An Ode From My Living Room

Dearbhla Crosse
5 min readApr 13, 2020

Day 974. Woke up this morning looking like Bob Geldof. The ‘isolation look’ is very à la mode until you realise halfway through your Zoom* call that you probably should have showered. Confinement thus far has been less Rapunzel, more Rumpelstiltskin but I very much look forward to ‘letting my hair down’ when we all emerge in the year 2050. Exciting.

Since the start of this dystopian nightmare, I have gradually morphed into a Borrower (an already flattering nickname I had previously acquired given my naturally tall and willowy stature). Much like my four-inch, underground-dwelling friends, in the lead up to the ‘lockdown’, I had begun slowly gathering essentials from the pharmacy and shops. I did not, however, foresee the inexplicable popularity of lentils or the surge in bulk shopping sprees. In the aftermath, all that remained were rogue red lentils splayed across the floor. Evidence of what I can only assume were crazed shoppers, devoid of sanity, brawling over bags of lentils until they exploded in the air like confetti. I had no idea lentils were the panic-buyer’s choice nor did I realise that Covid-19 induced explosive diarrhoea, spurring the surge in toilet paper hoarding everywhere. I suppose if you’re eating that many lentils, bulk buying toilet paper is indeed a necessity.

@HairyBaby

Despite the evident rise in global panic, the virility of the virus was hugely downplayed by reports that only older people and ‘those with underlying health conditions’ were adversely affected. A Darwinist outlook that highlighted a callous disregard for our most vulnerable members of society. Particularly mind-boggling was the UK’s dubious ‘Hunger Games’ approach to the pandemic where ‘herd immunity’ was lauded as being the best strategy. Boris may as well have told the great British public: ‘May the odds be ever in your favour’. Turns out that was a crap idea. The government appeared to be under some misguided notion that British exceptionalism extended to the virus. Not only did they flout the WHO recommended 14-day isolation period in favour of a lesser 7-day isolation period but Boris then boasted about shaking hands with those who had the coronavirus. Luckily he didn’t pay for that mistake with his life but tragically, thousands already have as a result of woeful inaction. Across the pond, Trump’s response has been equally abysmal but less surprising as he seems to be an unstoppable moron. After downplaying the virus for weeks as less deadly than the flu, the US has now become the epicentre of the pandemic. It turns out viruses don’t give a toss about political grandstanding. Trump’s dangerous and chaotic response to the virus has seen him scorning scientific advice to touting hydroxychloroquine as a cure, leading to several deaths. Far from easing public angst, Americans are now arming themselves with even more guns to tackle the virus. So that should all go well.

Meanwhile, in Europe, after the catastrophic effects of the virus began to take hold, I watched in horror as it hitched a ride to Ireland via the ski slopes of Lombardy. And again with the arrival of the bright sparks from Cheltenham, all of whom may as well have licked an ATM keypad. Cheers lads. Despite the aforementioned and the carnage in the toilet paper aisles, Ireland’s response has been very reassuring — albeit initially slow and somewhat optimistic. Entrusting some members of the public to drink responsibly and retain ‘social distancing’ in bars was a leap of faith too far. Thankfully, the Irish really like their Grannies and are coming together by staying apart. Except Gazza, who despite not having exercised since 2012, has become one of the avid marathon runners you’ve been dodging on your daily walk.

New measures to curb the virus mean I am now ‘cocooning’ — a term introduced by the Irish government in an attempt to make extreme isolation appear almost wistful and palatable for the over 70s and ‘vulnerable’. Whether I am released back into the wild after all this ‘cocooning’, a beautiful, ethereal butterfly or, after weeks of interminable eating, a very lethargic, plodding moth remains to be seen. The strange reality of being classified as ‘vulnerable’ has made me reflect on what it means to be healthy. People take their health and freedom so much for granted. Until you don’t have either anymore, you don’t really appreciate it. A year ago, I wouldn’t have had to worry about anything apart from ensuring I had enough lentils. Yet, this surreal situation has meant that for the first time, I have had to worry about maintaining access to my medication. Ironically, the very medication helping to halt the progression of my Multiple Sclerosis, also puts me at increased risk for complications should I get Covid-19. You can’t have it all I suppose! So for the foreseeable, unlike some portentous politicians, I shall not be shaking your hand.

If this pandemic has taught me anything other than how insane and immoral people who own Tigers are, it is that we are all so much more connected than we ever believed possible. It took less than three months for this virus to travel around the world, tearing down cities, breaking barriers and destroying lives. Yet in the midst of all the devastation, loneliness, sadness and loss, there is hope, collaboration, survival and love. You feel the latter when you are one of the people that others are staying at home for. You feel it also in the kindness shown by those delivering food and medicine to your door. Doing less to do more is one of the greatest gifts of selflessness. It takes courage to do the right thing, especially when you are healthy and are being asked to stay at home for a complete stranger. So, thank you. Couch potatoes of the world unite, for you are the real superheroes!

(*Official 2020 sponsors)

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Dearbhla Crosse

Freelance writer and artist ‘Opinionated’. Delusions of mediocrity in a world of over-achievers. Interested in women’s rights, education and the environment.