Selfishness the new Aussie pastime



The novelty, it seems, is wearing off.

We've been confined to our homes for two or three weeks now. We've had Zoom meetings to show off our pets, gone online shopping for new pyjamas and baked hot cross buns that we all swear "taste way better than shop-bought" even though they look like roadkill.

And so, we enter the next phase. Moaning about our "loss of liberties".

Why do we all have to stay home? Why can't just the high-risk people isolate? Surely it doesn't mean I have to lock myself indoors.

Essentially, it's the adult version of my four-year-old whining, "Mummy, I'm bored."

Then it gets political and conspiratorial.

But my civil liberties! How can they get these powers so easily? What if they never give them back.

"But Mummy, you NEVER let me play with (insert here any highly dangerous thing that will possibly kill)."

The thing is folks, this isn't about you.

I know it's a hard concept to grasp, especially in this greedy, narcissistic world.

Walkers ignored the beach closure in Surfers Paradise on Easter Sunday.
Walkers ignored the beach closure in Surfers Paradise on Easter Sunday.


We've really created this situation ourselves. From a global economy that relies on constant international travel, a need for all our desires to be satiated immediately, and our own incredible selfishness, we've created the perfect environment for a microscopic and deadly virus to thrive. It crept in like an unwanted, offensive uncle at the Christmas table, settling in at the head seat while we were busy ripping open our presents under the tree. By the time we noticed he was there, it was too late to shove him back out the door.

Again, this lockdown isn't about you.

Yes, you might be one of the lucky ones who can walk out their door, gallivant around town, licking train seats and banisters along the way on your merry jaunt, without getting sick. Or if you do get COVID-19, you may have only mild symptoms, recover and be fine.

But will your child? Will your mother?

Will your neighbour who you visited to see how she was? Will your barista who you grabbed your morning coffee from? What about the other kids and teachers at your child's school? Their siblings, parents, grandparents? The people they work with? The shop workers they come into contact with when they stop for food on the way home?

If you have trouble remembering the concept that was so popular in the '90s, it's called six degrees of separation. This world has seven billion people in it. But we are all connected - and we are all closer than you can possibly imagine.

Yes, you’re probably bored, but is being forced to watch the telly the end of the world? Picture: iStock
Yes, you’re probably bored, but is being forced to watch the telly the end of the world? Picture: iStock


Yes, you're being asked to stay at home. Yes, the kids are driving you nuts. Yes, it's been weeks already and now they are talking about months more to go. Yes, you're bored. It was fun when you were planning to make your own sourdough but now the starter has died and you've run out of flour anyway, and you really just want to go to the beach; get some fresh air.

The greater good is an easy concept to explain but a difficult one to live. Again, because it's not about you, at least not directly. But think of it this way - while you do this for other people, others are doing it for you. Strangers are hitting pause on their liberties, and they are doing it for you. Which is kind of nice.

This isn't about loss of liberties, then, as much as it is about the kindness of strangers.

So put on those sexy new pyjamas, settle in with your pet pooch, tuck into those roadkill buns and binge watch Locke & Key on Netflix. (It's a really great show.) And instead of moaning, be a kind stranger.

Originally published as Selfishness the new Aussie pastime