50 shades of lockdown: part 1

50 shades of lockdown: part 1

We haven’t (yet) been locked down for 50 days. Although it does sometimes feel like it! But, as I have more free time, I decided to jot down a few of my own nuances from the confines of my apartment.

I’m not promising big statements or revolutionary solutions to any of the problems generated by this unprecedented epidemic. Nor am I going to analyse the post-Covid 19 possibilities (I’ll keep that for another blog post). I simply want to share the daily trials, tribulations and triumphs of a mother and freelance writer living under lockdown.

Back to the beginning…

Day 1: the unimaginable

This can’t be real! Although we’ve been hearing about Covid-19 for weeks, somehow it always seemed remote. A problem affecting someone else. Yes, the government had prepared us progressively for this unprecedented curtailing of individual freedom: first stopping big events, then closing schools and bars, restaurants and shops. But, the reality of being confined to our homes has yet to sink in. For someone who loves being outside, running and keeping busy, this is going to be tough. A little depressing. But necessary.

Day 2: realisation

Reality is dribbling in. But with a major deadline for a key client and a 3-year-old to entertain, I’m almost too busy to realise. Given that both my partner and I will be working from home for the foreseeable future, we need a plan to keep our son entertained. Still at creche, he doesn’t have any activities from school, so it’s up to us. We need to keep him busy, while setting limits to ensure we still got stuff done. This means, amongst other things, obligatory naps, a little more screen time than usual and learning to play on his own. With a 2 to 1 ratio, it seems possible…

Day 3: the routine

The routine is in place. Everyone is up, dressed and breakfasted by 9am. I’m filled with a sense of purpose… that quickly evaporates when I start reading up on the latest Covid news. Everything seems a little inconsequential in comparison. But, with a long to-do list, I quickly brush this thought away.

Given how important running is to me, I already miss my training sessions with my local club and long weekend outings along the Seine. As I haven’t been outside since lockdown began, I decide to finish my day with a short run albeit around the block and with my signed permission form.

women running during lockdown in Paris
@Getty Images

I feel better, although this twilight world devoid of people and with no interaction is a little eerie. The few people whose path I cross swerve abruptly out of the way to avoid me (or vice versus).

Day 4: the apero

It’s Friday but doesn’t really feel like it given that each day is more or less the same and we have no plans for the weekend… except our first online apéro (afterwork drinks).

Picture of someone having an online aperitif
@Getty Images

It feels almost like old times chatting with a few friends over a glass of wine and plate of cheese. But given that everyone seemed to have had the same idea, the quality of the connection is shaky at best. It seems that the world isn’t yet ready to live virtually.

Day 5: slowing down

Oh no! It’s Saturday. With no work to structure the day, the hours while by and are persistently nibbled away by an enthusiastic 3-year-old who refuses to nap and repeatedly asks “what are we going to play now?” or “what do I do now”.  The day is long. I imagine the leisurely reading, drawing and listening to music of a child-free lockdown. Even cleaning the apartment with exceptional thoroughness doesn’t make it go any quicker and is hindered by little hands and feet that seem to be everywhere. It doesn’t help that my partner insists on endlessly watching the latest Covid-19 updates on BFM TV.

Day 6: a breathe of fresh air

At least we have a garden. Not our own garden, given that we live on the 11th floor of an apartment block, but a shared one down on the 1st floor. We’d never really ventured into these green spaces snaking across the roof and around the building, especially as we have a big park right next to us.

But now it is a life saver, probably for me more than Alex. We can run, play, sit, scoot and blow bubbles to our hearts content. Well, almost. We need to make sure there weren’t too many people already in the garden, keep a distance and avoid touching anything. But it still feels like freedom especially as the sun has started shining and the blossom blooming.

Day 7: a little less freedom

I wrote too soon. Overnight, a piece of paper has been stuck on the wall of the lift asking us not to use the garden. We saw an ambulance in front our building last night, maybe this explains the change. Regardless, I can understand the logic and immediately abide by these new rules, but still feel like I’ve lost something. Fortunately, we do have a kind of enclosed glass veranda and we can open the windows, but it’s not quite the same.

Alex, on the other hand, seems oblivious. He has effortlessly adapted to his new life, helped by the fact he is allowed to watch more tablet than usual.

And, so we survived the first week.

More to follow…

How are you finding lockdown? Share your experiences with us in the comments below!

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