Darling columnist Kate Greenhalgh weighs up the pros and cons of post-lockdown life and the reality of how we’re doing now that we are, finally, allowed to venture outside.
This time last year I wrote about the buildup to my daughter’s wedding. In hindsight, I was having a tiny bit of a nervous breakdown. You only find yourself filling 200 paper cones with sun-dried rose petals from Shropshire at 2 o’clock in the morning after your sanity has temporarily departed. Anyway, only three daughters to go. But just as sanity returned, THIS happened! I mean 2020 happened. Oh boy, had we not seen nothing yet in terms of losing the plot.
Actually, I didn’t lose the plot during those 100 days of quarantine. Because I never had one in the first place. Did you? One minute, minding my own business – next, told to stay at home or die. This did not present itself as much of a dilemma to most people, myself included. You had to be somebody who had to leave home for work – but we kind of skated over that, didn’t we?
At the time, it was refreshingly simple. After all that Brexit agonising over hard or soft borders, Norway Plus and Meaningless Votes – just stay at home. Think about life. And about death, who rudely reminded us is a thing. We maybe got into an eventual bind over statues and gender towards the end of the 100 days because, without Brexit, we missed chasing logical arguments ad absurdum as a national pastime. (But don’t worry – Brexit never really goes away.)
I’d like to say I was like a caged lioness as the days ticked by, raring to roam the grasslands of Oxford Street once again, but actually I was more like one of those budgies with Stockholm Syndrome, who stay in their cage even when the door is left open. What more do you want? A diet of amusing memes on WhatsApp, a freezer full of Magnum ice creams, not a flicker of FOMO (but the opposite – JOMO – Joy of Missing Out) and frankly, when Glastonbury weekend proved a bit damp and chilly, cosy relief that it was cancelled anyway.
Looking ahead (if we must), what preoccupies my thoughts about the remainder of 2020 is as follows: in what way can I use the pandemic as an excuse to massively scale down Christmas; in what way can I use the pandemic as an excuse never to have Shellac again; in what way can I use the pandemic to convince any more daughters of the marrying kind to have a woodland picnic for six people maximum; in what way can I use the pandemic to be a bit less narcissistically aggrieved about my own mortality?
And finally, in what way can I use the pandemic as an excuse for not really knowing what to write about this time?
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