I don tonight’s specifically chosen attire and exit my home. I enter the outbuilding, pausing only to turn on the interior lights before taking the receptacles firmly by their handles. I then exit the outbuilding, again pausing only to turn off the interior lights. I approach the gate and unlock it. I move the receptacles into position next to the front of the house and look both ways up the street. I note the absolute lack of people, on foot or otherwise and note also the eerie silence. Normally at this point – in all previous forays of this manner – the street would have impossibly, almost miraculously, filled with people and vehicles. Tonight – nothing.
I leave the street and reenter my property, firmly closing the gate behind me and head back inside my home. It is at this point that my research assistant (although, having found and read several of my journals she has repeatedly stated that she prefers to be referred to as ‘my wife’) sees me and starts to laugh. ‘What’ she enquires ‘Do you think you are wearing?’. My explanation – that I am wearing a dressing gown and slippers in order to verify that this strange new world we live in is indeed a changed environment, and that normally – ‘As if by magic’ I add – the street would fill with people if I put the bins out in my dressing gown and slippers – falls on deaf ears as she continues to laugh and adds ‘Stop it, I’ll wee meself’.
I shall continue my research into this strange new world tomorrow when I attempt to perform a three point turn in the middle of the day, an exercise that under normal circumstances would immediately result in a previously dead-silent street filling with eight cars, one truck, two cyclists and four pedestrians.