In an unprecedented situation, the entire population of the UK has found itself in isolation, socially distancing and in lockdown within their homes. We asked three Londoners to record their daily experiences in a diary. Are we more alone now than ever?
This is the third of our four-day series documenting three people’s experiences in lockdown. We have Robyn, 25, who was recently laid off from her job in recruitment and is laugh-crying her way through her second week of quarantine alone in her Stratford flat after experiencing symptoms. Andrea is a grandmother in her 60’s living with her husband and adult son who is a key worker for the council. She has COPD and is both anxious and stoic in her response to lockdown. Finally, we have Liam, a hedonistic 33-year-old professional who has moved into his office building with his girlfriend.
Yesterday, during a video-call with her boyfriend, Robyn started to realise that she may not see him properly for longer than she had thought. Andrea followed in the footsteps of millions of others in stocking up on ingredients to bake bread, you know, just in case. But she’s worried about her elderly neighbours who are visibly terrified of catching the virus. Liam has been trying to stay active through runs with his girlfriend Libby, but is starting to feel the strain of forced repetition affecting his mental health.
I slept in today, because I was up until 1am drinking wine and admiring how Ragnar Lothbrok – number one Viking in the TV Show Vikings – commands the loyalty of his people.
However, I will be active. In the last few days I’ve jumped off my home workouts to refocus for the interviews, but today will be the day! I could do it in my PJs, but I want to feel normal, so I get into my workout gear. I only have ankle weights, so I get to squatting and jumping. An hour later I’m out of breath. I call Johnny and ask him to meet.
I cycle to a park and we sit two meters apart and it sinks in that this is our reality for the foreseeable future. Nonetheless, it’s good to see him, in person, in the flesh, close enough that I could walk over and touch him, but I won’t because Boris says no.
For dinner I make a Thai chicken curry to treat myself, but I also decide to cut down on meat from now until the foreseeable future. I’m not sure where the evening goes, but I fall asleep on the sofa full of curry. I wonder if being quarantined with John Mulaney would be a blessing or a curse; how long would it take before he turned on me for being funnier than him?
I didn’t really do much today, just pottered about doing some cleaning and tidying; wanted to relax a bit.
Last night I started getting worried because I hadn’t heard from Charlie, my grandson, for a couple of days. He’s on his own in his flat, and with all this going on… Thankfully, he rang me this afternoon and explained he was just sleeping because he’s been working nights – I told him he has to text me every day.
Sammie-Anne popped round (well she stood away by the door), to drop off a card for Samuel’s birthday tomorrow. She also bought me one, so I had one to give him. She has been amazing, she keeps checking on me and sending me messages – she’s my wee diamond. That’s the killer though, when your family can’t come around, but it’s how it is.
I know I can still text them, but I hate texting – you’ll get a short and sharp message from me. I like a voice, I suppose I’m old fashioned. I think people are losing the art of conversation through texting. It’s nicer to call someone for a chat, it’s more social and you feel better after it, that there’s other people in this world outside your bubble. That voice every other day, it helps.
I woke up early at 6:15am and waited an acceptable amount of time before starting to annoy the angel sleeping – snoring, next to me, then started to annoy her. After an indiscernible amount of time, she was thoroughly annoyed so I got up to make her a coffee and talk her into doing some yoga. The lounge has some room for it, and she has promised to be able to do one proper push up before quarantine has ended… We’ll see.
Work starts, lunch comes around. I made a killer Grilled Cheese, but overall the same old but with fewer meetings today. All this does is enable us to ponder starting drinking earlier, again.
I’ve been purposefully dodging mainstream media and my politicised friends on Facebook, opting to disregard the potentially misleading media for now until we all know more. Caught up with some friends in the evening for remote quiz games and started building our own version of the Game of Life; Covid-19.
As told to Evie Breese and Gina Gambetta
This is day two of four in Eastlondonlines’ #IsLondonLonely? series. Read the rest of the series here