The Lockdown Files

A couple of fellow writers recently shared that they ‘loved’ lockdown, plenty of time to write and no need to go out and interact with other humans. They are clearly much more motivated individuals than I am, my lockdown life being seriously unproductive in terms of writing anything of value (not that I’m sure I ever do).

Some aspects of the locked-down life appeal to me, namely that it seems to free me from have-to. You know, the things in life you have to do rather than those you want to do, like wearing proper clothes (what’s wrong with pyjamas until mid-morning?) combing hair (a throwback to the eighties when combing a curly perm just made it go frizzy) and forming coherent sentences (one of Neil’s specialities). I also don’t feel the need to clean the house (I actually never do on this one, but what’s the point when no one can visit?) and a distinct apathy for cooking anything that involves the use of more than one pan or won’t go in the oven.

Other things I don’t like, especially my movements restricted when the sun is shining and the temperature higher than it has any right to be at the end of August, but that I can’t get out for a long walk a good distance from civilisation. I dislike having to queue to shop for groceries, and that the only place I can do this is the supermarket, not the local butcher, baker etc I am used to using. Unlike my writer friends I don’t cope well with a lack of human interaction and feel for those who live alone but like company.

Lockdown in Ohakune has distinct advantages over lockdown in the city. Actually, any day in the country has distinct advantages over time in the city – despite having lived in one all my life I’ve never considered myself a city person. It’s much nicer to look out of my window to a view of green and a glimpse of mountain than it is to a street of cars. Daily exercise is more pleasant when I can walk alongside a small river, or cycle quiet roads lined with fields, and I get plenty of social interaction with lovely neighbours walking past and waving, some stopping for a quick (and suitably distanced) chat over the fence. I love hearing the birds and the occasional train (this is New Zealand; trains are very occasional) rather than traffic or loud people.

I spent the last lockdown in a state of constant stress and unease, frustrated by the restrictions that forbade me getting in the car and escaping the city. This time I’ve felt more relaxed, albeit so relaxed I’ve done very little. Lockdown gave me a serious case of CBF, a phrase coined by someone on their 200th day of lockdown in Melbourne. (If you can’t work out what it stands for you really shouldn’t be reading this blog.) CBF will have to end tomorrow, a re-scheduled house move meaning a return to the city and a hectic few days finishing packing, moving, unpacking. This house move has been going on for over eighteen months now and I won’t believe it’s happening until a man (or three) is unloading a van.

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