Lockdown: Day 0 of however long it takes

Toilet roll situation: Just started the new roll. Did a stock take and turns out I only have 20 left, not 36. Looks like I am currently using just over 1 roll per week. This felt weirdly more than normal, but then I realised that I usually spend 50+ hours a week not in my home. Still, should have enough loo roll to get me through at least another 4 months. 

Pasta stocks: Considering eating pasta tomorrow just so I can have less pasta. 

Human contact: 

Just had a video call with three good friends from work, for our new weekly pub quiz! This involves us video calling from our respective abodes and pretending that talking online is the same as actually getting to socialise together.

Some good aspects to COVID, here, in that the last four times we’ve tried to all meet up to properly hang out (not see each other briefly at work), we have cancelled due to conflicting schedules. Well, goodbye schedules! We are each going to do a round each week. Unfortunately, we only got through ‘General Knowledge’ (spoiler: none of us have any general knowledge. Friend-who-traded-me-pasta-for-kidney-beans decimated me & friend-who-got-the-cough-the-day-before-me by getting 50% correct), before we had an interlude to watch BJs (Boris Johnson’s) address. We did place bets on the content of the speech, but even though my predictions of ‘he’s going to say loads of people are going to die’ and ‘will actually define what non-essential contact is, like only going to the shop once a week’ was correct, it sort of killed the pub quiz vibe, so we stopped playing after that.

Also, Whatsapp, but no other human contact. Was feeling really crappy today after bad night’s sleep, so old feelings of hatred/anxiety over phone calls and video chats re-emerged. Want to hand in millenial badge and fully embrace the phone call, but this is too ingrained in my psyche!

For example, booked the meal out with Yorkshire-Sister a long time ago (the one that might have given her coronavirus) but for some reason I couldn’t pay the initial fee bit while booking it, but they wanted me to CALL THEM to pay! CALL THEM???? So, I didn’t. Intended to do it in the future. They called me and I didn’t pick up because I didn’t recognise the number and I am not certifably insane (for me the only valid reason to answer a phone call from an UNKNOWN NUMBER???). They left me a voicemail asking me to give them a ring back and pay, but I needed to work myself up for it. They rang me again. This time I did recognise the number, but I also really wasn’t in the right headspace for a phone call. The right headspace is like the top ninety-ninth percentile of my general wellbeing. If I aint there, I aint talking on the phone.

(There are exceptions. These are, largely, my parents or members of my family. Will accept phone calls from very good friends if they have told me that they are going to ring me in advance, or in absolute crisis situations. Or, you know, self isolation). 

This cycle repeated around four times. Then they emailed me and said that they’d cancelled my booking because I hadn’t paid. Emailed them for their BACS details and had sorted it out and paid within twenty minutes — no phone call necessary. If they’d just done that in the place, we’d have been golden.  

It’s not just restaurants. Director pulled me into a meeting with another company a few months back and I’d sent him a text to ask him what he wanted from me/ to prepare etc. He called me back instantly and I panicked and didn’t answer, despite the fact that:

  1. I knew what he was calling about
  2. What he was calling about was directly beneficial to me
  3. Actually wanted to speak to him about the issue at hand
  4. I know him and we’ve worked together enough that a phone call REALLY should be fine. 

Had to sheepishly call back a few minutes later, after I had sternly told myself the above four points.

I have the kind of relationship with phone calls where I considered it to be extreme character development that once upon a time I called Dominos because I accidentally ordered my pizza with extra mushrooms rather than no mushrooms. This was not character development: this was hardcore hatred of mushrooms. 

(This is all kind of ironic and a bit weird considering I spent, like, three or so years working as an over-the-phone debt counsellor, where my job was literally to talk to people on the phone, and I really loved that job. Anyway).

Point is, didn’t really feel up to talking to people much over the phone, so spent a lot of the time texting etc instead. 

Mum’s top tip of the day:

“Autumn is just going to have to adjust like everyone else.”

Autumn is my sister’s cat. As ever, my mother is not wrong.


Usually aim for levity with these things, because I find humour and laughing at myself to be the way to enjoy small things about the tsunami of chaos that is life, but, to be honest, I’m not really feeling very light hearted at the moment. Nothing BJ said in his address felt surprising or unreasonable, but yet still somehow feels like a shock. 

Obviously, it’s the right thing to do. But. 

The raw, gritty truth of it is that I am good at being on my own, but I don’t know if I am that good at being on my own and it’s scary and it makes the forthcoming loneliness feel like a physical pressure. 

Housemate is probably not going to be coming home any time soon for various reasons (none of which are to do with #HerbGate and, Grace, if you’re reading, I did buy some more turmeric. Should be some by the time you get home).  This means that I will be spending lockdown in the house on my own.

