Number 1: I’ve still got it in the headstand department
I wasn’t sure if I could still go up with straight legs. But it appears I can. I am a yoga warrior! However, I am struggling to execute the sideways crow – so too the ordinary crow (my spindly arms can’t cope with my extreme body length which means I have a tendency of shooting forward onto my head). I’ve been Zooming with my yoga school for eight weeks now and whilst I often miscalculate my living room dimensions and find myself stuck under the coffee table, generally speaking, I can do my favourite classes without injuring myself or the furniture. And, I can trump with impunity which is a revelation!
Number 2: I am a monster in Sainsbury’s
I am that mad, hairy woman in the supermarket who uses her trolley as a battering ram and has conversations with empty shelves. “Where are they all?”, I plead open armed as I turn the corner at Jams only to find a big gap where the eggs should be. I start to move off with a growl but then spy a half-dozen box lurking at the back, its lid half open. A reject maybe? I reach out to investigate further. BLUE! I recoil. No, I do not want to buy blue eggs laid by hens fed on “brightly coloured flowers for a more intensely yellow yolk”. I don’t want Instagram-friendly boiled eggs, I just want to make a Victoria Sponge – a little bit of something sweet to take the edge off my snarl.
Despite the polite two metre queue outside Sainsbury’s, once the doors open, it’s Supermarket Sweep. People flap around me like octopus at a Five Rhythms dance gathering. Last week, I shopped for four neighbours. I was in unfamiliar territory: panty liners, cat soup, indigestion relief, sweet white wine, packet cappuccinos! It was quite an education, discovering other people’s fancies and must-haves. In a busy aisle, I adopted my usual anti-Covid comestible procurement tactic i.e. hurling my upper torso forward in a fast lunge while simultaneously drawing back my groin. I’d kept myself safe but then, on leaving the supermarket, there was an ugly incident at the head of the escalator with a chunky vegetable soup. It fell out of one of my hastily packed shopping bags and exploded all over the floor and up the legs of the security guard. This caused a bottleneck at the sliding doors with people running into each other’s trolleys and sliding uncontrollably in the soup trail. Meanwhile, the security man, giving perilous disregard to any social distancing, retrieved the squished soup carton, and came so close I thought he was going to kiss me. As if to add insult to injury, having acquired a replacement chunky vegetable soup, my trolley wheels jammed and I got stuck on the end of the travelator. Sainsbury’s resident homeless man had to jump up and help drag me off it. Another growl and a very loud ‘oh for God’s sake’.
Number 3 – Too much Netflix can lead to wet dreams
I have been introduced to Netflix (which I’d hitherto avoided because I wanted to have a life). And there I discover my favourite show of all time: Mad Men. Like cracking open a new tube of Pringles, I have relished my first laptop forays but now (also like cracking open a new tube of Pringles), I find I can’t stop and am binge watching to the point where my waking and sleeping life are hopelessly confused. One minute, I’m lying in bed watching Don Draper finger some woman in a hotel vestibule; the next, I’ve drifted off to sleep only to find myself smoking a Sobranie in Sterling Cooper Draper Price’s conference room while Don (who has gone off Betty but has yet to meet Megan) is delving into my panty girdle. I wouldn’t mind but I’ve already seen all 92 episodes of Mad Men TWICE. I feel sick.
Number 4 – I have no urge to play the ukulele..
…or learn Russian or build a cold frame from a few discarded pallets and an old pane of glass. Like many, I have cleaned my skirting boards and hoovered under the bed but that was eight weeks ago. My body may be incarcerated but my mind is free to explore the far recesses of its creativity. For example, I have fashioned a bird feeder from a discarded grapefruit skin and some garden string. Very resourceful, I thought smugly as I hung it up in the holly tree. It’s been a week of watching and waiting and now I’ve gone full Johnny Morris, anthropomorphising the wildlife: “Brown nibbles, south south east. Repeat, brown nibbles, south south east,” (seagulls on a flypast). “Fuck that manky bowl of crud, let’s have a fight,” (rival magpies pecking each other’s eyes out in my lilac tree). “Come on in, it’s a lovely bit of compost,” (sparrows having an exuberant soil bath in my raised bed). I have learnt that my tits love euphorbia and squirrels freeze when you shout at them for digging holes in your broad bean bucket. Meanwhile, my homemade feeder just swings in the breeze, forlorn and bereft of avian visitors. Are the birds blind or are my seeds bad? Is my wasted bird feeder a metaphor for my lonely, listless Covid existence? Am I being paid back for eschewing the Zoom harp and poetry writing sessions or my utter failure, despite having all the time in the world, to finally get to the end of Middlemarch and/or countless other unbearable 19th century Penguin classics? If I had my eyebrows trimmed would any of these things actually matter?