A conversation killer

Summer’s coming but the subject matter remains the same. Covid, bloody Covid. The damned virus just will not go away.

Wait! Before you all start protesting that Covid-19 will never go away, viruses just keep mutating and last FOREVER – I do know that, thanks. But nearly 18 months since we started to hear about a brand new bug, the pandemic remains pretty much the only topic of conversation. It also continues to take up column inches by the mile, not to mention hours and hours of airtime. Good grief, Dominic Cummings got an entire day to pontificate about it this week.

Even when we’re not conversing about coronavirus directly, all roads lead back to it. Whether that’s the unseasonal weather lending an icy, damp air to al fresco dining and drinking, school kids sitting their pandemic-disrupted final assessments (which, let’s face it, are exams by any other name), or Glasgow continuing to be held in the grip of ongoing restrictions. Then there’s asking everyone you’ve ever know (and some that you’ve never clapped eyes-above-mask on before), if they’ve had their jags. And the latest virus-themed trope is the sharing of tales about scouring the net in the ever-diminishing hope of finding the last remaining summer holiday staycation cottage, croft or clapped out caravan.

It’s like we’ve forgotten how to talk about other stuff. And who can blame us? The other stuff is so completely entwined with the ever-unfolding twists and turns of the pandemic that we just have to shrug and carry on conversing in Covid. A bit like that strange, discomfiting feeling we got when we first sallied forth out of lockdown and into a cafe, a library, the gym or the dentist, finding our way back to non-Covid chat is going to take practice. For now, even asking “how are you?” elicits the inevitable virus-laden response. Metaphorically, I mean.

It’s become so tedious, and yet it can’t be avoided. It’s like some nightmarish groundhog day of conversational torpor. And yet, here I am adding more lockdown language to the mountains of others. Like everyone else, I can’t seem to stop.

To add a bit variety and to keep myself sane, I like to freak out the unsuspecting by taking some conversational detours away from the pandemic and into the murky depths of the menopause. Well, if I have to endure both bloody things at the same time then damn right I’m going to share, whether you like it or not.

Seriously, I’m now longing for the day when the most pressing topic of conversation is about where we’re going next for a pint. I confess I have some undercurrents of anxiety that we might never be able to return to shooting the shit, but dammit, I hope you’ll be lining up to join me in a Covid-free chatroom before very much longer.