Here in Victoria, there’s a sense of resignation amongst many people. Lockdown number 6 continues and the state government’s lack of an exit strategy leave little light at the end of the tunnel.
Now at this point this article could quite easily become a political rant regarding mismanagement and apparent abuses of power, but I don’t really want to talk about that stuff.
What I want to talk about is the sad feeling I get just looking at my car presently, knowing that if I drive it more than 5kms from my house I might have to explain my actions and potentially pay a fine. Life in Victoria feels like a minimum security prison.
Frustratingly I’m currently storing two tents, three camp chairs and three sleeping bags in the car. Every time I look in the window or open a door it reminds me that I could be off camping or exploring or just driving somewhere for the sheer hell of it. It’s the vehicular equivalent of “all dressed up with no place to go.”
I’m a diehard automotive enthusiast and my car makes me sad. How depressing is that? What a miserable state of affairs we are ensuring to have brought me to that. The car has come to represent everything I can’t do. It is the embodiment of freedoms lost.
Now, the carrot we’re currently having dangled in our faces is 70% first dose vaccination, which will no doubt be rewarded by the most insultingly minimal changes to restrictions. Or the carrot will disappear and the goal posts will move yet again, because hey, why would politicians keep their word on anything?
I’m not only kicking the state government. The federal government is responsible for the vaccine rollout and they’ve botched that in every way imaginable. Both the Melbourne and Sydney outbreaks might have been avoided if the vaccines had been sourced faster. The government and media scaring people off Astra Zenica hasn’t helped either.
So here we are, Victorians. Yet again.
Feeling like prisoners in our own homes, watching our businesses and livelihoods crumble and seeing the mental health crisis caused by this pandemic grow worse and worse.
I consider myself lucky. My biggest gripe is that I’m sad because my car can’t take me the places I want it to. It’s a real first world problem. I’ve fared far better than many of my fellow Melbournians and I gratefully acknowledge that. Some will say my self-pity is selfish in the face of those who have suffered more, and that’s probably true. But just because I’m not as bad off as others doesn’t necessarily mean I have to be happy.
The cabin fever is getting worse, a feeling I’m sure many can relate to. When travel restrictions are lifted, I don’t even know where I want to go. I just want to go. Somewhere, anywhere, as long as it’s not home. I just want to hit the open road and drive. What I crave is that feeling of escape that few things can provide.
The window down on a country road with music playing is one such thing. The airport departure lounge at the dawn of a big trip is another.
When will we get back these simple freedoms and the excitement they provide?
Some will say suck it up, get the jab, do the right thing and it’s hard to argue with that. Everyone has to play their part, I get that. Most people have done so.
But only a Melbournian understands the dragging sense of hopelessness that living in Melbourne currently holds. We’ve been going through this off and on for over a year and a half and we’re still looking for the light at the end of the tunnel. Still feeling like Daniel Andrews has become less Premier and more Warden. Still feeling like the responsible majority are being endlessly punished for the actions of the selfish and foolish minority.
One day it will all feel like a distant memory. I can’t wait for coronavirus to finally be in our rear view mirrors.
But until then, I look longingly at my Nissan Patrol, wanting to splash it through rivers, drive it through forests and create clouds with it on dusty roads.
There’s adventure to be had. Sadly none of it lies within 5kms of my house. My car is taunting me and making me sad.
Make it stop.