Day 22: Today is absolutely the last day of not getting dressed properly

I am either very, very tired or very, very energised. Those are my two states of being in quarantine. I either want to give hours to making intricate TikTok dance videos or else I’m lying down on my bedroom floor barely able to lift my arm to separate the tangle of the 3,000 piece jigsaw I was not emotionally equipped to take on.

I am either vigorously exercising or else barely able to formulate the required ‘no’ when brother asks if I’ll play a very simple board game.

I am forcing sister to do a Tabata dance YouTube workout or in pyjamas by 7pm (I’m talking on a Saturday night, you guys) and complaining that 9pm is FAR. TOO. LATE. to begin watching a movie. Lads, I used to contemplate going to the pub at 9pm. I used to take myself off on my road-weary rothar for a solo pint at half ten at night.

Where is that girl gone? Will I ever get her back?

Today is absolutely the last day of not getting dressed, not brushing teeth until 11am, not brushing hair until 3pm, not wearing a bra ever. Today is the LAST Monday morning where I schlepp onto a laptop at 08:59 and proceed to spend the next twenty minutes making an elaborate to-do list (most of it personal goals such as: respond to friend message, shower, do not wait until 3pm to brush your hair or you will hate yourself) before deciding it’s time for an equally elaborate, spice-infused coffee. Urrrrrrrrrrrgh.

Listlessness is ironic because it usually hits me when overwhelmed with lists – shopping, to-do, things I need to improve about myself, exercise regimes. To hell with it all! says Monday me. I have toast at 9:30, toast at 10:15, toast at 11:37. I balance it out with lentils and salad for lunch.

My mother is baking apple sponge downstairs and I am very excited about it. I am hungry ALL THE TIME.

Not to brag, but I am beginning to “nail” weekends. For the first time in a lifetime, I am finding myself capable of switching off from “shoulds” and instead focusing on what I really want to do. For those not intimately acquainted with my brain, this is HUGE for me.

What happened this weekend: I had two cans and two cigarettes on Saturday night and was horrendously hungover yesterday. I spent a lot of time calling friends in Australia because I am experimenting with communicating with people outside of my quarantine bubble and thus AM NO LONGER A SOCIAL PARIAH AND BAD FRIEND. I feel very smug about this. I watched The Big Short for the second time and Django Unchained for the first time – I am understandably traumatised by both. I walked a lot down my usual and favourite fields. We ran to our favourite cove to sweat out our hangovers and, when we got there, watched a show of thirty dolphins jump their way to some unknown destination. I did not do the work I promised myself I would NOT leave until Sunday night and then of course left to Sunday night. I refused to feel about this.

I spent a LOT of time working on my 3,000-piece jigsaw. It is slowly encroaching across my bedroom floor and soon will invade my dedicated yoga workout space in which me and Adriene slip into something comfy, step onto the mat, and get started. Poor Adriene will be so disappointed when I’m no longer able to find what feels good because instead I am trying to find piece 687 of one of Norway’s lesser-known fjords.

Funny story on this, actually. Today, as sister and I were procrastinating by vomiting our to-do lists and hopes for a productive evening at each other (instead of just actually doing work) my dad interrupted us and asked to see us in his study. Never a good sign. ‘What did we do?’ was my reaction as my palms started to sweat – did I steal more of his office supplies unbeknownst to me? We shuffled, down-headed, into the dark room in which, I’m pretty sure, my father rules a significant portion of the world under the guise of harmless “quantity surveyor”. He led us over to his miniscule laptop screen and pointed, a gleeful look on his face. “Look!” he exclaimed. “It’s your jigsaw – your jigsaw is from Norway!” Lads, you know those stock images that pop up on your desktop as screensavers? That’s what we were looking at. A generic, perfectly unexceptional photo of SOME lake somewhere in Norway. The glee. The delight. You’d swear the man had DISCOVERED Norway as opposed to drawing a comparison of generic puzzle image with generic computer image. Oh, it was delightful. My dad is the best.

This is just one in a long line of my father’s increasing preoccupations with our puzzle. Despite it being very purposely in my bedroom, he asks for daily updates on our progress, laments our lack of commitment if we have stalled, and avidly measures its width, length, probability of losing pieces to the cracks in my floor. All this and he won’t touch a piece, won’t dare to seek the indescribable ecstasy of slotting one jagged fragment into another. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the man is an enigma. At least his birthday present is sorted: a framed painting of generic lakes from Scandanavia.

I’m listening to the Ting Tings again. About once every four months I recollect their existence and go down a rabbit hole of ‘Great DJ’ and ‘Be the One’. Because they are just so much more than ‘That’s Not my Name.’

I spend a lot of time in my room. I think we have all been mistakenly under the impression that I am very sociable and outgoing. Turns out, I am reclusive. I scamper downstairs for coffee refills and fingers of banana bread and then burrow back into the harem-like, patterned frenzy of my ‘salon’. I cannot tell if my family are disappointed or relieved by this revelation. My father sighs at my retreating back as I attempt to close the kitchen door with the flex of my foot or rub of my back while balancing my many provisions – I am a veritable squirrel, stocking up on necessities to hunker down to journalling, floor-lying, TV-watching.

I am writing a very ardent, very impassioned, very righteous response to an article I read on that implied that millennials are worst-affected by coronavirus. I can’t. In it, the journalist claimed that the millennial existence thus far is one characterised by stunted development and an overfamiliarity with painful suffering. He also declared that “we” – apart from my love of oatmilk lattés and brunch, I am the world’s most reluctant millennial – have no positive memories of our twenty/thirty something years on this earth. Again, I repeat, I CANNOT. I hope it gets published in a national broadsheet, goes viral and I become a searing voice of my generation. Or rather, as Lena puts it in Girls which I am only watching for the first time now and am fully, properly, and unashamedly obsessed with, I could become A voice of A generation. I can live with that.

Tonight I am going to make wild garlic pesto, sea-swim, and leave the house for the first time. And then I will be cleansed and tomorrow I will wear real clothes.

Tree Tings

  • ‘Mantelpiece’ and ‘Morning’ – two Lemoncello songs I discovered during puzzle time and am consequently obsessed with. Fill your ears with their violiny, harmonised goodness.
  • Puzzle Time. The three half-hour – ok, FINE, sometimes hourly – slots where my sister and I sneak tea and snacks up to my room, put on a random playlist, and get jiggy with the jigsaw.
  • That exquisite moment when you pull a piece of hair that was wedged between a headphone bud and your earlobe through and feel this kind of orgasmic satisfaction, like the removal of a tickle you didn’t realise you had. Do you know what I’m talking about? It’s like finally catching the piece of wool that was tangled in your eyelashes or the hair in your mouth. You didn’t realise it was there or just how much it was there and annoying you until you get it out. I’ve started deliberately shoving strands of hair in between my ear and headphones just to experience that sweet, sweet, delicious relief again and again – is that sad? Tell me it’s not sad.

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