Corona diaries

I've kept some notes from the beginning of the pandemic in the hope of being the Samuel Pepys of our time (just less more annoying?).

25th April

Another thing I've done in quarantine is faffing with food. I've made granola with Perch. Baked enough biscuits for a month. Got very enthusiastic about preventing food waste and ruined leftover carrots in two ways: made burnt carrots and inedible carrot bircher oats.

24th April

My sister's workplace demands communal fun after work and she has gotten into trouble for switching her camera off and pretending to participate. Other excellent ways of coping that I've seen:

  1. Recording a background video of your face listening intently and playing it in a meeting whilst you do other stuff.
  2. Pairing up with a trusted colleague and putting a meeting lasting a couple of hours in each other's Outlook diaries. You can probably get away with doing this often.

This is all theoretical since I have no work at the moment.

23rd April

Lockdown cleaning is peaking. I have even sorted through the books by subject. Gave prime shelf space to English Lit, Linguistics, Drama and Poetry. History and politics have gone to less desirable shelves. Humour and gardening have been consigned to the hell that is the floor-height shelf. Fuck humour (since I don't understand it).

22rd April

Rage is not healthy. TIL that I need to get off forums, chat servers and other social media. Anonymity makes people (me included) behave with less consideration, and it paints a rather negative picture of humanity. Then someone pushes past me at a grocery store and a well-known quote of Sartre comes to mind. So there, I'm starting steps towards eliminating unnecessary social media and now I will live in a cave.

21th April

I've learned that in quarantine I can do things with a needle. I shortened and hemmed the curtains. Performed amputation and surgery on a glittery pink unicorn (found it on the street in Haringey a couple of years ago, mauled by a dog). Now I shall repair the rips in my coat lining and make the spare curtain fabric into cleaning cloths. Or or or I can MAKE clothes. Maybe. Out of pillowcases.

20th April

The grocery shops have a one-person-per-household rule. Which works great for people with cars, but we already struggle to carry enough food for two adults and two cats home. It's a 20-minute walk. So now to have enough food for a week we have to get around the rule by splitting the shopping list and going to different stores. Which kind of increases the chances of infection. Argh.

19th April

Perch left my bike chained outside a pub. With a lock the thickness of a finger. The combination for which is 1234. I had to run and get it. On my way back, I was radiating junkie chic with my greasy hair and the flat tires doing schlup-schlup. Neither of us was in the best of moods.

18th April

You know what I will do this quarantine? I will learn some HTML and read lots of Wikipedia articles about things I don't understand. Watch out, thermodynamics.

17th April

Getting lots of e-mails from friends. Normally I have maybe 2-3 friends who actually like e-mailing and the rest will write every 6 months or so, but it's clearly boring at home these days. Real letter writing is suffering, though. I had to scan and e-mail a letter to my penpal, which just doesn't feel the same *sigh*.

16th April

One consequence of quarantine is that I am doing a little bit of writing. Thus breaking with tradition of talking about writing and not actually doing any. I had a small piece of flash fiction printed in a Lithuanian magazine and a short story published in a new digital magazine. Mother indicated that she's proud so I might be off the hook as far as life achievements go. Also working on an illustrated book of gazelle stories with my mother, which will be ready sometime in 2054.

9th April

I've been sleeping badly. The usual nightmares aside, I wake up as if I'm in the middle of REM sleep, feeling knackered and hungover. Perch is also sleeping badly.

8th April

Went to get groceries. It was hard, but not quite as hard as it was for the many old people and a blind person that I saw there. These people should be given deliveries and state support. Also heard from someone that her lettings agency are 'unfortunately unable to temporarily reduce her rent as they are prioritising the vulnerable commercial tenants'. I am suffering from bouts of rage, but my wonderful neighbours have added ukulele to their repertoire and it helps immensely.

7th April

Boris Johnson is in the ICU. It would be in bad taste to hope he dies. Would it be ok to hope he doesn't live?

6th April

I am watching Ken Loach and reading Sylvia Plath’s journals. Now all that’s required is some laudanum and a frilly handkerchief. IT WILL NEVER GET BETTER.

5th April

The neighbours on the right have added saxophone to their repertoire. I’m starting to really like them.

3rd April

Went to the shop. A girl was chewing on crisps and licking the window glass. She was outside and I was inside. ‘Sunshine, I hope you don’t die’, - I said.

1st April

Lent some money to I. who’s keeping it together. Got a job just before the pandemic, and now poof. Two kids and a small zoo to feed, it’s no joke.

31st March

A lot of creative stuff will come out of this quarantine. Neighbours on the right are playing what sounds like pan flutes and keyboards. Neighbours on the left are playing their baby.

30th March

Called my friend Rose. She thinks Corona is overblown, probably for some nefarious reason. But she’s good. I’ve been getting in touch with various people to see if they are doing alright. Because if someone’s not alright I will be able to help them not at all.

29th March

The Guardian says there might be a shortage of fruit and vegetables. I fully expect we’ll be on a cabbage and apple diet soon. It’s fortunate that the two go together well.

28th March

Grandma’s test came back negative. She fine.

27th March

We went for groceries. This is how:

Then we’re in a car park, Perch pulls out an electronic cigarette, stuffs it in his mouth and I have a small breakdown.

26th March

Spoke to sister, apparently mother drove grandma to get tested for Corona. She built a plastic (clingfilm?) barrier between the back and front seats of the car, and bundled grandma in the back.

25th March

Grandma is coughing, but it’s a wet cough so probably flu/lung infection rather than Corona.

21st March

Woke up early to get groceries when the store opens. The queue outside was insane. A Spanish student kept coughing and laughing, and the rest of us looked at her disapprovingly.

15th March

A nervous 12-hour trip home. Brussels airport was half empty, with many shops closed. I walked through completely empty gates and unattended computer screens, and imagined I was in the Walking Dead. Once landed, took a train back to the city. A Jamaican guy said to another: “the man don’t get it”. Saw a guy use his knuckle to operate an elevator, took the tip. Around 9.30pm at the train station, I saw three women say goodbye by touching elbows.

14th March

The government announced border closures on TV, effective the following midnight. I had a whiskey sat in front of the TV with my laptop, looking for plane tickets back. Prices were through the roof. Managed to buy an overpriced ticket for a trip via Brussels.

8th March

Some doubts as to whether I should go to the Women’s Day protest. I went and it was great. I played a frying pan.

16th February

My sister and her boyfriend bought 72 litres of water on Amazon 'in case chaos breaks out'. The next day: 'I think we overreacted a bit'.