The daily grind never felt sweeter: New Zealanders should enjoy their Covid-free liberties

1 month ago 15

The first community case for two months is a reminder that our freedom to go to the office is something to be appreciated

A chap working in the prime minister’s department mentions in passing that he’s on holiday in Golden Bay, that amazing republic of long, empty beaches lapped by the Tasman ocean, at the top of the South Island. “Too much sand,” he texts. “Too much sun.” He’s plainly in heaven. In normal circumstances I’d hate someone for enjoying a holiday while I’m back at work but things are different this year.

Most working New Zealanders are back to the grind after the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. Schools start next week. Parliament resumes on 7 February. Business as usual, but there’s something light-hearted about it in 2021. The tedium and drab necessity of returning to work is tempered by the knowledge that it’s not that bad, that it could be a lot worse. The mere fact we can move around the towns and cities, squeeze into elevators, and mooch around with each other in offices and cafes and doctor’s waiting rooms and any confined space you care to name, is a joy. Freedom isn’t just the open road; freedom is also a day measured in paperclips and paper jams. It’s a freedom denied other countries in lockdown.

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