It’s been a funny old Halloween. For once nobody rang on our doorbell and the bag of sweets we bought, just in case, remains unopened. Some of the houses in the street did take the opportunity to dress their properties with the idea that at least the younger children could wander around with their lanterns.
In my day Halloween wasn’t such a big deal. At most we would have a turnip to hollow out, not a pumpkin, but only if we ate the flesh. Those were mother’s terms and she was insistent. Nowadays it seems just another opportunity to sell us things we don’t need.
Hollowed out. If ever there was an expression of the age then that is it. The announcement of another lockdown has left me feeling hollowed out. No matter what expression is carved on my face I feel as empty as a pumpkin, without even a candle. It is a difficult feeling to shift and the longer it goes on the more vacant I feel. I imagine that I am not the only one.
I also think the country is suffering from being hollowed out. I understand that the virus has made life very difficult yet it seems we have lost the ability to organise anything, even a good time in a brewery. I am left wondering if the perpetual pursuit of efficiencies coupled with a sustained period of austerity have left us with organisations bereft of those who would have helped us cope.
Gone are large swathes of expensive management along with their long years of experience. Gone are the people who had the time on their hands to think and to plan. Perhaps we have cut too far and removed any resilience that we had in the system. Like Beeching’s axe we have hollowed out the system and left it short of capacity to absorb variance and respond to shock.
There is a saying that in a year from now you will wish that you had started today. Today though I think we are paying the price for decisions we made many years ago. We have been hollowed out.