The Guru

When the virus started,

The whole world was on the brink.

Didn’t like the sound of that,

Decided I should drink.

Started off with water,

Hoped I’d wash those germs away.

Then I made a bleachy mix

‘Cause He said, “That’s the way!”

 

Shone UV light down my throat,

Some other places too.

Ended up with nasty burns,

Oh! How I hate the loo!

This COVID thing continued on,

So lockdown lingered longer.

Despite my disinfectant shots,

I needed something stronger.

 

I shifted to pure alcohol,

It’s kind of like a cleaning.

It gave the saying “being smashed”

A new and nasty meaning.

When I regained my consciousness,

I felt quite close to death:

My pounding head, my nausea,

My slow and laboured breath.

 

Thought, “COVID can’t be worse than this!”

Although I wasn’t sure.

I grabbed my phone and felt relieved

‘Cause He had tweeted more.

“One day, just like a miracle,

It will have gone away.

‘Til then, I’ve done and awesome job –

That’s all there is to say!”

 

The Guru spoke and I paid heed

To all His learned words.

I quit my drinking

And then joined His vast, adoring herds.

 

Stephen Tomkins
7 May 2020
Sydney

Staying Current

“Good morning, Ladies and Gentlemen. This is your Captain speaking….”

It seems a lot longer than five weeks since I last made that announcement. In the time of the virus, we have all had to curtail our travel and a whole lot more, but for someone whose work is travel, it is a strange world indeed.

Like most of my colleagues, I have been stood down. Adjusting to an open-ended grounding hasn’t been easy. But I’ve come up with a few ways to try to keep things as normal as I can.

Firstly, and this is my favourite, I ensure I check my work emails multiple times a day and obsessively check that my manuals and charts are all up to date. You never know…

Then, every few days, I pack my bags, get into my uniform, and move to the spare room. I then unpack and socially-distance myself from everyone. I binge-watch Netflix and Stan, along with YouTube and so on. Maybe read a book. I call my family on WhatsApp just to stay connected.

Phase one complete.

Phase two. In the middle of the night, when everyone is asleep, I descend to the kitchen and prepare for flight. I arrange my pre-packaged meal and heat it in the microwave. My cutlery is removed from the freezer, as is my bread roll. I then sit in the dark, ensure some white noise is playing over my headphones, and enjoy my meal while staring into the dark nothingness, surrounded by as many screens as I can find, displaying rarely changing information. Ahh! Such bliss!

As the sun rises, I return to the spare room and attempt to sleep. When I awake, I call room service and order some breakfast. My wife (who has the patience of a saint) brings my food on a tray. I tip her generously and she leaves. But not before she gives me a look which is simply beyond description.

Stephen Tomkins
17 April 2020
Sydney