Pandemic diary 11: Hands books marks totes Friday nights loss

I used to be scared of Banjo, a long-term resident at Fat Fluffs as he was fast and bitey but in time he became my favourite velvety-soft bun. Once you'd actually caught him, he seemed to almost like a cuddle. Banjo was eventually adopted and lived happily ever after.

I realised I'm making daily shit sandwiches out of this situation: a fluffy bunny and reasons to be grateful wrap around thoughts about life under a scary global pandemic.

I nearly didn't write a post today – I am so tired. But then things went quiet, and of course I started thinking about it all again. There are no conversations right now that aren't related to coronavirus in some way. There are few thoughts that aren't affected by it. It's kind of like going through a breakup with the normal world but you're the one who has been dumped and left to pick up the pieces of your life. It's doable but it's going to be hard for a while, maybe a long while.

Anyway, some quick notes. Because I'm tired and it's midnight. And now today is tomorrow. It was all I could to do remember what I was thinking about as I powered up the lap pie. My memory mantra was: "Hands books marks totes Friday nights loss."

Hands – things must be normalising because my hands which were red and stingy with all the hand washing are now back to normal.

Books – I had a flashback to before all this, when things were 'normal' (as in not so crazy you couldn't have a life). For some reason the memory that popped up was of Simpsons of Piccadilly, which was a department store turned vast bookshop in London. It had concave glass windows along the front, so you could almost lean into the store, endless floors of books and a café in the basement. My favourite bit was the travel section at the back of the store with its own frontage on to Jermyn St. I used to sit for hours on weekends reading and choosing a book to buy.

Marks – the sudden appearance floor markings everywhere as if to underline the social distancing rules, like chevrons on a motorway spacing us part. Sainsbury's had pavement marks for queuing outside but also in every aisle and right up to the tills. They didn't really work inside the store, only for queues. Marks were also spray-painted marks on the pavement outside cashpoints, banks and building societies in Kings Heath. Queueing is a very British thing and we take it very seriously. But it's the 2m thing we can't seem to measure. I want to photograph all the markings but I can't.

Totes – somewhere in the supermarket, 10 years' worth of tote bags fell of my trolley hook. Conferences, tech brand swag, crowdfunder rewards… there was history in those bags. I only spotted they were missing when I was in the till queue. I felt I had lost the equivalent of my iPhone. I panicked. I felt gutted. I left all my shopping and ran around looking for the lost and found. A kind, kind person had handed them in. I was so happy.

Friday nights – going out and socialising is a function of a hard working week. The past two weeks I've worked harder than usual – thanks to a bigger comms workload, longer hours, last-minute requests – but there is no Friday night outlet. I finished work at 7.50pm, brought the laundry in, did some bunny healthcare and – that's it. The reward system is changing. What is the new reward, the new outlet to expunge the stress? We need to let it out somehow. I worry that this lack will bottle up into something.

Loss – I can't even remember what this was. Memory loss? Ah, I think it was about the fact that Pete and I were finally maybe going to go to Berlin. I would so love to be on holiday right now, away from all this. It feels offensive to even think about these things when the real losses are stacking up in numbers every day – 39,000 UK cases, 3605 UK deaths, 684 yesterday. The numbers are still rising exponentially. There is a time lag and the effect of the (too late?) lockdown has not yet made a difference.

Today I am thankful for my bed. That I found some flour in the supermarket. And that someone handed my totes in. Small things.

Oh and yesterday's Virtual Moselele was quite amazing.

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