James O'Brien tries to persuade rebellious pensioner to observe lockdown

1 May 2020, 15:01

By Fiona Jones

This is the moment James O'Brien tries to persuade a rebellious pensioner to continue observing lockdown measures and not go singing and dancing to Dolly Parton with her friends.

Jennifer, who is 65 and has multiple sclerosis says she cannot wait to return to her aqua aerobics classes and dance to Dolly Parton with her friends. It is her main form of exercise due to her condition.

"We are gagging to go back to it. First day I'll go out of my house jumping and singing," Jennifer said.

She told James she wouldn't wear a mask even if she is told to: "I lost my eldest son in 2002, as long as my other son is safe and well, that's all I hope for."

"Don't you'd think he'd want mum around as long as humanly possible?" James asked, "why would you not take a little bit more care? Maybe wait and see what happens in other countries, or wait and see...?"

"Me dancing and singing in a swimming pool, I enjoy it. It makes me happy," Jennifer said, James questioned whether it would be worth it if it made her ill.

She said it was worth the risk: "My friends are quite happy to do it as well and we're all looking forward to it."

"And all the other people you are mixing with who are being really careful, they run the risk of being infected by you and your friends," James countered.

Boris Johnson has said the UK is past the peak but lockdown measures cannot be relaxed yet
Boris Johnson has said the UK is past the peak but lockdown measures cannot be relaxed yet. Picture: PA

"Then they shouldn't go out...you can't wear a mask in a swimming pool," Jennifer said, "bottom line, if people are really scared it's their choice. I've got to the point where I just want to sing and dance, James."

She told James that she'd been observing the rules but desperately wants to break them: "If you're a teenager and you want to break the rules, when you get to your mid-sixties it really hasn't changed...you sometimes so want to do naughty things because naughty things can be a bit exciting."

She said it was "luck more than judgement" she'd not ended up in court for her naughty behaviour growing up!

James tried a final time to persuade her, having a feeling it wouldn't work.

"If we end up with the highest death toll in the world which certainly in the context of per million in the population seems quite likely, then it'd be hard to avoid the conclusion that the people who have introduced the rules you're obeying are...far from perfect.

"So why would that not make you more cautious when the same people responsible for presiding over the worst death toll in the world, potentially, tell you that it's okay to go out again?"

Jennifer responded: "You were absolutely right in your feelings, James."

She explained that her rebellious streak was coming out and she simply enjoyed aqua aerobics - James had to concede defeat.

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