The following is conjured by Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Sunday Writing Prompt
129 days (and counting) of me, myself and I inside these same four walls.
The blackboard reads “2020 DOA” – a joke written in jest at being sent to ‘work from home’, weeks after I had returned to work from a long hot summer.
Before. Before is another place and time, another world, another person’s life. Before I was island hopping with my best friend. Before I was watching the burning yellow horizon of Victoria from the sky. Before I was rained out at an Elton John concert. Before, my biggest worry was being competent at my new job. Before.
Now, the flip flops have retired underneath my desk. Now, the fedora’s have been replaced with beanies. Now the fields are empty. And all that remains are pictures and postcards of the time before.
When I was eight years old, a film called Groundhog Day came to my little English village. I hated the idea of it. But other people. being fans of Bill Murray made me trek to the cinema to watch. I remembered the glee when Bill Murray broke the cycle, and woke up in tomorrow land. I sit here now, wondering how did he do it? How can we do it? And what does tomorrow land look like?
I like so many others around the world, are lucky that Groundhog Day is my only problem. I have a roof, I have an income, and I have food in my belly. So, although I sound like that whiny eight year old, I know how lucky I am. And I count my blessings everyday.
Lockdown life has become all about routine. I still wake up at 5am; I do my little workout and inhale a giant bowl of cereal before dressing for work. From dawn to dusk I am sitting at my desk. At 11am I religiously turn up the volume of ABC News playing in the background so I can get the latest report from the Premier, and the Chief Health Officer. I also religiously turn off all communication devices at 3.30pm and go for a walk.
Walking is my one hour daily exercise. It is my only hour of outside time. It’s one hour where I turn off the noise. I plan my route precisely. A one hour loop around my urban home. By the door, my Skechers, hoodie and face mask lie ready and waiting. About half way I do the daily check in with the elderly parents living 40km away and offer solutions that avoid me having go to them. I message my brother who lives alone and make sure he’s okay. It’s the only hour, other than when I am asleep, that I am not looking at a screen.
In my city, there are only four reasons to leave your house. Masks are mandatory and social distancing is a no-brainer. A handshake has been replaced with a nod or bow, and smiles come from the eyes. I mumble hello to neighbours and wear the mumbles coming back.
I dream of tomorrow land. I dream of seeing, speaking, and hugging my friends in person. I dream of flying to an unknown island or a very familiar island. I dream of sharing coffee with my colleagues, and laughing over the technological fails that have haunted our home experience. I dream.