We’re on the cusp of the next phase of what you might call restricted living. Come the end of the week we could be in Tier 3, Tier 2, voluntarily sheltering – who knows? – but whatever happens we’re beginning to realise we’re never going to rid ourselves of all the weird habits we’ve developed during the course of two lockdowns.
Here are a few of them:
1. Throwing stuff out every single day
Something about that original super spring clean has turned us into our own hypervigilant robomaids. We’re forever rooting out the dead wood. Rushing to the dump with an obsolete lamp that we missed during the last sweep. Some of us are going to the dump as often as we used to go the pub, possibly instead of the pub. Repeat after me: a house is a machine for living in and let’s keep it that way.
2. Buying just in case
Not stockpiling, you understand. Just finding ourselves picking up a few cans of tinned tomatoes JIC.
3. The Too Good lunch
Back in the old days we got our lunch from Pret A Manger or heated up some soup. Now, we might have the leftovers of an Ottolenghi smorgasbord from two nights earlier; lunch could involve lamb shanks with pomegranate and something with preserved lemons. The Too Good lunch is one of the reasons why we can’t shift the lockdown lard.
4. The random ‘no alcohol/carbs/sugar/raw after 4/eating after 7’ diet
This purge could happen at any time for up to a week (usually more like three days) and is a reaction to the We Deserve It binge drinking and gourmet eating that we all indulged in during Lockdown 1.
5. Unexpected exercise routines
Previously we never dreamt of exercising at home, let alone rolling out a mat in the kitchen in the middle of the day, like some Californian yoga bunny. If you’d told us at the start of the year that He’d be huffing away doing the 24-minute Joe Wicks full workout in one corner while we in the other corner try to relax into a downward dog, we’d have hooted. But that’s the way it is now. Not funny, just normal.
6. Partner fitness policing
This is entirely a consequence of couples exercising from home (see above) and being aware of each other’s ‘routines’. It was OK at the start of lockdown when staying out of each other’s space was the main priority. Now that motivation has tailed off and everyone is half a stone heavier, each other’s fitness has become a subject of shared interest. You may find yourself being encouraged to get outside while it’s light and fit in a quick jog. It’s a lot like being a child again really. Most days you will hear: ‘Why not get the blood pumping for half an hour? It will make you feel so much better!’ Exercise is now on the List Of Things That Are Each Other’s Business, and it never used to be.
7. The wake me up shower
This could happen at any point in the day. The rule with showers used to be morning or evening; now you might have a quickie at 11.45am if the double espresso hasn’t done the trick. It’s a WFH break activity, really.
8. Dry cleaning unnecessarily
Because, as you will remember, dry cleaners were allowed to stay open when everything else shut. It was a permitted trip outdoors, a small adventure that you could save up. Now we’re in the habit of dry cleaning all kinds of things that don’t need to be.
9. Booking phonecall times
Before all this you might have messaged a busy person to say: ‘Talk later?’ Now we all have Zoom mentality and even if we hate it and haven’t used it much recently, we’ll still text each other: ‘Talk Friday 7.30, Just Us?’
All here to stay.