Day one of “lockdown” – new-fangled apocalypse speak conjuring images of bolted bunkers surrounded by firearms and at least five packs of cigarettes. You’ve already got a bandana tied around your head like 1980s Springsteen. Unfortunately, it’s nothing like that, it’s basically just the old adage about a month of Sundays made true. A restless energy, the looming threat of someone suggesting a board game, heightened tension, an inner debate on whether it’s okay to start drinking or not. On account of a couple of dodgy coughs, we thought we’d beat the inevitable school closure and hoik our two out to “self-isolate” for a couple of long, restless weeks. Here’s what I’ve learned so far…
Everyone’s a bit frightened. And really so they should be. An invisible monster that goes from person to person without you knowing for sure. You’ve seen The Thing. And if you haven’t seen The Thing, watch The Thing. It’s all about a thing. Just watch it, you’ll see what I mean.
Is the biggest threat to society going to be when everyone becomes completely demotivated? Because there’s nothing like a global sickness to get you questioning whether your job is actually that important. Do you really want to spend your final days with people who say “end of play”? The KPIs for this particular apocalypse suggest probably not.
It’s only Day One and my five-year old son is bouncing off the walls. He’s going to go one of two ways. Either Dennis Hopper in Blue Velvet or Don Logan in Sexy Beast.
There’s an underlying optimism that I hope is real. After a polarising few years for one reason or another, there’s a sense that a rampant virus will ultimately, and ironically, pull people together. Reinvigorate a sense of community spirit, expose our need for fellowship through isolation. Already I’ve told people I’d usually politely ignore to “keep safe”, which at any other time might have sounded like I was secretly planning to murder them.
It’s lucky there’s not a Buy It Now button on Zoopla. It’s not unusual for me to spend my downtime flicking through cheap houses in the middle of nowhere that I could actually afford. Perhaps the coronavirus will finally see me going full Mosquito Coast on your ass.
As a freelancer, things are looking very iffy. I’ve always said that the last thing you really are as a freelancer is free (or a lance) – it’s not so much a case of not having a boss, as the entire world being your boss. In the freelance community (another contradiction in terms) there’s already a palpable sense that, like a bath with the plug out, work will soon be drying up. No matter how amazing at similes you are.