Covid-19 Diaries – April 14th

Blog.  We’ve been larking about making a quarantine video for the sister. A big part of me felt b-a-d that here was I, all singing and all dancing (along with the husband and sons nos 2 and 3) to the tune of Sweet Caroline (which became Self Quarantine) for the amusement of various family members, who are far, far away.  For while we were engaged in merriment, all the key workers were/are risking their lives. But it’s GOOD to do something in isolation, and it’s GOOD to connect to family, and our video will remain as a family record during these catastrophic, Covid times (as will you dear Blog.)

Via the wonders of digital social media, whose TIME has come; whose WORTH is suddenly so real and obvious, we FaceTimed the parents for the first time. I don’t do video calls because of the stammer, and a feeling of awkwardness, but they’re good. It’s all gooood.

I had been rabidly colouring-in again pre The Virus, but that’s gone by the colouring wayside, since fear and panic set in, which not only concerns The Virus.  Here are some pics, mostly unfinished, from Johanna Basford’s World of Flowers, a book I picked up on my last visit home. There are quite a few layers of coloured pencils on each one and still the pages look barely coloured in. This tells me how many layers the experts use, to make their creations so wonderfully rich and dense. For me, there’s only so much pencil crayoning-in you can do before you start putting holes through your paper.

world of flowers 1

world of flowers 2

world of flowers 4

Turns out my life in lockdown was my life pre-lockdown.  I used to mostly stay in, with a stint of walking about the locale every day. Except I now don’t go out. This is thanks to our own ‘key worker,’ our own superhero, for whom we stood on our doorstep one day last week and clapped, like the NHS clap.

I started doing a YouTube exercise video last week aimed at ‘seniors and beginners,’ so I wasn’t spending lockdown permanently ensconced in a chair.  It’s 20 minutes long and I actually found it doable. This is because I’d lost weight pre-lockdown, via healthier eating and lots of walking up big hills. In lockdown, however, we seem to think that chocolate is as necessary as the ‘water of life,’ so the diet has gone to pot.

Lockdown is all well and good but, at some point, we’ll be expected to go out again and then we’ll all get crappy Covid. The husband’s AS specialist rang him, as all appointments are cancelled face to face, and hit him with this spectacularly obvious news. We’re all going to get the virus, he said, the best thing you can do is try not to catch it for 6 months, then there’ll be ventilator space etc.  How encouraging. How thoughtful to suggest that; look mate, you’re probably going to need a ventilator and there’s sod all you can do about it.  Sod all any of us can do about it.

We plan on living in splendid isolation until a vaccine comes along. But what a gigantic waste of our increasingly decreasing allotted time. And would I take a vaccine that had been rushed through, without the usual amount of testing?  Might there then be a catastrophic vaccine fall-out, several years down the line, even worse than The Virus?

I’m used to solitary living. To inward contemplation. To lying on the bed for frequent naps. And now I’m also well into my solitary journey in Animal Crossing.  This game would make a good subject for a psychological thesis.  I’m pretty certain you could conduct accurate character studies based on game play.

I like to spend a good portion of my virtual island day weeding. I run around digging up loads of weeds and then sell them. I like the satisfying sound of my tiny shovel as it digs up a perfect circle of earth, but I must always fill the hole up again. I then water my small collection of plants and rearrange the few items of furniture in my tiny home. My island home has only one room (but this is a huge improvement, since it used to be a tent.)  This makes for any pleasing placement of my possessions difficult, since I currently have a washer and a fridge lumped in with my tables and fireplace. I then run around looking for fish to catch. I’ve become an expert cartoon angler.  I also smash rocks a bit with an axe, and also swing the axe at trees.  I do all these activities in my custom fear and panic, except the weeding.  For, I’ve twice taken an axe to a tree, only to be attacked by killer wasps. Therefore, I approach the axing of a tree with great trepidation, crossing my virtual fingers that it doesn’t harbour a wasp nest.  If the wasps do appear then I run like hell, in as criss-cross a pattern as I can manage, hoping to confuse the wasps but get clobbered just the same.  This begs a HUGE question.

Animal Crossing is only the second video game I’ve played in my life. When running for dear life from the wasps, just what do I think I’m doing?  Do I really think a bit of code, in the form of cartoon wasps, is going to get ‘confused’ by my lunatic manipulation of the hand controls?

I’ve also been killed or stunned (I don’t know which) by some kind of giant, revolting, crawling insect. Son no.2 assured me that Animal Crossing would be just the kind of game someone like me would go for. He left out the giant killing insects, and the killer wasps, and the balloons with gifts, where the gift sometimes mysteriously disappears, even when you’ve shot it down from the sky, and the weird camel that sells you woeful wallpaper and revolting rugs, like it was Del Boy, so you regret losing your hard earned Bells (cartoon money.)   And just the weird cartoon characters full stop.  I’ve discovered that Nintendo’s idea of what constitutes a cute cartoon animal is not my idea at all – Disney where are you?

I took a trip to a mystery island the other day and met a white tiger (I think it’s a tiger) who asked if she could come and live on my island.  Every social anxiety muscle in my body twitched and I stood there, debating whether to say yes or no.  I fear strangers. I can’t remember a single time where I’ve felt entirely comfortable either meeting with, or being around strangers, let alone ones which immediately ask if they can come and live with you. It didn’t help that the tiger used the same sort of irritating, pseudo ‘cool’ language that one of the in-game characters uses, in current residence on my island. It’s my island, I found myself thinking, and I’m not having anyone else on it. But if I said ‘No’ would something bad happen back on my island?  So, I pressed ‘yes’ in the most hesitant way possible.  I was also extremely glad to get back to my own island. Again, a HUGE question.

What am I doing?  This is a game. The tiger is just a bit of code for heaven’s sake. The cartoon island I live on doesn’t exist anywhere other than on some server.  I’ll tell you what I’m doing Blog.  Today an online shop arrived and I spent a good 40 minutes washing every single item.  Yes, on a rota basis, I lined up tins, bottles, plastic containers, cardboard boxes, and scrubbed every one with a sponge soaked in fairy and hot water. What a time consuming, exhaustive process it was. And I ended up with several alarmingly wilted cardboard containers, that I had to put out to dry so they weren’t ruined. And then I washed down all the surfaces and chucked the carrier bags out in the garden to decontaminate. This is because I read somewhere that The Virus can ‘live’ on various surfaces for x amount of time.  I then contemplated stripping off, shoving the clothes in the washer and going for a decontamination shower – but I didn’t.  That way madness lies.

And I will be slightly mad when this is all over (if The Virus doesn’t get me.)  I’ll be blessed with full blown cases of OCD and agoraphobia.  I’ll be blessed with a strong distrust of ‘experts’ in any area (actually that’s normal for me.)  I’ll have put on the stone I so carefully lost pre-Virus.  But I’ll also have had time to re-think my life and changes will be made.


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