A house at Redvale, North Shore, Auckland, the site of a party that breached alert level 3 restrictions. Photo / Dean Purcell
Many, many years from now, kids in school will study the 2020s pandemic which brought the world to a halt. They’ll dig up news items for their assignments and they’ll find many stories. Stories of hardship, stories of compassion, stories of heartbreak, stories of tragedy.
And then they’ll come across the North Shore influencers twerking on a ping pong table, 20 months into a pandemic and two months into a lockdown, and they’ll wonder the same thing we’re all wondering right now:
What the everloving f*** were they thinking?
First, there’s the party (which looks objectively shitty and definitely not worth leaving the house for pre-pandemic, let alone during lockdown).
Then, there’s the almost absurdist stupidity of posting footage of it online.
It’s all simultaneously comically dumb and incredibly sobering in how much it reveals of how little these people care about whether they’re in or out of lockdown.
The footage is a stark reminder that we’re not really all in this together. It’s the old “same storm, different boat”. The lesson here is that if you have a lot of privilege – and I don’t mean just social or financial privilege, I’m also talking about health privilege or any kind of privilege that means this pandemic might not hit you as hard – you’re possibly a bit less likely to follow the rules.
If the people in this video felt like their jobs were at risk by staying in lockdown longer, they’d be complying (you’d hope). Instead, it seems they don’t have much to lose. The sun will rise tomorrow (don’t worry if you miss it, they’ll probably post a pic), mum and dad will deposit their allowance into their bank account and they’ll blow most of it on shockingly ugly sneakers and some more blackcurrant Vodka Cruisers. There’s absolutely no reason for them to think the rules have to apply to them.
We’re not all in this together. People without the privilege of health are trying to stay alive. People without the privilege of wealth are trying to stay afloat. For some of us, there’s a lot more at stake than for others.
But you know? In case they don’t learn a lesson from this, let us learn it.
There’s a whole section of society for whom none of this really matters that much. They have no skin in the game, not that much to lose.
This is important to remember when you see any influencer (or, say, a bishop) breaching restrictions or talking about personal freedoms. Think of the lives they live and why they would think the way they do – then compare it to your life. Make decisions based on your life and your family’s life, not the life of someone more privileged than you, who has not been affected by lockdown the way you have.
We might be all going through the same storm but some of us are braving it in leaky kayaks while others are watching it all unfold from their yachts.