With lockdown coming to an end, get ready for ‘the new normal’ – a return to the status quo. But what does normal look and sound like? I’m worried I’ve lost any ability to talk to other people.
My boss called and said she was just thinking of me. I replied how I hoped I was wearing trousers, and yes, there was an awkward silence. So, I thought it might help to explain things:
“What I meant is I hope I was wearing trousers when you were thinking about me. I wasn’t naked. Or wearing just my pants. Not that I’m saying that’s how you think of me. It might be, And anyway if you do that’s OK, because thinking isn’t doing, and I’m also not calling you physically repugnant or a sex pest, but you know how rumours start…”
I could have just said hello.
I had another call this week. My bank. Calling to check a few purchases and make sure they were legit.I agreed, thinking how that sounded like a great service.
The bitch led with £11 at Giani’s Gelato.
“My husband and I had a fight,” I said. “I’m a comfort eater.”
“Eleven pounds at Ron’s Paella Parlour and Mini Mart.”
“He does a great full bodied red.”
“11.50 to Only Fans. £5.99 Grindr premium upgrade.”
“OK,” I cry. “We both get where this is heading. I had a fight with my husband, comfort ate, comfort drank, accessed porn and had sex with a stranger.”
Obviously, I didn’t have sex. The guy send me an emoji as his opening line. What’s that supposed to mean? He’s happy, he’s sad, he likes aubergines? They’re a tough vegetable to love. Once you get past mousaka, their scope is limited. And who eats mousaka in the summer? The Greeks, maybe, but it’s more summer than winter there, so they have no choice.
How do you make up after a fight? Hallmark probably does a card, or if you’re supremely lazy and want to deliver a huge dose of fuck you with that apology, there’s Moonpig. Nothing says ‘I secretly don’t like you‘ like a Moonpig greeting. It takes so long to find the right card. Hallmark doesn’t go big on “Sorry you were a thoughtless pig who should consider how long it took me to make that bread before you called it heavy going“.
I always settle on blank for special messages, then I’m stumped. The bar is already set too high. Just how special is my message, anyway? What if it isn’t special enough? Should I use big words, attempt a haiku?
As a writer (and occasional comic), I worry about being cancelled. Not that there’s much of me to cancel. I have the social media footprint of a handbag dog. Something small and yappy that would have your leg off as soon as look at you. Like Carrie Johnson-Symonds.
The Internet is great if you need psychological help, but have made a conscious decision not to get any. Twitter is fun because you get to post stuff like, “Ducks are good” and someone in your mentions will go, “Um, I’m sorry but my brother is married to a duck scientist and this is a harmful view” and then someone else pops up going, “Your silence about horses is extremely telling.”
I have two settings: worried for the world and craving cheese. As the sort of person who’d take a broad spectrum antibiotic as his desert island disc luxury item, I struggle to relax. I horde bags for life, figuring the more I have, the longer I’ll live, and never go to bed with the house untidy. Just in case I die in my sleep. The very thought that I might post something online and give offence has me terrified.
If I had a pound for every bad decision I’ve made, I’d buy a diamond collar for my alpaca goat.