"I did something stupid. I'm really sorry." This was the reproachful plea from author Neil Gaiman this week, in response to the barrage of ire he was subjected to for flying from New Zealand to the Scottish island of Skye.
For sanctimonious finger-waggers - the sort of curtain-twitchers who, during peak lockdown, delighted in reporting their neighbours for taking their dog outside twice a day - it was like Christmas come early.
"The very essence of privilege," one tweeted in response. "A very, very bad thing to do which has brought danger to everyone on the island. For shame, Neil, for shame."
Before I go on to argue what an absurd response this is, some context.
The Good Omens author, who has lived in Skye since 2017, was on holiday with his family in New Zealand when coronavirus struck. This was three weeks ago. "I was panicked, more than a little overwhelmed and stuck," he explained on his blog. "I went to the UK government website trying to figure out what to do."
The FCO's guidance read: "If you live in the UK and are currently travelling abroad, you are strongly advised to return now, where and while there are still commercial routes available."
So what did Gaiman do? "I waited until New Zealand was done with its strict lockdown, and took the first flight out. When I landed the whole of the UK was under lockdown rules. I drove directly to my home in the UK, which is on Skye. I came straight here, and I've been in isolation here ever since."
Gaiman then acknowledged that his mistake lay in the fact that he risked putting strain - should he fall ill - on a local healthcare system that was already under pressure due to the Covid-19 outbreak. There had been ten deaths in a local care home, he said. "All the local resources are needed to look after the local community; so, yes. I made a mistake."
In reality, Gaiman's choice was not illegal and not high-risk. But there will be much more of this to come as the world edges out of lockdown; a clash between ardent members of the principle police and those with basic common sense. Gaiman has found himself the first sacrificial lamb.
It's been months since the eco-warriors have been able to scold people who board planes, and they'll be back soon enough. But the next iteration of flight shaming will also, as the aforementioned grumpy tweet mentioned, probably concern 'privilege' more head-on.
Looking back to the start of lockdown, there was widespread condemnation for those who made a dash out of London to their second homes, to spend these months in the countryside. Never mind that a) these people presented a much lower risk in terms of transmitting the virus from an isolated cottage than they would from a block of flats in the city; b) that they have been contributing to the local economies in supporting small businesses like farmers markets and food delivery providers; and c) even at the peak of the pandemic, there were no reports of sick urban escapees overwhelming regional hospitals.
Going forward, I predict more of the same. For example, resentment aimed at those with the means to travel before those without; professionals who can self-isolate for 14 days upon their return to the UK and will therefore be able to take a holiday ahead of workers who can't do their jobs from home.
This proposed quarantine will, I suspect, be woefully impractical but that's a different debate. The tourism industry badly needs cash to start rolling in again, both here and abroad, and the sooner that can happen the better - regardless of where it comes from.
Such tensions are only going to increase as countries lift travel restrictions on different timelines. Italy, Europe's initial epicentre, is reopening its borders on June 3. Slovenia has already started. The UK still advises against all but essential travel - and people will be wrestling with that definition, particularly those who've already had the virus. Again, through this confusing transition, we're going to have to use common sense, not bring out the pitchforks.
It is possible, of course, that Boris Johnsons' consistently vague approach to the rules throughout this pandemic has been deliberate; to present wishy-washy guidelines which allow citizens (and struggling businesses) the freedom to exercise their own discretion to at least some extent.
For the most part, I'm pleasantly surprised by how compliant Britons have been thus far, given how much this lockdown has cost them mentally, physically and financially; and I have trust going forward that this majority will continue to vastly outnumber reckless 'covidiots'.
Gaiman, from the isolation of his Scottish bolthole, signed off his apologetic blog thus: "This is the most foolish thing I've done in quite a while." The man must have the track record of an absolute saint.
Either we emerge from this crisis with relief, community spirit, and a sense of perspective; or more snippish and tribal than we were before. I do hope it's the former, for everyone's sake.
The Telegraph, London