Words by: Ruby Ellam Art by: Stephanie Wong
Lockdowns suck. They fucking suck! As the sixth Victorian isolation orders are extended, I find it harder and harder to fulfil the brief of this article — contemplating the benefits of a snap-lockdown. I cast my mind back to the 10 day orders of the last six months, peppered into my (somewhat) back-to-normal life. All I can come up with is:
This is hard.
I really hate lockdowns.
I’m trying to think of the reasons I felt a dose of relief during the third, fourth and fifth ones. I hate my job, so I guess they were a small blessing in that respect. I spend all my free time painting and writing anyway, so two weeks of government-sponsored craft time was not exactly unwanted. I like sleeping in, I like eating snacks, I like my personal space — if you had asked me pre-COVID-19 if I wanted a fortnight of that, then I would’ve been thrilled.
The benefit of a snap-lockdown is that it often highlights the things you love and how much you miss them, but in a short enough span that you can’t spiral too hard. Really, the best thing in the world is to treat these shorter lockdowns as voluntary holidays. Try to imagine that they’re not government mandated and instead you’ve been given two (to 10) weeks of respite and suddenly things might feel a little calmer, a little more manageable.
During these ‘holidays’, don’t get bogged down by the shiny, capitalist ‘productivity = morality’ narrative that we impose on ourselves. I have about four breakdowns a day caused by the suffocating reality that my early twenties are gently eroding because our Government Daddy said I’m grounded and can’t see my friends. That choking feeling is not alleviated by the commercial ‘girlboss’ Disney-fied COVID-19 guide to losing weight and finding peace. You could’ve ended world hunger during this lockdown, or resolved your childhood trauma, so why didn’t you? Why didn’t you do all the things you said you would do, Ruby? You didn’t even learn how to make bread like the teenagers on TikTok.
Lockdowns are not the norm, they are the weird intermissions in the middle of movies from the 1950s (which still exist, even on DVDs, for some reason). So, try to make more reasonable goals for yourself before getting back into your schedule. For example, I discovered the game, New Pokémon Snap recently (and Pocket Monsters as a whole) and my sixth lockdown goal is to break the top 100 players internationally. Right now I’m 3691st in the world, which sounds terrible, but this morning I was at 3980th. Catch me at #1 in no time. I realise these are silly goals, but a snap-lockdown allows me to do silly things with a pretty solid excuse — it’s the apocalypse. So God damn, if I want to take a cute photo of Pikachu, I will.
Some silly goals or pastimes I personally recommend are:
– Buy New Pokémon Snap, but don’t you dare try to beat my score.
– Get on dating apps (obviously don’t meet up, but this is a surprisingly easy way to feel like you’re being social and it could give you something to look forward to).
– Do a puzzle (cliché, but actually very fun).
– Make a care package for friends/family (my partner and I drew pictures for each of our friends and you’d be surprised how cherished our little doodles were).
– Argue with anti-vaxxer family members on Facebook.
– Learn a new language or learn an ancient language and summon an Old God.
– Sleep until the early afternoon or wake up early, then literally do whatever you want.
– Masturbate! When I think about it, it’s really not that bad at home. My partner moved in this lockdown. He’s sexy and handsome, and sitting next to me, occasionally reading over my shoulder. We make art together, we cook for each other. On Tuesdays we watch Only Connect. On Thursdays we watch Rupaul’s Drag Race. We walk to get coffee in the morning and laugh and hold hands the whole way, relishing in the brief taste of freedom. Lockdowns are much easier now that I spend them with someone that I love. But all in all, the best part about lockdowns, is that they end.