Lockdown the Sequel

Back in August – admittedly from the comfort of my sun lounger – whenever there was postulation about a second lockdown before Christmas, I blithely thought, ‘well, we have got this; we navigated through the first one, did we not?’ I realise I must have been looking back at the first lockdown through a sour dough lens and believed that by November I would be a more centred, selfless individual, someone who would enjoy living in a slower world. Someone who would have developed cooking skills.

Sadly ‘Lockdown The Sequel’ is not holding my interest in the same way; I have no intention of downloading the box set.

I was a captive audience for Lockdown I (weren’t we all) because:

  • We walked everywhere
  • I spoke to people more – in a socially distanced way – for queuing was the order of the day and I was happy to stand in the sunshine speaking to total strangers, to while away the waiting.
  • In my teaching world, we were just dipping our toe into the world of Zoom, Loom, Teams and Vimeo and everyone was sharing their new knowledge with each other. The students thought it was hilarious to see us battle with their tech. We bonded as they muted our mics on remote lessons.
  • An aggressive and territorial flock of school seagulls stopped descending on the playing field because there were no student packed lunches to steal. My litter picker gathered cobwebs in the corner of my office.
  • Nearly everyone was at home so nearly everyone had time to check in on each other in a virtual but meaningful way.
  • I read a lot and joined my first book club.
  • The weather was AMAZING!

Although there were rumours (see above) that there may be an early release of Lockdown II, I was in no rush to buy tickets/upgrade my Netflix package. Now it is here it feels as if the scriptwriter has been furloughed and that I am left to play the part of a Z list extra in a very tired narrative:

  • Everyone is driving everywhere
  • We have worked out when and where to shop – or we shop on line – so there are few queues and people have got tired of talking to strangers anyway.
  • Teams and Zoom are so much part of my blended teaching world that I have become a desk slave. When the students are actually in class, I have to retreat behind said desk – which is the antithesis of my teacher training and the reason that my Fitbit is so scathing about my step count.
  • The school seagulls are back – fatter and more aggressive than ever. They have mastered a bomb-dive manoeuvre at the first hint of a student needing to hold their baguette aloft while they remove a face mask. My litter picker is sadly back in use – mostly to brandish if a seagull comes too close.
  • We now have a mixed economy of home workers, outworkers and out-of-workers and you need a pivot table to work out when to call each other and a PHD in Discretion to navigate through conversations that avoid comparitis or burnt martyr.
  • My book pile now towers by my bed side and I am in danger of getting a homework slip from my virtual book club.
  • The weather is pants. It feels dark and wet all the time. My vitamin D levels have plummeted and I even have no energy to apply fake tan.

So yes, we have ‘got this’, but do we really want it? I would rather watch the repeat of Lockdown I to remind myself that I can be a nicer person.

My 94 year old mother captures Lockdown II in her text message (all in CAPS LOCK which makes it more dramatic and poignant to read): ‘Life seems very quiet this lockdown. No-one comes. I doze off and time just trickles along’. I feel really guilty because work has been so manic that I have forgotten to call her for a couple of days. I need to do better.

If there is a need to upgrade this Lockdown II into a trilogy to see us through the festive season, I will need to treat this current phase as a dress rehearsal and put more effort into my method acting.

Firstly, I intend to move my face masks from their athleisure phase into total bling. I saw a teacher rocking the most amazing sequinned mask for Children in Need Day and found myself sadly excited. Back in Lockdown I, I confess to being very dismissive of the wardrobe mistress when she came to discuss Covid-resistent mask fabric. During Lockdown II I have started early negotiations with the make-up department to find some non-smudge foundation and to find me some lashes capable of taking a starring role at eye level.

I am also going to wear drab colours for the rest of November so that on December 3rd at least those allowed near me will be able to see some juxtaposition; I aim to emerge like a yule-tide rainbow, even if the next ‘break out’ is short lived.

Plans for ‘Lockdown the Trilogy’:

  • I am hoping for snow; if it arrives, I will forsake my car for a sledge and invest in some huskies.
  • I will embrace slot queuing for an on-line M&S food delivery – no-one to speak to in this queue, but I promise to be friendly to the delivery driver.
  • Everyone loves an end of term quiz. Zoom/Teams will be so much easier than me pretending to the students that I know how to set up a Christmas Kahoot. I won’t buy prizes – the students can watch me eat the chocolate oranges I would have awarded them had we been in the same room.
  • Even if school is open there will be no school Christmas lunch – there will be turkey sandwiches, with a cranberry garnish because I hear that seagulls hate cranberries and it may encourage them to keep their social distance. If school needs to close, problem solved anyway, as long as we can get the head teacher to dress up as santa – with a bearded face mask naturally – and get some home deliveries sorted.
  • I will erase any book requests from my Santa list. Santa will be relieved.
  • I will order snow. See above.

I will be joining my mum’s bubble for the festive season and have plans to factor in a few girls’ afternoons to remind her that a daughter is for life, not just for Christmas. I will be taking some spray tan with me and a new jigsaw. I WILL BE SORTING MY MUM’S CAPS LOCK OUT. Mum’s only disappointment will be my cooking skills – it was ever thus.

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