I’ve made a number of observations about all this self-isolation stuff, most notably that I seem to have forgotten what day it is, because each day, it feels, is exactly the same as the one before it and the one that might if I’m lucky come after it. Where Saturday was once, for me anyway, defined by football, now it’s gone, my Saturday is just like any other day. And so on. Of course there are plus points if you live alone – you can sit around in your underpants for the entire day if you choose, or you can spend it almost entirely in bed. Even the news bulletins have begun to have a familiar ring, largely indulging death tolls mixed with compulsory levity, items boasting a blitz spirit among our communities. Once again there’s a lot of repetition, showing reporters standing in city centres and beginning their update with words like, “Normally Fiona, these streets would be full of people, but now, as you see behind me, they’re empty.” Yes we can see, because we are not blind or stupid.
Or I should say most of us are not stupid. The one exception to the metropolitan emptiness appears to be our capital, which appears to be full of people whose method of isolation is to cram into tube trains. Or to give them their proper name, Londoners. Perhaps it’s innate, that the moment there’s a sniff of foreign invasion they take to the underground like they did during the Battle of Britain – that’s where they’re happiest, it’s their very own blitz spirit of 2020. One man they interviewed, who was probably old enough to remember 1939, seemed to think Londoners are special, they’re hard, and they have every right to do what the hell they want. I only hope the nurses were watching and will remember his face when he turns up at A&E with a cough. But he was just one of the people our intrepid reporter was chasing around with a microphone on a stick, there were quite a few others who thought they knew better than to change their routine.
But routine, I decided, for those of us who are not stupid, is not good for the mind – for days to be so repetitive, whether in your underpants or not, is bad. So I must do new things, I said to myself – learn a new language perhaps? Play my guitar more? Learn a new instrument? Learn to cook? Which brings me onto Master Chef.
Apart from the news, and in Autumn my fix of “Strictly”, I don’t watch much telly, but this week I’ve found myself checking it out to see what it has to offer in these challenging times. And it seemed to me that the BBC gave us quite a bit of cooking challenges, which I thought was rather odd and just a bit provocative given there’s fuck all on the supermarket shelves for us to put in our pans at home. But anyway one of the programmes, called Master Chef, which I’d never seen before, was hosted by a couple of geezers mostly humourless and often aggressive. The bald one especially seemed incapable of saying anything without growling. “What pile of shit are you going to cook for us tonight!?” he barked at a poor guy called Neil, who appeared to crumble under pressure and make a balls of filleting a bit of cod. I shouldn’t be surprised if the dish he later served up contained a fingernail or two. “A minute left!” boomed the bald geezer, before helpfully adding, “Sixty seconds!” No need to be so angry fella, I thought, surely can’t be long before you get to cram onto a tube train with all the other happy Londoners.
The other presenter, who sounded non-indigenous to me, had a face incapable of smiling but a remarkable pair of cheeks which always looked full of food. Perhaps he knows something about this Covid 19 that we don’t, I thought, so he was storing nuts in there to see him through the next twelve weeks and possibly the winter that hopefully will follow. Watching programmes like this, I thought, where the prize for the winner seemed to be an apron, would make twelve weeks seem a helluva lot longer.
No, telly is failing me. So I really must find something else to do with my time in isolation.
DID I EARN A COFFEE?
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