And, you know, I like living alone. I’ve lived alone for the better part of the last three years and wasn’t really in the market for changing that. Housemate was supposed to stay for a few weeks but it turns out that I love having her here. She’s funny and fun and she organised the tupperware so that it’s all arranged by size with matching lids and we play Mariokart and avoid each other when either of us are Hangry. I’d hoped that, when lockdown happened, we could do it together and probably drive each other slightly crazy, but also have dance parties and watch Derry Girls and invent games like ‘Whose Neck is it Anyway’ (you have to…. Guess who it is by the picture of their neck. It’s pretty self explanatory. Also, housemate is VERY good at it). Plus, there are other great things about there being other human beings that you’re allowed to be physically close to, like hugs. 

Grace is a fan of surprise-hug-attacks. By which I mean I am sat on the sofa minding my own business and she launches herself at me and yells ‘hug attack’ and, about twenty five percent of the time, accidentally punches me in the face in the process.

I already really really want an accidental-punch-in-the-face-hug right now.

(The funny thing is, if she did this in public right now this would probably surmount to chemical warfare) 

It will be okay. Like Autumn the cat, we will have to learn to adjust.

Was chatting to friend earlier. She asked if I wanted to come stay because she knows I’m on my own and they have a spare room. This is really lovely of her, but doesn’t feel like the right move. We chatted some more about being scared and a bit gutted,  as both of us are single and won’t be able to see our family for a while. It’s a different kind of experience to being on lockdown with your parents or your spouse and/or your kids which, don’t get me wrong, is hard freaking work, and in a some ways I probably am glad that I’m doing it solo…. but. In a load of other ways I am not. We were both having a little ( a lot of) a cry, and she said that she was blowing her nose on her socks, because it was the nearest thing to hand.

I don’t know, folks. The lengths people will go to to preserve toilet roll these days

Today’s top 5 benefits of Lockdown

  1. I’d completely slacked on my responsibility of providing my quiz round on ‘Sports’ so was trying to do this while BJ was talking. Had volunteered to do sports because I thought it was funny because I know nothing about sports, but was finding creating quizzes difficult because… I know nothing about sports . Now none of us are allowed to visit our family, everyone forgot about my crap quiz. Harrah!
  2. Unclear yet whether the foodbank I volunteer at counts as ‘essential’. Feels like it does, as more people than ever need food parcels with all the big scary changes that are happening and I think it’s the only one in my city staying open. This means that I get to feel like a heroine from a YA novel, risking severe penalties (such as fines) to date sort tinned all-day-breakfast-in-a-tin and throw out the large quantities of out of date food that people donate so they feel less bad about throwing it away (look, we can’t give it out your tinned borlloti beans you bought a decade ago. Throw em away). Work for a Debt Counselling charity, so in a technical sense my day job is also to fight against social injustice and what not, but feels a bit more Robin Hood if I have to sneak out of my house to do it.
  3. Always in when you have deliveries, so don’t ever have to have that moment where you take your food box out of your bin because it has been declared as today’s ‘safe space’
  4. Exercise has officially been limited to once per day! Am going to count mine as pull ups. AKA. Pulling my fat ass out of bed in the morning.
  5. Appears that pandemics are the kind of thing that stop politicians arguing among themselves to work out an actual answer, given that Labour have supported the new measures. Would have been nice if they could have done that for Brexit, but….


Today’s top 5 pitfalls of lockdown

  1. No end point, which is scary. Only have enough toilet paper for 4 months, after all. What do I do then?? Use Housemate’s toilet roll? 
  2. Was trying to cure phone addiction but feels more challenging when I need it to contact literally anyone. Have redownloaded Facebook app on my phone. Don’t really want this, but given my checking once a day on a browser had changed to having a browser open constantly, it seemed somewhat pointless not to have the app.
  3. If I kill my plants, definitely cannot use ‘was too busy’ as an excuse.
  4. Generally have to face up to truth if which things I say ‘I am too busy to do’ I am just actually too damn lazy to do; suspect list will be long. Not sure am ready to face up to reality of my own state of CBA. 
  5. When this first started kicking off, this really inspired me to play Theme Hospital. After thoroughly being told off by BJ, am now feeling stirring of guilt over my initial gut reaction. Also, in Theme Hospital I’m super good at containing epidemics before the health minister finds out and fines me and in real life it all seems a Lot More Complicated. ‘Warning! Epidemic alert!’ ‘We apologize for the amount of litter.’ ‘Incoming patients with slack tongue.’ ‘Hospital administrator is cheating!’ What a game. (And I cheat on the political basis that I don’t believe hospitals should be for profit, ergo their financial criteria is against my political beliefs). 

That being said, both Lego & Garden look great.

“Autumn is just going to have to adjust like everyone else.”

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