New covid19 infractions

Mark Lyndersay -
Mark Lyndersay -


WE KNOW the big crimes associated with evading the health restrictions: failing to maintain social distancing, not wearing masks, not washing hands regularly and, if you're the Attorney General, hanging out with non-family members for a streamed lime.

Consider the crackling radio alerts of TV cop shows, full of appropriately inscrutable call signs, for all the other faux pas that have come along with these restrictions, the micro-failures that even a dutiful police commissioner might miss.

"GWS (gaming while schooling) report in PoS!"

The best I might have hoped to pull off at school in my day might have been slipping a comic into the kind of dull and hefty textbook that normally accompanied a tiresome class experience.

It turns out that attending school using a tablet offers all kinds of opportunities for creatively breaking biche, as students peer attentively at the screen, all the while playing a game, switching quickly between windows with practised skill.

"EZC (embarrassing Zoom carelessness) in progress, shut down all feeds."

The examples of this going viral are equally hilarious and appalling, as homes were turned into impromptu reality TV studios, streaming tiny but revealing video from a wide spectrum of households in ways that have no precedent prior to March 2020.

So naked people walked past cameras, blithely ignorant of their field of view, explosive decompressions of personal gas were dutifully captured by microphones, obscenely articulate family conflicts and other deeply personal expressions of home life suddenly became the new reality show nobody asked for.

"Neighbour reports a NAF (Netflix and frozen), medical response required."

All those plans to do serious work around the house? To finally trim the lawn? Maybe wash the wares in the sink? Shower?

You know what you were doing, right? You were bingeing on Netflix. Forget Netflix and chill. You were frozen. You couldn't let it go even if you tried. Is this really a crime? Perhaps when you realise there isn't a clean plate in the house and you've been out of paper plates for weeks. And what is that smell?

"All cars! Widespread incidents of CSD (criminal soap dilution)!"

There are only two ways we sanitise before entering a business, and businesses in malls and plazas really don't have an option. Hand sanitiser is the most common hygiene fix and if it seems to be mixed with hydrochloric acid, Well, that's just the price of enforcing personal cleanliness.

Much easier on the hands, if only because it can be washed off with running water, is proper soap. It also washes away the lingering sting of too much cheap sanitiser, so it's really vicious when businesses deliberately water down the soap mixture, so that instead of a cleansing lather, you get a kind of slimy coating that doesn't feel like it's cleaning anything at all

"Alert! WRH (welcome recalibration humiliation) in progress!"

So how exactly do we greet people now? And worse, how do we deal with people zeroing in for a level of personal contact that we aren't comfortable with?

This is a person you would have hesitated to cheek-kiss in 2019, and they're angling in for a hug? Can you turn a Shaolin monk dodge into a joke? How exactly does one meet that affectionate, arms-wide-open lunge with an elbow bump without appearing to be executing a debilitating kung-fu move?

Is it okay to leave someone with their handshake floating in the air while we keep our distance with a carefully measured wave?

Forget the annoyance of micro-aggressions. This is the decade of micro-annoyances and micro-humiliations.

Mark Lyndersay is the editor of An expanded version of this column can be found there


"New covid19 infractions"

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