Corona Diaries: Diary Entry

Image © Maxine Gallagher 2020

by Maxine Gallagher March 20, 2020
Some corona thoughts to let off some verbal steam:
– There is so so much good content being streamed and sent around right now. Live concerts from famous people, opera, authors talking, yoga… I was all excited about this, then three days in I have to finally accept that this is not a holiday in which I lay about and consume free cultural treats from people who should really be earning money from me anyway. In fact it’s the opposite. It’s a busman’s staycation with tiny unpredictable coworkers. I will not be watching concerts, I will be working when the TV’s on and building lego when the TV’s off. I will be making breakfast/lunch/dinner/dancing to gangam style/hanging washing/tidying up toys/reading stories/telling people to stop calling each other “dumb” and “blöde” then starting work at 10pm, which is the time at which my brain has just about drained itself of its binge diet of corona stories and I can focus for more than 1.5 minutes in a row without being asked for a snack/help with finding a hot wheels car that was rammed under the sofa by a sibling.
– Social distancing needs rebranding. It’s a horrible phrase that reminds us that we all have to stay apart from each other and compounds the misery. What else can we call it? Corona cuddling? Germ-free gap? The IloveyousomuchIdontwanttomakeyousick position? The Icanseeyourporesyou’retooclose hustle? The fart radius lean? Spit-free zone? WHO wave? Corona cushioning? Protection parting? Social scatter? Breath barrier?
– I played bubble football once. We should all be wearing those when we walk around. They weigh 15kgs and this would also solve the exercise issue.
– I feel like the slowdown can be a very good thing for us all. I hope we learn something from all this when life gets busy again.
– People become very funny when things aren’t funny. I’ve never seen so many hilarious things being passed around.
– It’s fascinating to see not just the things people panic buy, but the things that people “I’d rather starve than eat this” don’t buy. Celeriac. Pigs trotters. Balsam tissues. Spelt flour. Wholemeal pasta.
– My kids touch EVERYTHING. I never realised this before, but they just walk around touching EVERYTHING that’s beside them. Charlie went straight into a shop and before I’d blinked he’d touched every fruit and veg he could reach (a week ago, when there was still fruit and veg). This is one of the toughest challenges of all.
– It’s not always easy, but our boys are proving to be wonderful little people and adjusting very well. I’m so proud of them. Especially Charlie, who can be quite high maintenance but now suddenly folds his pyjamas, gets dressed, puts plates in the sink, gives in to his little brother sometimes, folds paper cranes, draws me flowers while I’m out, goes running with me in the morning, writes messages for me in chalk on the pavement, plays quietly when I’m on the phone. They just want to be home. I think so much of the behaviour stuff is about being chucked into a kita every day with 30 kids and no one really looking after them. Oh man, I always felt bad about this.
– I’m more resilient than I used to be. I effectively probably lost my job today (hiring freeze, just as contract was about to be renewed) and I gave myself a couple of hours to feel sorry for myself, like it was my fault, then I picked myself up and feel things will be ok and that I will bounce back as I always have. I hope.
– I’m very much aware of how lucky we are and that our discomfort levels are low compared to many – mainly that we have to work with kids at home. And we can’t find any couscous in the local supermarket #coronacouscouscrisis
– I am taking this seriously at this point and so many other people aren’t. I was loathe to get worried about it for a long time, but now want to protect vulnerable people, and get life back to normal. In Berlin it’s being taken as more like a happy chance to hang out with friends in sunny cafes. Kids are having corona parties. We need the government to lock us in our houses. Take away our toys. Or at least do what they’re doing in France and make people report why they’re going out. Fine people. It’s harsh but we humans don’t listen. I’ve always thought that about the environment too. Banning plastic bags worked. Now ban going near people whose skin you don’t touch on a regular basis. How many times did I hear: “oh thank goodness the schools/playgrounds/pubs haven’t closed yet” Don’t wait for someone to tell you, just do it. Let’s get this over with earlier if we can. It’s not a competition about who can hold out the longest without closing stuff down. Listen to the Italians screaming at you all over the internet.
– Bottles of wine sitting on shelves grow very attractive in a crisis.

Maxine Gallagher is a copywriter who was born in England and grew up in Ireland. She’s lived in London and Japan and has been apologetically adding to gentrification in Berlin for the last nine years. She also writes music and lyrics, has written a children’t musical of Thumbelina with the composer Chris Seed and writes and occasionally performs her own songs on guitar and piano. She’s author of the photography book Bingo and Social Club, for which she travelled round to bingo clubs in the UK with her husband. She lives the cliché in Prenzlauer Berg with her German husband, two children, stock of dinkelbrot and bike trailer. She also runs the Facebook group Freelance Copywriters Berlin. She doesn’t know how to stop starting sentences with “she” when writing her own biography. She’s going slightly bonkers at home right now.

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