How am I a lucky man?
I’m a natural ‘Lockdowner’ – an instinctive hermit! It’s my nature to sit on the sidelines – it’s just that the sidelines are a little more to the side, these days. Retired and retiring – that’s me!
Alright, time to stop gloating. I wouldn’t presume to instruct anyone how to live their life, but if your toes are beginning to twitch and you’re picking fights with the dog, here are a few possibly helpful tips from an old head.
1. Married Bliss:
If you’re young and in love, being in each other’s arms for every minute of every day will be wearing a bit thin by now. If you have grown cynical with age, it probably never held a great deal of attraction for you. Either way, avoid extremes: criticizing your partner as they go about their daily tasks will start to carp after a while, ‘constructive suggestions’ may induce violence. If you must offer ‘advice’, pick upon activity with potential for a soft landing – when the blinds need to be drawn and when not will merely result in a broken blind; commenting on deficiencies in ironing technique could end in physical injury.
2. Give each other space. When you agreed to live together you never agreed to twenty-four hours of actual proximity. You were both working. You met briefly, morning and evening. That’s all you ever agreed to. Change that arrangement as little as possible. If you can’t, plead ‘self isolation’ and go and live in the shed.
3. Manage your space. This is particularly difficult in the UK, as very few of us inhabit mansions or castles where sat nav is needed to find the bathroom. For most, the standard three-bedroom house can still, with a little ingenuity, afford ‘office’ space for each grown-up. Once achieved, that’s PRIVATE TERRITORY. If you want to share, use the router.
4. Manage the children. You can’t manage children – don’t try. However, if you have a household PET you can corral them together as much as possible (this works best with dogs and cats – Iguanas, tarantulas and snakes might yield less satisfactory results).
5. Avoid ‘news’ as much as possible.
In UK ten minutes twice daily is all that’s necessary to keep up with the latest rules. The rest is mawkish repetition of slogans meant to subdue the most obtuse of us, and propaganda to persuade us we are doing everything better than everybody else (untrue).
6. Take the six-foot gap convention seriously. Social distancing means a reappraisal of our subject matter, unless we can be sure our conversation with the added volume required won’t be overheard;
“How are yer, lad?”
“Fine now, like!”
“How are the warts?”
“Clearin’ up. That ointment’s marvellous
“Helluva weekend, wasn’t it?”
Save conversations on personal matters for texting, or, if you prefer, confidential chats with your fridge, microwave, or dish washer (avoid discussions with the cooker, they tend to get overheated: nudge, nudge). I read of someone who was outraged to think he had started talking to his fridge – I couldn’t understand that: doesn’t everyone talk to their white goods? I’ve had some the best advice from my tumble-dryer down the years. Try it!
7. Keep yourself interested. Read, but target your reading. Research something you can learn from – become knowledgeable in the sleeping habits of the Pipistrelle bat, or study Welsh, so the next time you go to Portmeirion, you’ll be able to discuss china with the girls in the shop.
Remember, boredom is at the heart of this thing. Boredom is more deadly than any virus.
Enjoy lockdown, and above all, STAY SAFE!
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