My alarm is set for 8am but my body does not allow me to sleep until then. I get up at 7.20am. It’s such a routine now, so I start making coffee without even thinking about it – fill up the water for the machine, get the milk for frothing, insert a capsule, get a cup, press start. And so the day begins.
I sit on the couch scrolling through Instagram, drinking my coffee. Sometimes I find joy in social media because people share personal stories or funnies and it perks me up and offers relief. Other times I just get overwhelmed by the COVID media not knowing what to believe or not and even if I find information that is legitimate, do I have the capacity to cope with said information? Not usually. My coping mechanism for situations of extreme anxiety has always been denial. I’m not reading COVID articles so it must not exist right? I find myself looking forward to switching on my computer to start work for the day. Because at this point it’s a welcome distraction. But is it? Every email I get is “stay safe”, “keep healthy”, “hope you are coping” and as much as I know that it’s from people with the best of intentions, I cannot help but feel that they are not onboard with my denial project.
I switch on the radio for some lovely background music. I’ve never been able to work without soft music in the background. If I’ve said it once I’ve said it a million times, music saves lives. Before I know it, it’s lunch time. I make some omelettes for me and the husband who hasn’t looked up from his computer in 3 weeks. Two words I’ve come to hate – earnings release. Poor husband has truly been working his ass off. We take a 30min break to watch an episode of Modern Family and then it’s back to our separate corners of the apartment to work. Another coffee. Another email. Another whatsapp with a quarantine meme.
Time for the work team to workout together. I forgot as usual so I rush upstairs to change into gear, login and there they are – my colleagues. As I see faces pop up I realise that one of the things I miss the most is having random conversations at the coffee machine. I don’t know how people are doing anymore or what they did over the weekend. My world is much smaller for it. I also realise that I’m sick of speaking to people through a screen. I need more. But patience is a virtue and our reunion will be sweet.
Another coffee. Another email.
I take an afternoon break standing on my balcony looking at my neighbours. What are they up to? How are they coping? Do they have a denial project going on? Me and the husband have started giving our neighbours names. We have the “computer man” because he is always in front of his computer, always, for hours and hours. We have the “tan girl” who is always lying on her roof getting a tan and doing who knows what on her phone. Then there is the boxer, this woman is religious about boxing on her balcony and she also seems to be a painter – I would love to see something she has created and not just the back of her canvas. The woman who is obsessed with her balcony garden. The mom and dad that has 3 small children who are constantly wrecking their house. I’ve always been pretty observant but these times my senses are elevated. Maybe it’s because I was forced to stop and take note.
Wrapping up the working day, new emails come in from the US colleagues and I’m torn between whether I should answer or switch off. Some days I can switch off but some days I yearn for more distraction so I stay online.
Husband yells from his corner “What’s for dinner Neelsie?” Ugh, dinner. Think, think, think. I yell back “Chicken and rice?”. “Ok Neelsie”. He continues to work. I play Candy Crush to take my mind off everything – another coping mechanism. I start cooking dinner and settle in for a night of television. Husband joins me on the couch and we make really stupid jokes, but really and I laugh so much the tears are rolling down my face. We’re hysterical because we have cabin fever! But the laughter helps and I feel great about the fact that I just totally exercised my stomach muscles.
Time for bed, reading a little bit. Switch off the light as we fall asleep to meditation stories. Day 82 in lockdown done.
Tomorrow I do it all over again. But I’ll be grateful because I have a job, I have a house, I have food, I have friends and family and I will have the world again, soon enough.