Lockdown Diaries: The Final Stretch
It's been so many days that nobody can remember a time before lockdown. Staying at home has become so normal that the future of going out en masse feels quite reckless. The idea of socialising in the presence of Other People is fraught with confusing etiquette - how will we greet each other? What if you go for the elbow while they bow? How will we pass our colleagues in the office without awkward dances of avoidance?
"Excuse me, sorry."
"No worries, go for it...oh sorry, no you go. Oh shit, ok no YOU! Aah we made it. Wish we could high five."
On Monday we enter level 3, which to all intents and purposes is a return to normal. Shops are open, most business are back in...well, you know. Exercise is no longer restricted and schools are still confusing AF but apparently will introduce a phased return soon. Besides schools, none of the above will make a massive impact on our lives.
Lexi, Tarka and I have been rebelliously walking outside of exercise hours since they first let us out the house. My dog doesn't like other dogs very much, in that she would prefer to snack on them rather than say hello. Walking her while there are approximately 150 other dogs for every square metre was never going to happen, so we've headed out every day like ninjas at 9am just as everyone else goes back inside. Occasionally, we've gone out for an evening stroll. Take last night, for instance.
We went perambulating along our road at 6pm under misty grey skies in a light and pleasant drizzle. It had all the markings of a relaxing walk which was unsurprisingly ruined by the dog and kid.
I must digress for a moment so that you understand why. For the duration of lockdown Lexi, with no friends to play with and no school to keep her mind occupied on earthly things, has created increasingly intricate fantasy worlds based on the characters from her favourite TV shows. Always a highly imaginative child, she has taken the game of pretend to previously unscaled heights.
When we wake up in the morning we don't know which world we'll be inhabitng. Sometimes we are Green Car and Blue Car (from Cars), other times we are Doug the Dog and Kevin the Bird (from the movie Up). We're currently going through an intense Jungle Book phase where she is Bagheera, I am Mowgli (guess who got the short straw), Mark is Baloo and poor Tarka is required to put on her best scary performance as Sheere Khan. We are very rarely mom and dad. Often even she loses track and asks us what our own names are. Every five minutes.
Back to the walk. Both dog and kid started out the gate super crazy, because that is what twilight and rain do to animals and children (like midnight to vampires). Lexi - known at this point as Rainbow Thunder - was riding her bike at top speed down the road, followed by Tarka aka Tiny leaping in and out of her path like a demented springbok. There was shrill shrieking and excited barking, I'm not sure who was responsible for which. We reached the field near my house and spotted another dog, sending everyone into a frenzy of high pitched squeals. So far, so not surreptitious.
Lexi - I mean Rainbow Thunder - turned her bike around and hot wheeled down the road, leaving me to reel in the rabid dog and follow. She reached the neighbour's house at the end, parked her bike and stood in front of it yelling, "RED CAR, I MEAN PRINCESS ANNA, I MEAN....WHAT'S YOUR NAME AGAIN?????
Me: Lexi, stop shouting, it's lockdown and the neighbours....
Lexi: CHICO BON BON! CHICO BON BON!!! QUICKLY HURRY UP, THERE'S LABA (lava) COMING!!!
I can only assume our neighbours thought they were being invaded by the casts of Disney and Netflix Kids all at once. Now, excuse me while I go and tend to my identity crisis.