Author Topic: Support bubbles  (Read 594 times)

Support bubbles
« on: February 12, 2021, 09:32:23 PM »
Don't think I've seen a thread about this yet, but apologies if I'm wrong.

I completely understand the value of the UK's support bubble idea, but unsurprisingly it feels like the communication and execution of it has been so scrambled that no one really understands how it works. For a start the word "bubble" itself seems a bit of an odd choice that definitely lends itself to interpretation - a few people I know have justified hanging out (indoors) with various different households by saying "it's OK, they've joined my bubble", mate that is absolutely not how it works. I'm not sure what a better alternative would be though, I suppose something more indicative of a fixed, limited grouping - "partnership", maybe? I know people will bend the rules regardless of terminology, but so much of the government rhetoric around this whole situation has been so wilfully muddy linguistically, and this feels like just another example.

I moved into a place on my own last year, and since then loads of people have asked me if I'm going to form a support bubble. It's a fair question as legally this would be allowed, but in practice it wouldn't be that straightforward - most of my friends in London live in flatshares, so if I formed a bubble with one of them, it would by default have to include their flatmates (some of whom I don't really know, and/or have partners who they're continuing to see regularly, regardless of covid rules/my friends' concerns), so that would probably be a no. Forming a bubble with a cohabiting couple would be third wheel o'clock. And I could have moved back in with my parents, but both are vulnerable (especially pre-vax) so that would have been pretty stressful, and probably would have ended up being a bit counterproductive on the old mental health side of things depending on how long I stayed (they're on the other side of town so it's not like I could just nip back and forth).

The loneliness fucking sucks at times, but at least I've been able to have a couple of distanced outdoor walks with friends who live nearby; forming a bubble with another household is a whole other level of commitment (and risk), rather than a simple catch-all answer to the isolated existences lots of people are finding themselves in. Some of the quotes in this Guardian article, though ostensibly about the struggles of not being able to date/get laid (which is all too depressingly relatable as well) pretty much hit the nail on the head re: how in general the "nuclear family" unit has been the most rewarded by many of the rules.

Admittedly I haven't really looked into the other permitted circumstances you're allowed to form a bubble in, but even at a glance the usefulness looks a bit limited - so for example if you're working from home but your partner's a key worker who's out all day and you have a young child, if your kid was under the age of one in December it's all gravy but if they're any older than that, get fucked - because children magically learn to look after themselves on their second birthdays?

Anyway, not sure what the point of this is really. Anyone made use of the support bubble allowance?

[tag]Wiley leaves thread disappointed[/tag]

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Re: Support bubbles
« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2021, 12:26:12 AM »
You’re right to scoff at these bubbles. Metaphors We Die By.

Re: Support bubbles
« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2021, 10:22:52 AM »
Yeah, allowing people a limited support unit is obviously an important provision to make, acknowledging the very real danger of loneliness while maintaining vigilance over virus safety - my gripe is that the way it's set out in the UK woefully fails to take into account the reality of many people's living situations. Which in itself is arguably a direct consequence of the absolute shitshow that is the housing sector here, i.e. the reason so many adults are renting in shared HMOs, often with strangers.

Pretty much everyone I know (at least those living in flatshares, i.e. everyone I know in London) has broken the rules to a degree at some point - much as the article I linked to says, this isn't because they're flippant covid deniers or anything, just because it's nigh on impossible to police the behaviour of others you live with, or indeed to go for a year denying yourself any sort of social contact while watching the others in your household flagrantly living their lives.

A friend of mine, whose flatmates both moved home (permanently) last year, had to find two new flatmates at quite short notice and it sounds like an absolute nightmare - both of the new flatmates have been seeing their boyfriends throughout every lockdown (my friend is single), without even a polite quick check-in with the rest of the flat beforehand. One of the boyfriends in particular is a covid-denying cunt who sneaks out to house parties and the like, putting the whole flat at risk. Ironically, my friend has family who live within walking distance, but according to the rules wouldn't be allowed to form a bubble with them, as that would already be too many households mixing.

It would just be nice if the government gave up the patronising pretense that everyone lives in nice safe little nuclear units but that's not going to happen.