The news gets gloomier by the day.
Everything is still extremely shit and scary at the moment. We saw a shocking figure which we thought might be our highest ever death toll per day. And just as we were coming to terms with it, we had another few of them. Some are saying that there’ll be more of them to come, too. Triple figures are what we’re used to now.
Over the past few days we have also had to contend with the idea that the Prime Minister – the person upon whom we pin our hopes to navigate us through this – may not come out of intensive care (although now, since I started writing this, it’s looking more likely that he will).
Added to all of the other – ever multiplying – impacts of the pandemic, we really don’t have the brightest of backdrops at the moment, despite the sunny Easter weekend. Unless we try and deploy some coping mechanisms, we will all cripple ourselves with fear and sadness. I have a few coping mechanisms. The “I can’t wait for-“ game is one, along with the “Lockdown made me crazily excited about-“ game.
They’re pretty self-explanatory titles, because lockdown is also pretty good at hanging the creative juices out to dry (ha, at least they can get out the flat for an afternoon I suppose).
I’ll probably share details of the “Lockdown made me crazily excited about-“ game when this thing has eventually passed and the items seem more ridiculous (for example, the first entry was about how excited I was to cook a swede for the first time. It was the first time I used my new masher, too, and was the highlight of that particular Sunday) but for now, these are some of the things I can’t wait for:
Obviously – and it’ll be the same for everyone – but I can’t wait to see my family, friends and the cat. And to hug them as tight as I can without squeezing them to death… as that would be pretty ironic, and not the happiest reunion.
I also can’t wait until I can stroll around the town centre at leisure again, for absolutely no reason other than to swoon over the Georgian architecture and purchase a treat from a delicatessen. A big fat caramelised onion sausage roll that tastes sweet, smoky and one hundred per cent non-essential should do it.
I can’t wait until I can go into a supermarket and eye up all the food with the freedom of time and space, and make conscientious decisions over whether to swipe left or right on particular items without having to worry about blockading the aisle. A telltale sign of lockdown being over will be when we’re once again able to study the different flavours of KP dry roasted nut, and consider which to include among the Saturday night buffet we’re hosting for friends. What a moment that will be.
I can’t wait until I can sit with friends in a corner of a cosy Faversham pub, laughing rapturously at something which maybe isn’t that funny, but which feels like it is in the frivolity of a “normal” day. And somebody will return to the table with a round of drinks and packet of Scampi Fries for us all to snack on, before comparing tips on how best to fold up the empty wrapper afterwards.
I can’t wait until I’m popping open the lid of some neon treasure trove of Tupperware, whilst engaging in a colourful picnic on some freshly cut grass, on a fine Summer’s day.
I can’t wait until I’m able to drive myself into the heart of Kent and take myself on a stroll up and down some remote hills. And immerse myself in the thrill and stinging nettles of getting lost whilst listening to some happy tunes. And then be able sit down and sip some coffee from the thermos whilst taking in a panoramic view. For as long as I want.
I can’t wait until I’m sat on a train, whizzing somewhere beyond East Kent, sipping a large white Americano bought from the chirpy lady in the kiosk at the station, whilst watching distant fields roll by through the window.
I can’t wait until my intercom buzzes with the arrival of an actual guest (as opposed to a delivery driver). A guest. Who wants to come in to my flat. And sit on the sofa. And drink a coffee from one of my mugs. And use the loo.
Please! Just do as much as you want here in Chateau du ShittinghellI’veonlyhadmyselfforcompanyforthreemonthsandshe’sprettyannoying. I might just stand in the corner maintaining 2 metres distance and stare at you in awe for the first hour, but please don’t let it make you feel uncomfortable.
I can’t wait to be able to go back to the beach and take a paddle on a Summer evening. I think by then, I won’t even care about the uncomfortable pebbles or seaweed. Will happily decorate myself with the latter if it means being able to swim.
I can’t wait to be able to have a polite conversation with a passing stranger in the street without it feeling entirely awkward for both of us. To be able to look somebody in the eye whilst speaking to them, and not having to fret or worry about how far breath travels.
…Isn’t it telling that most of these are things easily taken for granted in the past? Maybe many of us are learning that actually, we already had everything we needed.
I can’t wait to appreciate all of these things – and everything else I’m missing – again. More than ever before.
View of Faversham as seen during a recent one-daily-exercise. Visible towards the right of the centre is the unmistakable lattice spire of St Mary’s parish church.