The First Freedom Weekend Is Here, Finally, by Morak Babajide-Alabi
Blog, Newspaper Column

The First ‘Freedom’ Weekend Is Here, Finally

by Morak Babajide-Alabi

It is Friday and the end of the working week (for some). It is the start of the weekend. For some time in the recent past, we have got used to curling up on the sofa, catching up on the news, watching sports or just catching up with friends and relatives on social media. No thanks to the various lockdowns that shut the social scenes for over 16 months.

Weekends have not been the same. Before the pandemic, weekends were big deals. We were always delighted to say, “thank God it is Friday.” We said this because weekends were for clubbing, parties, visiting friends and families and having fun generally. We always looked forward to Fridays so we could let our guards down and enjoy. The saying “all work and no play make Jack a dull boy” always played in our heads. More also for our general well being it was time to take our minds off work.

We cherish weekends. The virus arrived and took away the joy of the weekends. The nightclubs, pubs, places of worship, parks were put under lock and key with strict instructions to remain so. The houses of fun and enjoyment where many relaxed and connected with their inner selves shut. Uncharacteristically, the streets were deserted on Fridays as everywhere looked like ghost towns. The pavements that witnessed the usual dramas on Fridays wondered what happened. Where were the gorgeously dressed party-goers? If the pavements could talk, they would have moaned about how much they missed the drunken late-night fights (especially on Fridays).

What about the drama on the streets? The noise in the quiet neighbourhoods when party revellers return home in the early hours of the day. The typical rambunctious conversations as they struggle to get their keys to work on the front doors. We missed these.

The lockdowns changed the social scene. The nightclubs became eerily silent. The bars were empty, while furniture hung upside down sadly as they miss human warmth. The quietness was loud as the absence of concerts, gigs, parties meant dancing shoes stayed planted on shoe racks. The beautiful dresses that would have kept heads turning on Fridays became decorations in our wardrobes. They only came out once in a while to check if they still fitted. Sadly, some of them are out of fashion and sizes and will go to charity organisations for a new lease of life.

Thankfully, the government, on July 19, 2021, announced the further easing of all lockdown restrictions. It is good news to us all. Many have termed this as freedom. Come to think about it, and freedom is in the air, but with individual responsibility.

It is the first weekend since the lockdown rules ended. Now, we can confidently say, “Thank God, it is Friday.” The nightclubs and pubs have been making preparations all week to welcome as many as possible. They know the fun lovers will troop out en masse to enjoy the “freedom.” Going by what we saw on Monday night in some cities, the nightclub owners will have many people to accommodate. Many people will come out to celebrate “freedom”.

The worry for this first “freedom” Friday is how many people will throw caution into the winds. The nightlife is back. The thought of passing a virus will be the last thing in the mind of any party reveller. The word on the street would be, who cares about the virus?” And when alcohol is involved, you can imagine the atmosphere.

Are you heading out tonight? I bet you are. But as you do, remember the word “responsibility.” It rests heavily on your shoulder as you enjoy the first “freedom” weekend. Robert Welch said: “The real freedom of any individual can always be measured by the amount of responsibility which he must assume for his own welfare and security. Never mind your happiness; do your duty. You can’t escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.” Also, remember that you run the risk of being pinged for two weeks of self-isolation. There is no excuse for this. Ask Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak. They could not escape it.

For those who will still curl up on the sofa, the Olympics 2020 kicked off today. I can hear you say, “finally.” Yes, finally, the opening ceremonies were taking place as I rounded this piece up. With all the controversies, threats of cancellation and fear of it being a pandemic hotspot, the Japanese know how to throw a party. If you are not going out, you can always catch up on the games.

Have a great weekend.

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ABOUT MORAK

I am an experienced Social Media practitioner with a strong passion for connecting with customers of brands. As part of a team, I presently work on the social media account of a leading European auto company. On this job, I have brought my vast experiences in journalism, marketing, search engine optimisation and branding to play.

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