The Lockdown Diaries: Week Whatever-The-Hell-It-Is-Now, Who Even Knows Any More?
On Monday morning, a water pipe burst outside our village, and left us with just a trickle of water for over 24 hours.
In the great scheme of things, it wasn’t a huge deal. We had (just) enough water pressure to keep ourselves hydrated, and OK, Terry and I both had to go without showers, and I filled Max’s bath that night with water from the kettle, but still: worse things have happened, right? And, as we all know from our experiences on the internet, if worse things have happened – to anyone, anywhere – why, you are not allowed to complain.
So we did not complain.
(Other than in this blog post, obviously, which – SPOILER ALERT – may include some complaining. Don’t say I didn’t warn you…)
Instead, we waited. And, when the water finally came back on, early on Tuesday afternoon, I jumped into the shower (Just to make matters worse, I had discovered the loss of water pressure right after a workout, so I REALLY needed that shower…), only to find that our water-related troubles were not yet over.
The shower ran freezing cold, than scalding hot, with nothing in between. I couldn’t even stand under it for more than a second at a time, and, honestly, it felt like the last straw. Instead of just calmly getting back out and waiting another few hours for it to return to normal, I found myself screaming in outrage, and only just managing to stop myself wrenching the bloody thing off the wall in a temper. I was SO angry that, in those few seconds, all I wanted to do was BREAK something – ideally something REALLY big, that it would take a satisfyingly long time to thoroughly destroy.
You know that scene in Office Space, where they smash up the photocopier to the sound of “Damn, it feels good to be a gangsta?” That would be me. I would be the “gangsta”. The photocopier would be EVERYTHING I COULD GET MY HANDS ON, SO HELP ME GOD. And, DAMN, it would feel GOOD.
It… wasn’t really about the shower, needless to say.
No, it was about the shower AND the internet that’s gone down repeatedly this summer, plus the washing machine that kept breaking, and all of the other silly little niggling problems that have combined to make even the tiniest, most insignificant task feel difficult this year.
It was about the shortening days and the increasingly dark nights: the plummeting temperature, and the growing knowledge that Halloween, and Christmas, and all of the other things that normally help me drag myself through the saddest months of the year will be very, very different this year: if they even happen at all.
It was about the pandemic, and the lockdown, and the anxiety, and the depression, and the way that every time I upload another pretty, colourful photo to Instagram, I feel like I’m effectively lying to people, because I always look like I’m having fun in those photos, but the truth is, I have not been having any fun. Not really.
It was about pretty much every single aspect of this endless, joyless year: about how, no matter what it looks like on Instagram, all we really do these days is wait for these days to be over, so we can get some of our lives back: so we can start living again, rather than just existing. So we can feel better.
It was about 2020, in other words: and the knowledge that it’s not quite done with us yet. Sometimes it just GETS to you, though, doesn’t it?
A couple of hours after my ill-fated attempt a shower, Nicola Sturgeon announced that, from today, people in Scotland are to be banned from entering each other’s houses: a move which will once again effectively isolate people like Terry and my parents – plus the thousands like them – who are too vulnerable to meet up in pubs and restaurants (Which they are, bizarrely, still allowed to visit…), and who – along with the rest of country – are about to be plunged into the kind of weather which will make outdoor meetings less and less possible.
This time around, however, the rules are even less logical than the last time we found ourselves separated from friends and family, with the biggest difference being that Max is apparently still allowed to go into my parents’ house for “informal childcare” purposes, while Terry and I will have to remain outside, and then arrange to meet them in the pub later. (Don’t worry, we won’t…) Which is allowed. Because, for some reason it would apparently be MUCH too dangerous for us to have a socially-distanced visit with my parents at home, but totally fine for us to all go into a pub or restaurant together – something none of us have felt comfortable enough to do yet.
Similarly, we will no longer be able to visit Terry’s brother – who’s been working from home since March, and who has followed all of the social distancing rules to the letter – in either of our homes, but it would be fine for us to meet with him in a crowded public place. Yes.
I have to admit, I’m struggling to understand the apparent “logic” of all of this – and I’m REALLY struggling not to feel angry at being expected to just unquestioningly accept things that make absolutely no sense whatsoever. (I mean, if Max is still allowed to see my parents as normal, then he’ll presumably still be able to pass the virus between us all, whether Terry and I enter their house or not…)
I’m about as law-abiding and risk-averse as it gets, but even I can’t help resenting a rule which forbids me from doing something I know to be safe, while encouraging me to do do something I consider risky instead, and it’s hard not to feel like these new restrictions will just punish the people who’ve been following the guidelines anyway, while allowing those who’ve been ignoring them to carry on as they were.
But here we are: once again forbidden from entering my childhood home, and facing another six months (Which is how long we’ve been told these latest restrictions might last: buh-bye Christmas…) without one of the few things that was helping us get through this year: the very small amount of contact we were able to have with an equally small group of family or friends. It’s going to be a long, hard, lonely winter: which. … kind of sucks, really: and yes, it IS OK to admit that, even though it could be worse. Because, let’s face it: in 2020, if it COULD be worse, then it probably WILL be… won’t it?