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 fourth 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, Robyn and Andrea were missing the people they love from a distance. Robyn two meters from her boyfriend during a social distanced date in the park, and Andrea’s granddaughter standing outside the threshold. Robyn is waiting to hear back from the recruitment agencies she interviewed with these past few days.The monotony of digital meetings has started to get to Liam, who seems to be cracking open the wine earlier and earlier…
I try not to choke up in the shops when I get the call. “If circumstances were different, then we would love you to start but right now… We’re going to have to be realistic and pause our discussions.” I knew this was going to happen, it was unavoidable but it still hurts.
The best thing about having a bike is that you can shout while you cycle really fast and if people hear you then it doesn’t matter because it’s only a second. I’m cycling to my friends’ house. They’ve been quarantining for two weeks as well so we’re all good to be around each other. It’s hard to put into words how excited I am; I’m literally brimming with happiness and cannot stop smiling.
I didn’t know but the girls put on a Mexican surprise party for me with vegan quesadillas and margaritas and happiness and people and stupid stories! At some point in the night, I realise that while I got on with isolation as best I could I really needed to see people, to be around them. I’m worried for how other people without support systems are holding up. These are dark times, but friends and family are the shining light at the end of the tunnel.
It was Samuel’s birthday today, he’s officially a pensioner! I sang happy birthday to him of course. This morning he popped to the shops with William, both wearing their masks. He came back joking he had brought his birthday treat for our dinner – chicken. It’s sad that I can’t go out and buy him anything, once everything has passed, I’ll get him something nice.
I’m still missing going out, seeing people, just saying good morning – it’s a simple thing I know. But like I said, it’s alright I’ve got Sam and William. Sam and I are almost constantly indoors together, so he does get on my nerves – I don’t get on his nerves, I’m one of the most placid people. I say to him, I may love you, but I don’t like you at this moment.
The highlight of my day was that we had a loaf of bread that was going to waste so Sam fed it to the pigeons; I’ve never seen so many come in all my life – they must be starving. I did chuckle a little.
It is nice for us all to spend time together and talk more. That’s all you can do in this situation – take the positive out of it. Watching the telly, it’s easy to pick loads of negatives out, but there’s no point in doing that. I think it’s better to think of something happy, think of a part of your life that something happy happened to you. Sam jokes that my happy thing is him, I guess he’s right.
My late alarm goes off at 8:00 am – What day is it? Where am I? Who am I? Is this all a dream? Nope, just a hangover. Covid-19 still exists, however my biggest concern this morning is how to get through a tight schedule of meetings and retain information.
I’m as lucky as it gets; getting to act out my favourite movie scene everyday with my new (and only) real-life office-mate, aka Goddess Angel. If you hadn’t guessed, the scene is Will Ferrel and his fellow anchormen’s rendition of Afternoon Delight, but outside of that there is definitely an air of Groundhog Day going on.
Ferrel vs. Bill Murray would be a tough choice as to who to have locked in your cupboard to bring out for comic relief during these crazy times. Maybe both could have a stand-up comic battle everyday to see who gets to enjoy the stale bread building up on my cupboard which I keep buying more of in the store as a reason to go out. Yep, no matter how much distraction or how well I think I can deal with this, I’m going insane.
As told to Evie Breese and Gina Gambetta
This is day the final day of four in Eastlondonlines’ #IsLondonLonely? series. Read the rest of the series here