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EDITORIAL MEDIA OPINION

Life under covid-19 – Lockdown Lockdown whose boredom is the worst of them all?

Hello world! As I sit at my desk gazing at what is fast-becoming an overgrown garden – my daughter thought earlier this April that she would beat her boredom by mowing the grass and instead mowed the electric wire of my now useless lawnmower, I’m wondering at which point we shall all lose our collective marbles never to experience sanity again!

 

If this pandemic is overwhelming all our respective health services, I wonder just how many people will sign up for antidepressants and other magic pills at the end of this unfriendly rainbow.

We might make it indeed, but in which state we shall  come out of it is still out for debate.

 

But hey, humanity has gone through worse crises … And as some people have argued ‘ad nauseam’ a little alone time might force us to reflect upon our lives and force us to reassess.

 

But if like me you’re not a big fan of meditation … my mind is way too loud for any of it, and instead you prefer throwing tantrums at the universe and assault your keyboard with angry strokes to ease the restlessness this article is exactly what the doctor ordered.  

 

Life in lockdown is not a pleasant experience! Let me rephrase that: life in lockdown is horridly frustrating. It’s not so much that I miss going out or meeting up with real life people as opposed to their virtual alter egos, but the fact that CHOICE was arbitrarily taken away from me. 

Now add to that my French heritage and thus my ability to moan at EVERYTHING just for sport and you will understand why any infringement on my civil rights is a direct affront to my sense of self. In any case I got plenty to say on this new covid-19 world order!

 

Even a social bear like me likes to venture in the world once in a blue moon if anything to share political opinions and lambaste radical basket-cases on the importance of free speech and political pluralism … also this little thing called secularism. Being sent to my room is not working out for me! 

 

In times of lockdown what is a girl to do? 

 

True, moaning about boredom and freedom of movements may sound unbearingly selfish to many but it doesn’t make those feelings any easier to get over.

 

In any case 2020 is one for the history books, right there next to the Black Plague, Brazil losing to Germany at the World Cup and President Donald Trump arguing with North Korea whose button was bigger.

 

2020 sucks! We are not half way through the year yet and we’ve already faced a litany of catastrophes: we almost started WW3 courtesy of Mr Trump’s decision to assassinate a top Iranian military official, then Australia was literally on fire, and now Covid-19! I dare not imagine what else is in store for us.

 

At this point aliens could walk into Time Square and I’m not certain people would notice … well actually no one would notice because no one is there to notice.

 

But anyway … back to the point of this article and my little social experiment.

 

What do my fellow Brits do to ease the pain of social distancing now that their personal life has been reduced to mingling with immediate family aka those people whom we love dearly but we would much rather stay away from if given the choice! As a single mum of two gremlins I long for those days where my kids would be away from home only to come home to ignore me. Now they ignore me only to then vent their frustration on me and demand profound conversations on the meaning of life or my thoughts on David Icke’s claims that Covid-19 is an elaborate creation architected by the lizard people to usher the new world order.

 

My son is quite literally existing in complete intellectual suspension – I lost him to video games and the siren call of conspiracists’ podcasts. My suggestion he could use his time reading some of the French classics were met with so much sarcasm I shall never attempt such advice. Youtube can nurse my son through the lockdown, I’ll deal with the repercussions later.

 

As for my daughter she’s hibernating in her room busy developing what I’m sure is a new ecosystem. I’m not allowed to come in to clean it so let’s just say I’ve lost this battle as well!

 

So … social experiment! Well actually the idea came to me  by way of best friend Millie, who happens, Thank you Cosmos, to be also my neighbour and partner in crimes. If not for her and the fact that we count as one household giving the proximity I would have completely lost it.

 

Lovely Millie told me about this app: Azar, which randomly connects people across the world via video calls and essentially allows users to meet perfect strangers for a chat. Welcome to the weird and ingenious world that is virtual socializing.

 

And so here we were Saturday night sitting at my kitchen table – snacks and drinks on hands, ready to face our peers to see how everyone was getting on during the quarantine.

 

What a precious experience that was indeed! First I learnt that people have yet to master the art of facing their camera when engaged in a video chat … I was made to look at many ceilings indeed during our little Azar experience.

 

I also learnt that social distancing apparently ends with the cover of darkness as friends congregate in cars to then take their boredom to social media … one can only be good for so long without breaking a few rules it turns out.

 

On a less pleasant note … although I don’t think any of us really minded, we experienced rejection on a whole new level of rude. Since video calls can end by one simple swipe we were ruthlessly swiped away by several individuals – for some reason South Korea is not a great fan of my face or Millie’s for that matter. 

 

And here I was thinking I was delightful regardless. But then again we were just as ruthless swiping mid-sentence,  so fairplay everyone!

 

Now, one little matter did stick out and  while somewhat amusing at the time may be a worry down the line … people have taken to alcohol and recreational drugs, mainly cannabis to soothe their anxiety and pass the time.

 

About 90 percent of our interactions were high, drunk or both at the same time. Grant you it made for pretty weird conversations and I can’t remember the last time I laughed that hard while in my kitchen on a Saturday night, but it’s slightly unnerving to think that coping in a lockdown equates to chemically comatosing ourselves.

 

Now you could well argue that my experiment is unreliable and unscientific … yes absolutely. Two friends swiping away on their Iphone does not make a study but it makes for an interesting read! Or so I’d like to think.

 

So to all of you my fellow quarantinians, might you be in the U.K. or the U.S. or even South Korea where my face has been mercilessly swiped away as you would a fly ease off on the booze and hallucinogens.

 

Lockdown is a drag but you will need your liver and your IQ to survive the post-covid-19 world.

 

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Catherine Shakdam

Catherine is a geopolitical analyst and commentator for the Middle East with a special focus on Yemen and the Gulf countries. She has been published across several prominent media outlets including: The Huffington Post, Sputnik, Citizen Truth, Press TV, The New Eastern Outlook, RT, MintPress, Ayatollah Khameini’s website, Open Democracy, the Foreign Policy Journal, The Duran, The American Herald Tribune, Katehon, and many more. Educated in both the UK and France, Catherine’s expertise and research on Yemen have been quoted by the UN Security Council on several occasions since 2011.

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2 Comments

  1. Larry Stout April 29, 2020

    What a refreshing bit of unpretentious experiential revelation, Catherine. I likewise am trapped inside a very loud mind, here in Kuala Lumpur. I read and review (castigate) books online for revenge against the virus gods, but we have only ourselves to blame for vastly overcrowding our limited-capacity space rock: it’s just another Malthusian catastrophe. Nature always deals harshly with overpopulation.

    Reply
  2. Larry Stout April 29, 2020

    Soothing music to quiet the loud minds of quarantinians:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XSqFCgwbBss

    Reply

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