So, this is what lockup feels like. I’m using the word literally as an opposite to lockdown, but as you can see it doesn’t really look like a step in the right direction. Unlock? Breakout? Call it what you want but we’re finally starting to get back a few of the little freedoms that punctuated our lives until a Chinese bat aficionado decided to put an end to all our fun. There are (I guess) two types of lockdown people: those who hated it and those who didn’t mind. I can’t imagine anyone enjoying it more than their normal life because even the most reclusive must at least have appreciated that they could have done things should they have wanted to. Personally I’ve got used to it really in a moaning kind of way, but I’ll be glad to get back into a rhythm next week as I resume my day job as second from the left in a Caribbean steel drum Bar Mitzvah band. We’re called The Four Skins and Covid 19 has not been kind to us.
The greatest toll all this sitting around has taken is on my body. I’ve missed being on the brink of thinking that if I tried hard that one day I might have the faint outline of a six pack and arm muscles slightly more convincing that Olive Oil’s. I wouldn’t say I have a gut now but nor would I say I haven’t not got one. The gym is needed for these areas but that won’t happen until everything else is open. I promised myself I would try to be good elsewhere but it hasn’t totally worked out. I’m looking forward to having a reason not to have a drink most nights and I’m fairly sure that my cheese, salami, crisp, toast and ice cream consumption will drop away quite quickly, if not necessarily plummet. I’ve smoked more too, and that is never the wisest way to be.
I can’t speak for you but I’m already getting resentful seeing more cars on the road and more people on the street. It seems unfair that perfectly sensible citizens like myself have to go back to mingling with selfish arseholes that they don’t know and don’t wish to know. It is painfully clear that over time people have become so mentally derelict that they cannot even try to imagine what 2 metres looks like and so it seems almost pointless even trying to keep such a distance. I don’t want to jump into bushes or hold my breath every time someone walks past and it vexes me that it is almost always me, as if everyone else has some kind of a virus death wish or a very cavalier attitude to shortness of breath. And it will only get worse as the summer builds up and people go back to shouting at each other in parks (if this isn’t summer already, it’s starting to look very dry out there) and men decide it’s fine to walk around with no top on: I would do the same but the colour and consistency of my upper body flesh at the moment would most likely dazzle and nauseate at the same time.
Soon we’ll be able to go to normal shops again and oh, aren’t we the lucky ones because we all know what a fucking treat supermarket shopping has been. Miserable, petrified pensioners moaning away about their priority status and grumble-fucking at every healthy person that slinks past them in the bread aisle. Dicks in facemasks being double smug because they have a face mask and they know you can’t tell if they’re being smug in the first place. Finishing your weekly shop, getting home and then remembering the one thing you kept on reminding yourself of until you got distracted by the fact there was flour. Wiping down everything all the time until you actually reach the point where you might actually rather die than go through the tedium of it all. Boredom is a powerful enemy.
School’s will reopen, kind of, and in a way that will benefit a few but not a lot. It all seems so random in its thinking and clearly the government have spend a grand total of no minutes consulting anyone who might actually know something about education and the needs of children. Not that I would know either. And then it will be zoos and The National Trust and dentists and hairdressers and sport will begin to crank up again and everyone will rush to do everything they haven’t been able to do and quite why they’re so desperate is anybody’s guess because we haven’t been living in a nuclear bunker for 3 years; we’ve been committed to a quite loose version of a lockdown since the middle of March. It really hasn’t been that long.
I’ll look forward to a meal in a restaurant but not until it’s totally back to normal and there’s some atmosphere. I’ll look forward to the gym but not with half the machines switched off and a hunch-backed Malaysian following people around with a mop and a barrel of disinfectant in case a wayward drop of sweat infiltrates the fog of hygiene. I’ll look forward to walking into a shop without spending 20 minutes in a pitiful, shuffling queue and I’ll look forward to getting my eyes checked and my teeth cleaned because I meant to sort all that before the lockdown and now it’s getting a bit silly. But most of all I’ll look forward to getting back into things – down to the pub or into London with Wifey, into work to see my fellow steel drum chums and off and about to catch up with the rest of my close chums (it won’t take long) and confirm that everything is just the same as it ever was. And that’s it – I’m not that bothered what happens really because, and this will sound very mushy but it’s true, as long as I have Wifey and Hairy Mary and all the chums I had before then everything will be fine and we can all carry on having a laugh. And laughter beats boredom any day.
G B Hewitt. 29.06.2020