I’m in bed with classic cold symptoms, none of which match the more sinister ones we’ve been told to look out for. Doesn’t matter though, in my head I’ve got coronavirus. Everyone with hiccups, eczema, a hangover – I’m sure we’re all the same, wondering if this is it, the cold finger of Covid-19 tapping you on the shoulder and escorting you into quarantine, possibly forever. I never normally get ill either, 20 years of freelancing literally puts a price on being poorly so I tend to ignore it or blindly drink my way through it.
But my role has changed. As the one in the house with the dodgiest life raft (freelance writer – such a mistake), three weekdays for the foreseeable future I’ll be shooting for an approximation of “teacher” to sit alongside my tracing paper version of “dad” – hence I’m in bed trying to shake off my malaise because come Monday there’s a big fuck off mountain to climb. What a wonky world we live in, where we’re tasked with keeping beautiful young minds nourished while secretly shitting ourselves about the future. Okay, sit down kids. Lesson One: we’re just ants under a giant Doc Marten boot, and now we know it. Anyway, here are some other fun observations from my first week in vague isolation…
We’re all going to emerge looking insane – it took me two days to go full “loungewear”, on Day 3 I stopped caring about my hair. A few more weeks of this, and there will be pubic mountains to rival Everest.
There’s definitely such a thing a too much information – I like those balcony sing-songs they’re having in Italy. Definitely beats stoking the coals of uncertainty and anxiety by repeatedly looping around different news sites to scare the shit out of yourself.
I’m basically related to Rocky – like Stallone, my dad is twisting bandages around his knuckles, popping on a silk kimono with his name on the shoulders, and climbing back into the ring, but as a doctor. He’s coming out of retirement to save the planet and I’ve never felt prouder, even though it could be the most reckless thing anyone has ever done. And that includes the time Maverick flew around the control tower at full pelt.
There must be a mass existential thing going on – we’re getting leaflets through the door offering to pick up groceries for the needy, tentative strolls around the park are full of warm greetings at a self-consciously digestible distance. There’s a growing sense of community that probably hasn’t been there since we all stopped going to stupid church on a Sunday morning. The proof of the pudding will be whether we can keep it all going once the threat of mass wipeout has been, um, wiped out.
You can turn WhatsApp into a pub – four of you on a video call drinking hard liquor in your kitchen/living room/under-stairs cupboard. This could be it for the whole hospitality industry.