A series of petty concerns today, because sometimes it’s easier to worry about a hundred tiny things than it is to worry about the one unfathomable, unalienable fact that the entire world is shifting and changing around us.
My neighbour won’t stop mowing the lawn. I feel like the pettiest human alive to be annoyed about this, but it is annoying, and so I am annoyed. I think, therefore I am. I hear the constant roar of a lawnmower, therefore I am irritated. I didn’t know it was possible for one man to mow the lawn so often. I’m amazed that he has any lawn left. If I were his lawn, I’d simply wilt away and refuse to ever grow again as punishment. (Note to self: I’m glad that the whole world isn’t his lawn)
It’s my birthday in 6 days. I’m a twin, and we had planned that I would go and stay with her for our birthday, as she lives at the other end of the country, an 8 hour drive away. Now, I won’t see her at all. I can live with not seeing friends today; I’m fairly used to having birthdays where everyone is at work, and we end up doing sporadic meetups over the preceding and following weeks instead, but not seeing my twin is a real goddamn kick in the teeth. We’ve been together all our lives, and the country between us feels like a whole world. Also, I won’t have any presents to unwrap, and neither will she. We both ordered each other’s presents directly to the other’s house, and we decided to use small, local businesses rather than prop up Amazon in this time of economic distress, and giftwrap just wasn’t an option. That’s the most selfish, petty concern in the world, but there it is. This is a day for trivial worries, and that’s the most trivial of all. Wrapping paper. Thanks a lot, coronavirus.
There’s someone I’ve been talking to online for a little over a month now, since about a week before lockdown (if my calculations are right) and I absolutely know, with the same certainty with which I know that Trump is a complete idiot, that if we were able to meet in person by this point, things would have progressed. We probably wouldn’t be married yet, but we’d be able to talk to each other without the barrier of a screen between us. We do video calls and text and it’s good, and it’s been the highlight of this whole terrible thing, having something to look forward to, but a part of my brain is convinced that she’ll get tired of me by the time this all ends, and the opportunity will pass me by (hopefully like coronavirus will.) Coronavirus is terrible for your love life, I can tell you.
People keep on harping on about being productive in this time. Well, how? This is hardly a fecund, fertile time for me. I could be doing so many things, apparently. Learning a new language! Becoming a professional baker! Fat chance of that; lockdown’s been going on for a month now, and there’s still no flour. You know what I’ve done so far? Started reading about 70 books and put them down after page 10, because my brain can’t focus on them long enough to give half a shit, and done half a cross stitch. My coronavirus legacy is a half-finished cross stitch and the ability to say ‘I am Chinese’ in Swahili. I’m not even Chinese.
I’m tired of eating bacon and eggs every day. I feel like a miner from the 1870s. But it’s food that’s readily available and has a long shelf life, and that means a lot when you still have total arseholes panic-buying everything perishable in the shops, so bacon and eggs it is. Or leftovers, for a real treat. You haven’t lived until you’ve wolfed down a plate of reheated spag bol at 11.30am. A coronavirus culinary dream.
And there are larger worries. Of course there are. I’m worried about how long it will take for us, after this, to be able to look at someone in the street and not instinctively move away, wondering why the fuck they’re out, why aren’t they at home, why are they so close to me? I’m worried about all the people who won’t be there when we leave our homes again. The old woman on the bus who, for the past 6 years, has remembered me and asks how I am, how my studies are going, how I get my hair that lovely colour (genetics, Sylvia.) I’m worried about what the topography of the world will look like after this, and how we’ll all navigate it, and how many of us will get lost in it, swallowed up in it completely. I’m worried that this is a sea change that’s going to drown us.
But today, most of all, I want my neighbour to stop mowing his fucking lawn.