You are deeply confused. Will you ever have a normal face-to-face conversation again? Will that feel good or bad? Will you keep glancing to the side expecting to catch a glimpse of yourself on a screen to check how bad your roots/beard is looking? Here are some ways to recreate the things you are missing and maybe practise a little bit for the lifting of lockdown:
It’s the hottest spot in town. Does it take bookings? If yes, get yourself a table at 9:45pm by which time you are so ravenous and tired you will eat all the artisan bread rolls before the ‘waiter’ has taken your order. If they don’t take bookings, queue outside your kitchen for 20 minutes. Once you usher yourself in, realise you are over-dressed, too old for ‘the crowd’ and don’t want anything on the menu. Order chips. Worry about who else is ordering chips, because you are so not sharing. Worry about who is going to pay for the wine because you won’t be drinking much. Drink all the wine. Hand over hundreds of pounds and wait in the corridor for an Uber, needing to pee.
Going to the gym
Wander around your house half-naked with headphones on, blasting some strange techno situation that is supposed to be motivational but is actually Soviet-level sinister. Experiment with various towel styles: naked but for hair towel, loose around waist, clutched tightly around body so no one sees a thing. Run up the stairs for a bit then have a little sit-down scrolling through your phone, followed by a shower with rubbishy, watered-down shower gel. You’ve forgotten your body lotion and your clean knickers. Spend all day a little bit crispy around the edges and panicking about being pantless.
Who can wait to hear the words “boarding pass please”? Although obviously your Greta guilt is now off the scale because BIRDSONG. Anyway, if you can be persuaded to go on a trip, practise by: squeezing a carry-on suitcase full of clothes you never wear because you imagine they are “holiday you” but when you get on holiday you realise you are still you and you hate everything you’ve brought. Also grab a handbag (that you don’t like) that is Mary Poppins cavernous. Walk around your home for 2.5 hours with these heavy bags full of stuff you resent. Get to ‘security’ and search yourself, throwing away half your toiletries because you have forgotten the 100 ml rule. Eat snacks for an hour because airport calories don’t count, all the while sitting staring maniacally at your clock so you don’t MISS THE GATE.
Open your cupboard. Do a mad grab of anything you can see, with no understanding or consideration for what actually looks good on you (this should not be a problem as this is 90% of your wardrobe). Carry armfuls of it to the smallest space you can find – preferably with smear test lighting and a terrifying hall of mirrors. Don’t forget to play some terrible musak and turn up the heating so you get sweats and panicky. Struggle in and out of everything while trying to keep your trainers and jeans on. Leave on the verge of tears without having bought anything.
Going on a first date
Anxiety levels? Carrie in Homeland. Horn levels? Normal People. Extreme depilation necessary. This might take a day, so give yourself time. You go so savage that you accidentally give your pubes a Hitler moustache. Obviously you have a couple of vast spots – lockdown acne is a thing. Wear something annoying that you are constantly picking at or trying to adjust, heightening your anxiety. DRINK. Drink a lot. Maybe you have sex, maybe you don’t. You can’t be sure because you can’t remember much after the grappa. GRAPPA?????!!!!!
Do you miss the cut and thrust of getting to work? Well, all you need to sharpen that particular memory is to set your alarm (remember those?). Wake up, have a shower and sit in a towel panicking for 20 minutes (so far, so lockdown). Get someone to hide your phone, keys, shoes and bag, so you spend 30 minutes running around saying/shouting, “Where’s my…?” while drinking (and spilling) all the coffee before finding your phone in the fridge. Leave the house so hot and harassed you consider going back in to get changed. Walk down the street for a bit before rushing back in because you think you’ve left the gas on. Finally stand (there are no available seats) in your corridor in a home-made face mask (knickers, obviously) listening to informative podcasts that will furnish you with dinner party talking points. Probably stay there all day.
Waste an hour of your time eating biscuits, half-listening and hoping no one asks you a question. Realise it could all have been an email.