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the daily column

Lockdown

Hey so remember when 2020 started and the nation was on fire and we’d just had 2 years of severe drought and we thought, how screwed are we? None so screwed. Only then, February rolled around, and so did some ex-tropical storms bringing half a decade’s worth of rain to be the saviour, and whilst it was wet, lo, it was also good.

Only then, we kinda realised all this time we’d been thinking about our petty little problems in this country, and China had given a heads up about some bad stuff going down with some people who were getting sick in new and novel ways. And so it was that we learned of coronaviruses, and this how this one was to be called SARS-CoV-2, and the thing it caused was COVID-19, and oh heck we just called it coronavirus and stopped drinking that beer.

I think there was one good weekend in there, and we used it to look around at houses way beyond any kind of affordability. FML.

Wow has it been a long couple of months.

A key activity for me since early March has been doomscrolling. Super descriptive, isn’t it? Just scroll-scroll-scroll, try to absorb how doomed we are, try to understand what’s happening, seek happy, escapist thoughts.

I’ve learned way more about epidemiology than I ever expected. I’ve learned way more about infection pathways and the way these strange semi-living things interact, about how the medical system works, about how data should be presented and the logistic curve and how it makes sense that large volume bulk goods are the most visible in the event of a run and indeed just how to get on with things when it all goes sideways.

In hindsight, I wish I’d blogged more when it started, just so I can go back and reflect. I think we went into working from home from the 2nd week of March, or was it the third? Either way, things got weird. My wife too was working from home within days of me being there, and we’ve learned all kinds of things about how we behave at work, albeit in unusual circumstances.

Far too many video calls. The bane of my workday, and then people want to hop online for zoom calls after work? Bah humbug. I need to escape to the room for an hour at the end of the day just to decompress from dealing with these calls.

I thought I’d be more productive with all this time saved and nowhere to go and nothing to do. That certainly didn’t turn out quite the way I wanted. Sure I’ve saved on commute time, but now I need deliberate time for physical activity.

Oh yeah, I’ve been walking, a lot, and regularly. I’m posting my progress for others to see to keep me honest, otherwise I’d cut corners. It’s worked just great until today, but as it gets colder and darker, it gets harder and harder.

Other than the walking and the doom scrolling, the world of video games has been a welcome escape, especially the ones where you’ve got (mostly) omnipresent control. Civilisation, Simcity, and then The Battle of Polytopia, just sucking time away as I find the little strategic moves to own the world.

Tomorrow, the lockdown eases a little, allowing us to visit two at a time for social calls. It seems to have come too soon, and I despair that it’s not been long enough for the world to change, and yet it’s been too long for people to have survived it unscathed.

I don’t know how to describe this situation adequately, it feels like I’m too scatter-brained right now to keep a narrative straight. I’ve struggled to watch movies, struggled to keep focus on a book. I’m not sure if it’s the stress and distraction or if it’s just the constant being-in-the-same-four-walls that’s getting to me… I deeply desire change and yet there’s a strange comfort to the routine I’ve surrounded myself with right now.

Strange times indeed.