"Everyone is a bit frazzled" (Diary of a Tube worker)

Submitted by AWL on 12 January, 2021 - 10:19 Author: Jay Dawkey
Tube worker

“And now it is in Nigeria, and it’s bad. It is the big parties spreading it. People are still going to them, they don’t know what it’s like here. I need to call my sister so she knows what happens when it is out of control. But you know it wasn’t Nigerians there that got coronavirus, it was all of us going back home and visiting. More Nollywood actresses have got it now, it is the parties I am telling you!”

C is at once both the most Covid-alarmist worker on the station and also the greatest believer in the conspiracy theories associated with it. No one wipes down as many surfaces as C as they go about their duty. And no one shares as many dubious claims to our WhatsApp. When I see the “forwarded many times” message I am instantly very sceptical. When I see one of the videos is Donald Trump Jr defending his Dad against the attacks by social media giants, I sigh. Fortunately, I am not the only one who feels the need to respond.

“I’m not going to listen to some cokehead stooge for his Dad”, E says. Not how I would put it, but the last person I want to champion free speech for is Donald Trump Jr.

C is unperturbed. “We should be careful what we wish for. Could be Trump then could be someone else. And what about their plans, look at the Great Reset”. Another video is attached detailing the conspiracy theory for Great Reset. I decide better to talk to C in person than via WhatsApp. Everyone is a bit frazzled at the moment. Better to get the tone right on this one.

It isn’t busy on shift, but it’s not that quiet either. Someone mentions that BBC News filmed around the area earlier and there were a lot of people. We know the spread is affecting us more now. More people off, more people self isolating, and a lot of back and forth about numbers of people who need to be in work and testing and when people will be back.

Most people are used to wearing masks now. But no cash being taken has meant more people as a proportion are shoving their way through the gates. At least trying to avoid interacting with people makes it even easier to avoid doing anything about that.

• Jay Dawkey is a London Underground worker and RMT union activist

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