Hello new reality! Didn’t see that one coming.

Not in very many years, did I think I’d long for the mad dash out the door to get to school on time. Just a mad dash out the door to anywhere seems so exciting right now. The holler of ‘where are your shoes, have your brushed your teeth, hurry up! OK I’m going, I’m gone, I’m in the car!’ seem like a distant memory. The school run roll call has been replaced by a commute all the way down the stairs. I can’t remember what my kids look like in uniform and ‘school’ is now a mishap of google classroom emails that just keep coming, creating perilous amounts of open tabs in their wake and oceans of scrawled upon paper that are filled out with answers but that I can’t quite find the time or inclination to mark. Monitoring curricular progress is almost a step too far once you’ve remembered all of the teacher instructions, printed them off, filed them in the appropriately labelled virtual folder, explained fractions for the 80th time and batted off petty sibling squabbling that in lockdown seems to be hanging around like a persistent, annoying fly.

I think teeth washing has actually ceased completely in this hinterland with little or no routine mostly because it is now fully a routine that needs to be implemented solely by you. The mad dashing around being here or there on time, grabbing this, getting that, seeing family, catching up quickly with friends, coffee, lunch, brunch, nails, brows, pedi has been very abruptly replaced by having to do everything within the confines of your own four walls alongside all of your family, ALL of the time.

Jumping in the car to go somewhere? Without a mask or sweaty rubber gloves. WOO HOO! Yes please! It’s odd to think popping out for essential lockdown gherkins or milk could be deemed ‘a break.’ Going further than around the block feels like a holiday. You’re contemplating a ball gown and full make up as you get ready to go the supermarket - it seems so long ago that you wore something fancy or even looked good.

Waitrose ready

But then you start overthinking the bacteria and ponder whether you should even go out; door handles and remote controls are suddenly evil and you now find yourself wondering how obsessively to wash your shopping so you don’t die and kill other vulnerable people and it’s true to report that yes the world has gone mad and is in flux. After this surely we will have changed how we think about bacteria and people’s germs forever. A ride on a tube carriage with someone coughing and sneezing will never be viewed the same again, surely. How thick skinned our immune systems and brains were before we started overanalysing invisible green nasties throttling through the air trying to hang on to any nasal hair willing. We didn’t bat an eyelid when someone coughed or sneezed beside us before but how long and how hard in its grip will this hygiene OCD linger after the storm cedes?

Never before now did a handshake seem so intimate. How soon after COVID-19 will it be safe to walk by someone and not get anxiety that you’ve breached the 2m rule by a few centimetres. Will we hover and be awkward when it becomes socially acceptable to touch the inside of someone’s palm and then hold it and shake it? Will it be a gradual process from elbow knock to stroke as we limber back up to the usual polite embracing? And will we ever revert to the going in for a kiss on the cheek when we see our dear friends (seems like practically snogging someone in these times). Corona, you’re shaking up the intimacy rules.

It's terribly close isn't it?

When this passes and blows over will we ever eye fully replenished loo roll shelves with comfort knowing we are no longer in lockdown and all the idiots have stopped panic buying. And is it feasible to imagine a fully stocked anti bacterial hand soap section or will there ever be any antibacterial gel, EVER again?

By the way, in this melee of days and the routine crushing reality of these times, it would have been Spring school holidays this Friday and the Easter double bank weekend holiday is approaching. Oh back in the day when bank holidays actually mattered in the annual leave calendar. Maybe go wild and take a break from the google classroom and fractions and paper and explaining something that you’ve had to quickly google or use a calculator whilst pretending to do something else on your phone. Read the zillions of books you’ve been saying you’ll read. Exercise, do yoga, dance like a maniac, shake it all out, drink gin, wine, take long baths, sleep, stay in bed ALL DAY. But mostly as much as they might drive you mad, love the ones you’re with.

No social distancing required with a book

I’m off to chop up a cornichon; they’re tiny but it will take a few minutes of chopping and smaller bits take longer to eat so it’s win win on the time passing front.

Dig deep. Stay Home.