jennifer lawrence, cleaning, american hustle, fist clench

All the lockdown phases

Please may we never say the word ‘Lockdown’ again. But while we’re still in it, let’s a take a lovely nostalgic look back at all the lockdown phases we’ve been through. Sometimes they have overlapped and sometimes one has DOMINATED. Anyway, has anyone else experienced…

The super anal phase

You ordered a labelling machine and some files from Amazon. You looked at the linen cupboard and felt so defeated you had to take a break for 1-3 months – so that part of super-anal didn’t happen. But never mind because then you hit the secret drawer; the one with all the bank statements from 2008-2012 and your home insurance documents and the old passports. You started labelling things but quickly felt exhausted. You decided that it might be satisfying to shred the statements until you put too many in and it got jammed and you went back to Netflix with the half-shredded documents still waving at you accusingly. You put the labelling machine back in the secret drawer and had forgotten about it until now.

The super cleaning phase

You wandered around the first lockdown with a pack of cleaning wipes shoved into your (elasticated) waistband – biodegradable, of course – like a theatre stage manager. You attacked the window sills with cotton buds. You ordered environmentally friendly everything and your home was wildly clean, as if that would save you from the virus and mental collapse. The second lockdown, on the road to your nervous breakdown, you became obsessed with the dust and the cobwebs and the spiders and the dark and the dust, the dust, and you walked around with a feather duster and vacuumed behind the bed, which was one of the most disgusting experiences of your life. Now that you are fully mad, the loo is your only focus – you have watched endless toilet cleaning videos, ordered foaming loo cleaner and many toilet brushes in order to get the perfect angle and you have spent many a Sunday on your hands and knees scrubbing. The loo is clean. Until it isn’t. You are sane. Until you aren’t.

The super stylish phase

There was one day when you heard yourself say out loud, ‘I think I’ve mastered lockdown dressing’. The perfect blend of tracksuit, boot, french-tucked jumper chicness. Except, later, you caught a glimpse of yourself in the mirror… and you didn’t look like an Instagram influencer but rather an unhinged woman who has been kidnapped by a cult, converted, and is now working for their mini-militia.

The super decadent phase

Well, it may be lockdown but that doesn’t mean we have to scrimp. Bring the good wine, not just the cheap shit. Order fresh flowers – maybe sign up for a weekly delivery as flowers are so cheering. Eat fillet steak and maybe use the linen napkins, and the good plates and wear the designer jumper that you bought in the sales in January 2020 before the world collapsed. Because all the little things help, right? Except now you feel super weird about having all this stuff when people are in such hell and the jumper is a weird colour on you and you cannot get the hot sauce stain out of the fucking napkin and yes you are crying.

The super teary phase

Ah yes, the crying. The phase when you basically cried all the time. Cried when you listened to Today. When you watched an advert for a furniture shop. When you went to the post office and the queue was snaking around the block. When your grocery delivery had a stupid substitution. When you realised you hadn’t hugged your mother for 11 months. And the loss and the pain and the guilt and the stress. Oh, wait you’re crying again now.

The super disgusting phase

No one is seeing you so it doesn’t matter that you are eating out of the fridge; that your toenails are making holes in your socks; that you absentmindedly stroke your underarm hair like it’s a pet while watching The Queens Gambit. That you have worn the same pair of trousers since September. That you can’t remember if you brushed your teeth and as for flossing… Floss off.

The super grooming phase

The flip side of the disgusting phase was the phase when you thought, ‘I will not sink to the virus’ levels’ – Spirit of the blitz and all that. So you went on a blitz. You bought an epilator. You trimmed your bush. You bought a cheese grater for your feet and heel balm for the aftermath. You exfoliated, you buffed, you used skincare that made your face tingle and go purple but then look kind of… fresh? You felt clean for the first time in months. Oh and you brushed your hair. When you looked in the mirror you didn’t recognise yourself. Then you realised it was because it was dark and the mirror was dirty and you never look in mirrors. Dear God, who is that woman?

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