So there we all are- stuck at home with our children, husbands, boyfriends, flatmates, cell members and parents in a coronavirus induced lockdown. Blue murder springs to mind.
The unprecedented events of the past few weeks have thrown us into unchartered waters. One minute the nation is ‘panicking’ about Brexit, the next we’re panicking about toilet paper and pending doom.
Now that schools are out, everything else will surely follow- bar shops. All social activity will be called to a halt and we won’t be allowed to fraternise with friends. It’s just like the apocalypse the conspiracy theorists have warned us about.
There will be nothing to do but eat and watch Netflix, fight with our housemates and give our children the phone because we have deadlines and want them to stop sitting on our head.
The threat of Covid 19 demands we isolate elderly and sick people against our instincts, but because of the housing crisis many of us are sharing with parents, grandparents and family members, putting them at unnecessary risk.
Along with 50 percent of Irish 25 to 29 year olds, I too am living at home – with my five-year-old daughter until Easter at the earliest, virus permitting.
Because of my precarious living arrangement, I have to be more careful about what I do and where I go. I’m currently pondering whether or not I picked up the coronavirus during a chocolate making class in Switzerland last week. I too could be stretchered out of the house by men in hazmat suits, with neighbours behind curtains going – ‘unclean, unclean.’ “I’m not surprised, she’s always off somewhere.”
My mother, as many of her generation is less prone to hyperbole and hysteria, and is more pragmatic about these things, even though she’s most likely to be affected.
I’m not panic buying, but I won’t be socialising and am making sure my daughter and I are outside as much as humanly possible, while washing our hands regularly. Luckily I’m not at the age where I go out four nights a week.
I fear those younger than me, won’t adhere to the rules as I wouldn’t have either. The government who put us in this intergenerational living predicament need to focus on keeping them out of harms way. It won’t be easy.
If we get through this unscathed, we will all be delighted, but lets face it in the meantime we will drive each other demented.
When you don’t have your own house, as many of you will ascertain, you can’t just mix up a Mojito, stick on some tunes or light a fag without judgement. Even hobbies, like painting or pottery can’t just be done with ease, whatever about committing war crimes like boiling the kettle in quick succession, leaving the immersion on or opening the fridge door after dinner.
The feeling is mutual, I can confirm. You are in someone else’s way, in their home, screwing with their rules.
But fear not, once we get a dose of predictably awful Irish weather, even the happiest of couples will lose their minds, trying to work, with children running around the house, bored and frustrated.
People can barely get through Christmas Day without losing it, now we’re looking down the barrel of infinite imprisonment with our relations with no sports or trips to the pub for escape. For sociable Irish people this is unprecedented.
I hope all the social media generation, who have perpetuated social isolation via social media, who cancel birthday and family events, because they can’t be bothered, may have a little think about all this ‘me time’ they so craved so badly.
Whats it like having your cake and eating it?
You may soon change your tune.
After we get the all clear-I remain positive, it will invigorate us, make us forget stupid things we were worried about before, and perhaps, we’ll just want to go out, meet our friends and actually talk to them.
This could lead to the social and cultural revolution modern society needs so badly.
In the meantime, if you are living at home, now may be a time to recalibrate, do a deep clean and reconnect with the elderly and appreciate them.
It won’t be easy, but if we make the effort it could bring us together mentally, not just geographically.