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PCT #5: The day I fled a pandemic in slow-mo.

Updated: Mar 28

Events have taken on a life of their own and finding I am never where I am supposed to be. Perpetually not where I should be. Pandemonium is the order of my day.

A friend helped me pack up my things for storage free of charge; an offer so generous I overlooked the fact it rendered me homeless twelve days before I’d hoped to be. It is also how I found myself sipping coffee in another friend’s kitchen before I’d planned to do so, having not long roused myself from slumbering in her back bedroom. I’d initially expected to be staying with her just the weekend before I was due to travel on the Tuesday, 17th March to the US. I had opted for a sensible approach: taking a week to acclimatise - leaving from gusty Britain to the bone dry-desert of Southern California. It would also give me me ample time to pick up the necessaries for my trip that cannot go into an aircraft’s hold.

“Donald Trump’s just announced that Europeans can’t go to America,” she mentioned quite casually as her hairdresser finished applying some concoction to her roots. “But not the British” she added shortly after, just as my heart was about to commit to having a coronary.

For days I’ve been convinced that the Coronavirus is overhyped media madness conveniently seized upon by the nation, Facebookers and journalists included, because we are all so heartily sick of all the discourse surrounding Brexit.

As the coffee I had been drinking dribbled down my chin, I digested what she was saying. Suddenly whether we were in or out of Europe was suddenly the only thing I cared about. For now we were out, but all this could change tomorrow. And there’s only one thing more unpredictable than asking ‘The People’ for their opinion, and that is asking ‘The Donald’.

Who would bet what Mr Trump will pronounce tomorrow, but on this day, whatever side of the political divide one is on, I was delighted he was so geographically-challenged. Yet, I feared just one powerful sneeze from a Frenchman could render us back in a continent we’ve not actually left, even though I was pretty certain we had more Coronavirus detected than our Gaelic soon-to-be-ex-cousins. Added to which I had my doubts about the durability of the inter-continental bromance that Donald and Boris enjoy: after all neither of them have great track records in long-lasting, committed relationships.

And so my to-do list, with four days of ‘doing’ compiled on it, was compressed into one day, just so that I could get the hell out of Dodge (wherever that is) and over to Diego of the San variety. As I raced around getting things to the right place, stopping only to book flights, transport and hotels, then frantically checking systematically we were still out of Europe, and that Boris wasn’t going to prorogue the entire country, I realised that my leaving party has become ‘She’s left’ party. You could say: I’ve brexited.

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