‘On The Couch’ With Jasminda


Dear Jasminda,

I just read a report of a couple of kids coughing on some elderly people who were exercising in Nelson Bay. Is this how low we have stooped?

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Mrs PL, Nelson Bay

Dear Mrs PL,

No, this is not how low we have stooped. This is (allegedly) how low a couple of young people have stooped and they are not at all reflective of our broader community. Stories such as this one can be really distressing, and they are distressing because most of us cannot fathom, in our wildest dreams, how people could be so uncaring, so insensitive and so devoid of humanity as to cough on vulnerable people in times when they are already anxious.

I think it is important not to dwell on those seeking attention in repulsive ways and instead focus on the many incredible ways people in our community are supporting each other. Just within my small group of friends and neighbours, I have experienced people sharing recipes, bartering fish for meat, checking in with elderly friends, having Zoom parties instead of the usual weekend catch-ups, and helping each other with kids’ homework (who knew Year 9 maths was so challenging?).

I’ve also witnessed locals respecting social distancing measures, but saying hearty greetings to each other as they walk past while exercising, smiling more and generally getting out of their bubbles and realising the many things we have to be grateful for, particularly in an area as spacious and beautiful as Port Stephens.

Businesses are being incredibly innovative and coming up with new ways to meet their customers’ needs. Parents are learning how to be tech-savvy via their children. Pets are being adopted. Many are returning to a simpler way of living – planting veggie patches, baking and even buying chooks. In the midst of this pandemic, there is a lot of good out there. I’m not going to get all Louise Hay or Deepak Chopra on you, but the behaviour of a couple of (insert your collective noun of choice – mine will be censored out by the editor) is not representative of our wonderful community.

Carpe diem, Jasminda.

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