I’m trying to chronicle how a typical day in these Covid Times goes by. Let’s see, I wake up late, which is around 7.30 a.m., and play with Facebook. Amuse myself with jokes, memes, insults and the spreading gloom. Finally I rise around 9.00 a.m. when my body is starting to stiffen as exercise has been limited to thumb movements. Breakfast is the same old oatmeal and almond milk routine, spiced with raisins, wild blueberries, and cinnamon – the anti-cholesterol concoction that I can now make in my sleep. Occasionally, bacon and eggs are on the menu with toast, butter and jam – those are “treat days,” when the monotony of oatmeal begins to make its presence felt and I start burning the goopy stuff.
Then it’s to the newspaper, a very thinned down edition, full of pandemic news, views and opinions, and historical pictures of sports tournaments when they existed. There are more opinions in the paper nowadays as science is learning on the fly and changing its mind daily. I am still on my solitary cup of tea for the day when I switch back to my smartphone – there is much more interesting stuff here: Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, e-mail, and all the non-fake-news that I subscribe to, like CNN, CBC, BBC, SLBC etc. (is CNN fake yet?).
If it’s not one of my days to head into my travel agency at the shuttered-down mall to chalk up another day of zero sales, multiple refunds, chargebacks, and to watch our bank balance spiralling down from black to red, I go into my writing studio and try to get creative. But nothing imaginative comes out. I have been never blocked as a writer before. Last year, despite publishing four books for my publishing company, launching one of my own, running a busy travel agency, taking four extensive trips abroad, playing a lot of golf, and recovering from a cardiac arrest, I wrote two complete novels. This year, with all this time on my hands, I have written one measly short story. What is happening? Is Covid-19 also a disease of the mind? Does it cripple us with paranoia, while enveloping our minds in an ennui that says, “Ah, well, I can always get it done tomorrow”?
Before I know what, it is lunch time. Time for a soup (half a can, the rest for tomorrow), some bread and the dessert treat of a couple of squares of dark chocolate. Then back to the computer, shooting off some e-mails, responding to inane Facebook posts with equally idiotic replies, trying to write a review of a book I took two weeks to finish (pre-Covid, a book lasted no more than 4 days with me, despite my full schedule). I resist the urge to have another cup of tea to wake me up from the mid-afternoon energy drop (remember, that peeing thing as one gets older!) and try writing in this blog.
At 4 p.m. I wrap tools and head out on my walk, the book review unfinished. This is the highlight of my day, for I walk about 75 minutes, fast, down to the water and along the two beaches our town is blessed with. Covid Times are great for walking, there is not a cat out. The occasional pedestrian hurriedly crosses the street upon seeing me barrelling down as if I were His Excellency Sir Covid himself. I stop to take pictures of the serene townscape and lake to post later on Facebook and one-up my friends who live in crowded cities or curfewed locales. After all, I must capture some beauty even in these times.
Returning, I do my stretches, an important activity as my muscles are atrophying with stasis and statins. Then it’s time to cook – another highlight. I have never cooked so much in a million years, and my attempts are getting more daring each day. A pinch of this, and a touch of that, notch up on this, tone down on that, and when in doubt use everything on the spice rack. Oh, and a double shot of good Irish whiskey goes well while cooking, with some spiced nuts on the side for “taste.” Don’t forget to top up the drink liberally.
By the time, my hard-working wife comes home (she is an essential worker, I am considered non-essential), dinner is going great and yours truly is in fine fettle. After a sumptuous repast, I start getting drowsy. Time to crank up Netflix, but the download fails on an Internet connection that is stretched to the limit in our neighbourhood, filled with other self-isolators like me. Or have the hackers networked all our computers to run an illicit cluster computer operation, thus hogging all our bandwidth? Who knows? There are plenty of conspiracy theories abroad today.
Finally it’s time to read my next book which I purchased off Amazon, now that the library is closed, and which I have been trying to get into for the last four days (let alone finish in four days, like I used to). Midway, everything goes quiet. Suddenly – crash! I jolt awake. I have fallen asleep reading this book in my comfortable arm chair, and my tablet is prone on the floor – mercifully it is not broken. “I think it’s time for bed,” my wife says knowingly. I hastily concur.
Tomorrow will be another day, very much like this one.