What did I do during lockdown? Did I learn another language, take up meditation, reorganise my life? No, actually I sat on my arse and stared at a computer screen, scrolling news site after news site hoping for something better. I took my ability to put things off to a whole new level. With a chapter to write or a short story to edit, I set aside tomorrow, and couldn’t settle to a blank page without first making sure I’d dusted shelves, peeled carrots, reorganised my spice collection or washed the bedroom windows.
‘See how brilliantly this has come out,’ I said, brandishing what used to be a pickle jar at Mr Fanning. Sprayed Winter Gray and filled with dried flowers snaffled from Etsy. My creation would surely spark joy. Those were the days.
Ten months into lockdown and we’ve run out of things to say. We no longer rant and read headlines. All fight is drained. Quaint expressions like Covid Tsars, Track and Trace and I only drove to Yorkshire to test my eyes are consigned to the bin fire of recent history. Boris Johnson has copied Theresa May’s homework and passed it off as his own and dragged the country out of Europe when unity and group purchase power matters more than ever. A year ago, I’d be on a march, or demanding to talk to my local MP. Now I tut and turn the page.
I’ve lived through panic buying loo roll, tinned tomatoes and dried pasta, cut my own hair badly and refused to rattle saucepans as the NHS re-appropriated my rainbow.
Having always had an anal side (no sniggering in the cheap seats), Covid lockdown has brought out in me a new mania for cleaning products. I’ve every type of spray and pump-action refillable pouch known to man. The Fanning homestead smells of lemon, pine and honeysuckle rose. I discovered Apartment Therapy and bought into each tip and trick they sent my way. I’ve trolled Amazon for tools to clean windows, sprays to remove rust and (much to Mr Fanning’s chagrin) declared war on any item left out on a surface after use.
I’ve read many books. I tried Audible for a while, but never lasted longer than two minutes of someone’s soothing voice before losing consciousness and waking three hours later with the same voice now sixteen chapters further on. All these other stories did was make me more determined to write and finish Rebuilding Alexandra Small. And yet I still took eight months to progress from third to fourth draft.
I’ve filled many bin bags with the contents of my late Mother’s house. ‘Out with the old,’ I cried. ‘This is grief therapy.’ And then cowered out, stashing everything in a garage. I’ve made sourdough twice, a pizza once, and used hardly any of the stockpiled pasta.
With 2021 barely on solids, it’s time to pretend I’ll make changes. Eat better, get fitter, spend less, write more, buy a sous-vide and never look back. Lockdown takes away any excuse about there not being enough hours in the day. With no morning or evening commute, a kitchen on hand, and zero social life, I should be laughing.
The issue here isn’t society or corona or the Tory party. It’s me. I’m lazy at heart. The only things done half well involved giving stuff up (smoking and drinking) rather than taking on new hobbies.
But come on. A sous-vide has to be worth a shot.