STFU: Victorians are owed your gratitude not your scorn

At the risk of being extremely Melbourne about this: if you’re not here you don’t understand what nearly five million Australians are going through right now. 

You wouldn’t get it. We’re into more underground, less mainstream lockdowns. Name three of lockdown’s albums?  

Seriously though. 

Humans struggle to conceive as real experiences different from their own. In the same way I genuinely can’t fathom that people in Brisbane are currently, at this very moment, sitting in cinemas watching a baffling new Christopher Nolan movie, the rest of you can’t begin to imagine what life is like here.  

It fucking fucking fucking fucking fucking sucks. 

You know the adrenaline that powered you through the first few weeks of the March-April shutdown? You don’t get that the second time. Not even a little bit. And certainly not the third time around, which is what this one really feels like. 

You know the sense of community spirit and in-this-togetherness that lifted your mood when things got dark? You don’t get that when people everywhere else in the country are posting selfies from the pub, from bushwalks, from further than 5.01km from home. 

You know the small mercies that kept you sane the first time – daycares, long walks, the knowledge that you could duck outside to take the bins out after 8pm? You don’t get those because they’re illegal.   

It’s basically still March here, except worse, because – to be extremely serious for just a moment – lots of people have been dying all around us for a few months and that doesn’t exactly add to the cheery vibe. 

We’re currently in the strictest lockdown anywhere in the world. Our kids are bored and sad. Our parents are exhausted and sad. Our grandparents are lonely and sad. 

And now fucking Brisbane is getting to host the fucking Grand Final. 

And Sydney FC won the fucking A-League. 

The very least you could do is not demonise us, not make jokes, not blame us. 

Because, despite the framing of the Murdoch press, despite some deft blame-shifting from our elected representatives, 99.6% of us haven’t done anything wrong. 

Victoria police have issued around 20,000 fines you say? 

Let’s be generous and take at face value that they were all reasonable (which they weren’t). That’s still only 0.4% of our population. 

Given what we’ve gone through, we’re an absurdly compliant bunch, absurdly community minded, absurdly well behaved. And you should be grateful for it.

Last week a Roy Morgan poll found an astonishing 71% of us support these lockdown restrictions, which, again, are the strictest anywhere in the world currently. 89% of us want to wear masks! We’re basically sentient vaccines. 

On top of that, mobile location data from the first lockdown, the only national point of comparison, showed that Victorians socially distanced more effectively than anyone else.

And, as for the people doing the wrong thing, the small minority that garner the bulk of the media coverage… do you seriously think that’s because they’re Melburnians? Because they prefer real footy to fucking rugby league? That there’s something uniquely Victorian about trying to slip a border? Do you really think people from the fucking Shire would be behaving any better if presented the same situation?

It’s just proof that Australians can be xenophobic about anything

So when Queensland’s Labor Party warns the state could be “flooded with Victorians” as part of their election campaign, it stings.

When The Daily Telegraph says that NSW is right to be “Victoria Bitter”, it’s an unnecessary, cruel kick to our already pummelled behinds.

Absolutely fuck these assholes

And when seemingly every Sydneysider on fucking Instagram can’t stop posting selfies from the pub, from the beach, from their street curbs after 8pm, it cuts deep.     

The one time I’ve felt genuinely grateful to Scott Morrison was right before this lockdown when he said, “We’re all Victorians.” I actually felt that. A little compassion goes a long way. Admittedly he fucked it up by going to a Sharks game that same weekend, but for Scomo that was still downright decent. His empathy coach earnt his salary that day.   

I haven’t seen a stranger’s uncovered mouth in five weeks. It’s weird here!

This has gone on long enough now that my two-year-old son knows something’s up. He reminds me when I’ve nearly stepped outside forgetting my mask. He can barely talk but one of his half-dozen phrases is, “Daddy, [are the] swings [still] sick?” 

I cannot describe how upsetting that is. 

One night a few weeks back he rejected his cot and insisted on spending the entire night from 9pm onwards crying and cuddling in our bed because he hasn’t seen his best friend in months, because he hasn’t been to the pool in what to him is effectively a third of his lifetime, because he can’t go to fucking Legoland. 

This has been happening so long now he’s starting to understand what’s going on. And he’s fucking two!

We’re experiencing a trauma right now that the rest of Australia, hopefully, will never fully understand. I don’t want to diminish anyone else’s struggles with the first lockdown, because that sucked too, and whatever pain you felt was no doubt very very very real.  

But we had that too, and now we have this as well, which is much much much worse.

So while you’re frothing over The Daily Telegraph, try to remember that we’re doing this all for you! So you don’t have to. 

The very least you could do is appreciate it, offer some support, or shut the fuck up.

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