Day One in the Quarantined House

500 Days of Corona

So here’s the deal. I am not even remotely bored but word on the street is, you are? Me? I’m just chilling with my puzzles, buttered snacks – bread, cupcake, Mars Bar, croissant, butter – and new handstand-learning timetable. And by handstand timetable I, of course, mean, loosely suggesting to my sister that now would be a good time to practice handstands and – hey, that wall looks like a perfect handstand wall! That wall is waiting to be handstood against. Let’s totally set aside time each day to handstand around/in/on that one by two metres patch of luminous green plasterboard.  

Wait, why do we have a luminous green wall in our otherwise classy family home? Since when did our home have a room that was not painted in some variation of off-cream? And why, directly adjacent to the luminescent, glow-in-the-dark eyesore, have we an equally lurid shade of purple? 

Unlike this spiel, these will be short, unquantifiably sweet, and more than probably a waste of your time.  

Such are the questions I find percolating in this quarantined noggin as I lie – foetal, perfectly amniotic! – in my childhood bed. And so I thought – in the truly despicable scourge of individualism and selfie-taking that have instilled in us a brazen entitlement to think that every mealtime, every fleeting synonym for a thought is worthy of comment, of life birthed with an image, caption, blog post, podcast, that the simple act of breathing, synapsing as human brains must is ripe and fit and fat for public consumption – in all this I deliberated, expostulated, formulated the completely unoriginal, woefully overdone idea that now was a truly fantastic time for percolation (me) to meet isolation (all of ye) and inspire a creation (it’s now a rhyme/literary theme so I’m sorry but we’re rolling with it and we’re all going to see this through to its completion) because truth is I’ve been bunged up with words that won’t come out and it’s become something of an erudite CONSTIPATION. 

Beautiful.

Somebody inform Séamus Heaney he has been usurped – someone tell Yeats to arise and go because there’s a new poetic national treasure in town. 

Anyway, you’re isolating and I’m percolating on some literary profundity and questionable thought processes that are bordering on insanity. So, to combat both, I am beginning a daily (ok fine, maybe every other day if I get REALLY into my puzzle (which is ALWAYS)) commentary of my COVID-19 self-isolation, family-inundation adventures featuring my battles with remote working (most of these battles take place in my head due to a genetically-transmitted condition of extreme laziness and complete failure to self-motivate), three animals of starkly opposing personalities…and my two cats and dog. Ok, that was a low sibling joke – but isn’t that the kind of content you’re here for? No? FINE, have it your factually accurate way – I will also touch on living indefinitely with two-soon-to-be-three adult (mostly human) siblings and two bemused parents. Unlike this spiel, these will be short, unquantifiably sweet, and more than probably a waste of your time.  

Interestingly, insanity is inanity with an ‘s’. There will be a lot of both in these posts. And more gripping insights like these.

I hope this will be the thing you read over your morning coffee or t’will become the phone scroll that causes you to spit-take your wine during your evening winddown (or mild alcoholism – no judgement here). My absolute dream – although I barely dare to whisper it aloud – is for the biled puke of these stream-of-consciousness upchucks to be your procrastination.

If this is what you read when you should be working but you’re working from home so IS IT REALLY WORK WHEN YOU’RE NOT WEARING PANTS THOUGH, I will curl up with an ecstasy I believed impossible, forever denied me when my psychiatric nurse mother cruelly and irrevocably scared me off hard drugs with tales of devil conjurings and weird religious rituals. 

I have just realised that my favourite thing to be to someone – sister, boyfriend, colleague, stranger on the bus – is their distraction. If you want to get really into the psychology of it – see, I know what you want before you know it yourself! – I imagine it’s got something to do with the fact I am still just a good Catholic schoolgirl at heart and thus the only act of rebellion I am capable of is to be the one thing that, while unacceptable in school, would not result in a visit to the principal’s office: a procrastinating, garden-path leading distraction. I am now realising that most of my significant relationships were born out of my eagerness to become any kind of diversion to anyone – drinking companion, potential rebound from previous relationship, demotivated coworker looking to derail fellow hardworking colleagues, avid Mario Kart player looking to drag sibling away from studies.  

I imagine those are similar levels of guilt and shame – neglecting a poorly-constructed website no one reads and abandoning an illegitimate child and its permanently ruined mother in 1950s Ireland. 

Wow. Not only is corona saving me money on pints but now it’s saving me therapy too! Did anyone else know writing stuff down without inhibition or fear of judgement can lead to some pretty significant personal breakthroughs? Because I for one am mindblown. How can I commodify this? 

Coincidentally, that segues beautifully into the scientific objective behind this unimaginative and indefatigably unnecessary exercise:  that is, to write blindly, unedited, unfettered by the expectations and demands of you – the querolous and nit-picking, insatiable and perpetually unhappy, reader. (Once again, thank you so much for your valued support and patient perseverance in reading this far).  

If you give out because this doesn’t make sense or is not grammatically correct, please follow Yeats’ lead and arise and go. I spend my professional life agonising over punctuation and whether my language could offend, exclude, or worse, BORE, the paying public – this is a space for me to reclaim silliness, liberty, and the euphoria of being unchecked, unfettered, free from the paranoia of judgement. And yes, I am writing this naked to make this point both literal and figurative.  

You see, I have become terrified of my long-neglected website – it is like a bastard child and I some roguish scoundrel who got a girl knocked up, promised to marry her and rear the child like an unheard of, hands-on, emotionally intelligent father in rural pre-oatmilk Ireland, only to run for the hills on the eve of our union – and she ready to pop with the weight of my nail-fingered semen! – and into the arms of some footloose fancy-free, pedigree stranger who of course I marry because social status, darling. 

I imagine those are similar levels of guilt and shame – neglecting a poorly-constructed website no one reads and abandoning an illegitimate child and its permanently ruined mother in 1950s Ireland. 

So, naturally, to combat this, I’m choosing indulgence. My own and hopefully yours too, should you wish to indulge me a little. Rules are there are no rules. But also – 

I will not read back. I will not censor. I will not worry. I will not apologise. I will probably write this from my handstand position against the Joker-green wall. At least that way I can justify incomprehensibility what with all that blood rushing to my perfectly-positioned head. Oh, and I’m going to try and use one new word in every post because I think my brain might be shrinking, vocabulary lessening, and I’m beginning to be afraid every commission I write is really just a regurgitation of the same ten words in varying orders. Such are the things that keep me up at night. 

So buckle in and buckle up. During the isolation, procrastination, frustration, fetishisation of online content, – I got you, baby. Let me be the voice in your head, the chuckle after the cry. JUST LET ME BE YOUR DISTRACTION, OK??? 

P.S. I meant to say at the start but now at the end that I’m calling this 500 Days of Corona after 500 Days of Summer because that’s the soundtrack I was listening to while writing – it is not because I think Corona will last 500 days. 

P.P.S. It probably will, though.  

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