When I was at school, I knew someone who got arrested for possessing weed, and as a punishment their mum grounded them for TWO YEARS. Given that we’re on week five of lockdown, I’m starting to wonder how they coped. In many ways, being on lockdown is exactly like being grounded. You can’t go anywhere fun; you are allowed out to exercise (even the strictest parents understand exercise is important); but social contact is banned. Obviously when you’re grounded in a typical scenario you don’t have the news blaring doomsday headlines, but most teenagers are so self-absorbed that being banned from going out genuinely does feel like the end of the world. Anyway, I don’t know whether it’s the amount of time, or the fact it’s gloriously sunny and we can’t make proper use of it (e.g. pub garden with all your mates and a bottle of wine), but this week has felt like the worst one yet.
When the pandemic was first unfurling, listening to the news was exciting. Obviously it was horrific and terrifying, but it all felt so surreal, like we were in some sort of apocalyptic, dystopian film. We had no idea what was going to happen next. Would the virus randomly disappear? Would we all get it? Would we go into lockdown? Would the army patrol our streets? Would we get time off work? All these questions buzzed round like a swarm of flies; it was all anyone could discuss.
But now, we know the drill. I know what’s going to happen when I wake up every day: the same thing that’s happened for the past 35 days. And it’s starting to become boring. The novelty has worn off, replaced with a mixture of guilt for all the victims, listed off as numbers in daily bulletins; appreciation for all our key workers; and nostalgia for the “good old days”. I’m starting to miss mundane things that I didn’t even enjoy before – hindsight forces you to wear rose-tinted glasses like that sometimes.
Most of all, I miss human contact. I miss my family; my friends; my boyfriend. I miss hugging. I miss dancing. I miss going to the pub. I miss going out for food (in particular getting a proper greasy burger from a certain well-known Bristol establishment). I miss work. Yeah, I know, call me a victim of capitalism but I miss going to work, checking my emails, doing reports and spreadsheets. I miss the gym. I miss going out out. I miss wearing make up, fake tanning on a Thursday, getting my hair done. I miss ordering an Uber with my gel manicure. I miss small talk.
In a few months, this will all be over, and I suspect we’ll look back on this time with the same rose-tinted spectacles that reminiscence forces us to wear. We’ll miss lie ins. We’ll miss having spare time. We’ll miss never having to commute. We’ll miss clapping at 8pm on a Thursday. We’ll miss having so much news. We’ll miss having things to talk about. We’ll miss the conspiracies. We’ll miss the social distancing in shops and on public transport. We’ll miss the quietness. We’ll miss baking sourdough and banana bread. We’ll miss showering in the middle of the day. We’ll miss House Party and Zoom calls. We’ll miss working from home. Such is the futility of human existence; we are never satisfied with what we have.
But for now, let’s just all come together and universally accept that week five of lockdown is, and I cannot stress this enough, bloody awful.