I get the impression, just for a moment, that the virus is in control of this person's movements, taking over their motor control, forcing them to stagger closer and closer to me. The land of the walking dead.
My back is now pressed against the wrought iron fence, so I shove my mask over my face, hoping that its out of date status doesn't really matter.
I want to tell this kind, sweet soul to back the eff up and give me some space, but all that comes out of my mouth is a platitude about the weather. I'm doomed to die of politeness.
I edge along the fence and make my escape back into my sanctuary. It might be small and dark, but my flat is a safe space. Arsehole free.