It just does. It sucks. First of all, the weather. Second of all, the weather, and third, fourth and fifth of all, the weather is abysmal. There is nothing like the warm embrace of torrential rain that lasts for over 13 hours. The grey blanket has descended and we are submerged until Spring. Kids are stuck inside, which everybody knows is just where children yearn to be. Argh. There’s nothing like untacking a child’s wound-up spirit from the ceiling while the other child screams in the corner because her brother “looked out the window”.
The first lockdown wasn’t brilliant, but it wasn’t awful either. The first few weeks were beyond horrific. 2 small kids – child minder + 2 parents working = the defined formula for hell. Kids interrupt you. They interrupt you constantly, consistently, randomly, unnecessarily, purposelessly and just for the fun of it. Very soon I was the King Kong of stress monsters. It was quite obvious to my husband that if this continued I would be wheeled away by the bin men and popped into the nearest mental institution or recycling centre, or our family would endure a pretty awful and traumatising experience. So, we bit the financial bullet and I quit my job. Yeah, we are broke but during the first lockdown we were kinda happy.
It was cliché heaven around here. He started to take an interest in a very startled garden. He grew pumpkins, peppers, tomatoes and sunflowers; spent weeks clearing out the brambled jungle that lived behind the shed. And I baked. I haven’t baked since I was 14 years old, but I was at it again, and producing just as dubious results as I did back then. Our house was organised; our hot press now has labels on the shelves, FFS. And we began running. Oh, we were so healthy, until every Friday night when we gorged our body weight on wine & chocolate, while watching Netflix and Disney or just reading Trump’s tweets and giggling.
It was pretty sweet.
But this lockdown sucks.
It’s dark. Exercising on a Summer’s evening is an enjoyable and uplifting experience. Walking along a country road in the pitch black stumbling into puddles just ain’t that great a jazz.
And then there’s the point that we’ve done this before. The first time there was a feeling of adventure or novelty about the lockdown. I was full of great ideas about what to do to combat the ennui and the social deprivation. But now it’s just boring. It’s repetitive. It’s gruelling. I’ve a fairly robust and resilient personality but I found myself listening to Joni Mitchell while peeling potatoes and day-dreaming about life on a boat somewhere, or being in gainful employment again. If I get to the point where I’m pressing auto re-play on Leonard Cohen, I know I’ll need to either start some serious drinking or ring the Samaritans.
So I guess these are the tough times. Covid is our generation’s burden. As tough times go, it’s not the worst, so far. My folks suffered the oil crisis in the 70s with mortgage rates at 18%. My grandparents lived through World War 2. My great-grand folks existed through WW1 and the Spanish flu pandemic. Go back further and they were just poverty-stricken farmers with no education, no franchise and no quality of life: with a very short span of life at add to all that misery.
In that vein, living in a heated home, baking soda bread and cakes, watching Netflix and chasing kids – it ain’t a bad life. We are all here. We are all healthy. We still know how to be happy. And this is just a temporary situation. We’ve got a lot more to be grateful for than others before us, so I guess I should smile, grab a few family hugs; and just get on with it. Just truck through it.