Well, things are undoubtedly easier: I can go out for a meal if I want to, I can go to the pub (I could, but I can’t be arsed), I can go back to the gym, panic-buying is over, and you can kind of see people again – within limits. Hoorah! Life truly has regained some of its normality. Things really have relaxed a fair bit since lockdown began, but a second wave could easily strip us of our new-found liberties. Like pretty much all of you, I can’t wait for this pandemic to be a thing of the past. It just hasn’t been a great year for many of us. Look, people died, businesses went under, people lost their jobs. But in a more trivial vein (you know me), I’ve got to say there is so much – barring a second wave, of course – I am going to be glad to see the back of.
1: Home Haircuts
On the very day the hairdressers opened, I was the first client in that swivel chair. No really, I was. 9am Saturday 4th of July – I had my appointment – first in the door. My roots were looking pretty darn bad; I hoped the grey streaks resembled blonde highlights, but I don’t think they did. But at least I could throw my hair up in a ponytail and pretty much tough it out. Not so for men. My husband cajoled me into cutting his hair mid-lockdown. I didn’t want to do it. I expressed that I didn’t want to do it. I knew the pernickety and exacting type of person my husband was, so I particularly didn’t want to do it. But his hair was crazily growing out at all angles…and I was forced to reluctantly relent. That was a mistake. My husband has a bit of a ‘backseat driver’ mentality at the best of times, so I knew when the vein in his temple began to throb and his left eye began to twitch that the experience was not going to be a pleasant one. Let’s just say he whinged and snapped the whole way through. ‘You’re not pressing the clippers hard enough against my scalp!’ (whilst using the clippers on grade 3), ‘you’ve cut it too short!’ (during the scissor blending for a short back and sides), ‘that’s not how my hairdresser does it!’ (every five bloody seconds for the entirety of the miserable sodding experience). Well, I’m not and never did say I was a hairdresser. Okay, I’ll be honest, it wasn’t a great haircut. If I said, ‘Hitler Youth’ it might give you a fairly good description of the result. But in my defence, no money changed hands, and I feel I did him a favour – out of the kindness of my heart. So, he doesn’t get the right to complain, wouldn’t you agree? Anyway, he shot himself in the foot because I refused to do it again. Unfortunately, he has got the taste for ‘free’ haircuts, so has cajoled my daughter into doing subsequent ones. God help her.
2: Face Masks
This isn’t over, and I’m not entirely sure it ever will be. I truly didn’t appreciate how lucky I was in the past to just pop in and out of a supermarket without having to check if I had a mask in the car or my bag or not. I mean, things are better; you used to pull up in the supermarket car park only to find twenty-five people waiting outside the shop in front of you. And it’s not like that anymore – thank God. But I have to wear a mask much of the day seeing patients at work as it is (I had to ditch the visor because I couldn’t see well enough to take blood or give vaccinations – the plastic really distorted my vision and something had to give). And to legally be required to wear a mask in shops, steaming up your glasses and heating up your face, is just a pain in the arse. Okay, I accept it and we all must do it – but I’ve every right to despise it. And I won’t miss the experience when it’s gone – please God one day it’s gone…
I mean, it was a lifeline when we had nothing else. I did the odd virtual quiz, one or two training days, and tonnes of virtual workout classes. Zoom was the only way our choir could continue to meet at all, but the horrible delay when you’re trying to achieve close harmony is such a pain. You can only hear yourself singing and the piano backing disappears and you’re all out of time. Ugh. It doesn’t work, it just doesn’t – but it was all we had. Fingers crossed our choir will be allowed to meet in person by September. I’m sorry, but I won’t miss Zoom.
4: Animal Crossing
Just as lockdown began, both my children prepared themselves for the enforced isolation by purchasing a Switch Light and Animal Crossing to play on it. I will give them both credit before my tirade: My eldest worked hard from home before having to return to work a few weeks back, and my youngest stuck to her school hours like a slave before school holidays commenced. But in their free time…all they wanted to do was play Animal Crossing. And talk about the lands they were creating in Animal Crossing. And tell me about Animal Crossing. And expect me to feign enthusiasm about Animal Crossing. You won’t be surprised to hear I have no interest in Animal Crossing – or any other game for that matter. Their AC fixation has calmed down a little in recent weeks, though. Hallelujah! I sure won’t miss that.
5: Social Media Curtain Twitchers
Ugh. You must know who I mean (not you, you would never do this). Those busybodies that call you out in your posts for standing a millimetre closer to a friend than the guideline two metres. The ones that judge you on the quality of your PPE. The ones that force you to write, ‘just out for a socially distanced walk’ in your status to avoid criticism (if I never have to use the phrase ‘socially distanced’ again in my life, it will be too soon). Those ‘curtain twitchers’ are usually on Facebook – so much so I had to take myself off Facebook for a while; you know how it gets on there – elections, Brexit, the opening of a new packet of biscuits – they’re never happy. And COVID sent those self-righteous know-it-alls into overdrive. And they’re usually the people who’ve been furloughed for fifteen-thousand years, so have absolutely zero right to question anyone about anything. They’re the same people bitching about having to go back to work in their vast offices where they can have a radius of ten metres between colleagues, or whining about sending their precious darlings back to school in September after spending five months lying on their backs in the garden. Those of us who have worked all the way through lockdown *trying very hard but failing to get off high horse* know the distancing rules better than anyone; we’ve had no choice but to put ourselves at risk right from the beginning. So, I don’t want to hear their opinions. Am I just bitter because I was one of those key workers who had to keep the country going, and had no choice but to stop panicking, and hasn’t had a holiday since February? Maybe, but I think I have the right to be.
In conclusion, I guess this pandemic may have come with a few positives as well. Don’t forget those that had the mother of all extended summer holidays *sob*. Look, some people admit they had an amazing lockdown – I admire that honesty (in different circumstances, I would have too). But more importantly, maybe we’ll be a more appreciative society from now on – and we won’t simply assume we can have anything we want the moment we want it. Maybe we’ll be less of a throwaway society too. Maybe we’ll continue our love of DIY and gardening (love might be too excessive a word but my garden looks much better and it really wouldn’t if there’d been no lockdown). I for one will miss the eerily quiet commute and the cheap petrol. Maybe we’ll no longer take for granted the family and friends we couldn’t see during lockdown – we’ll make time for each other from now on. Possibly, we’ll even take our physical health more seriously in future; cut back on eating crap and exercise more to boost our immune systems to fight this dreaded virus. As you know from the blog, I was poorly in early March; hacking cough, fever – you know the drill. And I always secretly believed I might have had the Corona Virus. But I’ve since had a blood test for COVID, working in healthcare, and I’ve no antibodies. So, either I’ve never had it, or I’m not immune… I’d been living under a false sense of security that I wouldn’t catch it again. So I’d better stay fit. Heigh-ho. Anyway, here we are, hopefully coming out the other side of this nightmare. And I for one won’t be looking back on 2020 fondly – no siree.
PS: Apologies for the slightly sanctimonious outbursts. It’s been a rough time for us all, and sometimes you just have to vent – I feel better now.
PPS: Next time, I’ll write about something non-COVID related…promise.