Life in Lockdown: Tobias Chalcraft

Following a conveniently timed, weekend-long birthday celebration and having spent the day on placement in the city centre, I finished early in order to go to my Monday afternoon university lecture. It’s as if my subconscious knew this would be my last, or at least final class outside of Zoom. By 6pm I was on the phone to family and planning a premature parting from Plymouth.

In comparison to others, my new normal seems reasonably better than life at uni. With significantly less hangovers, a day of working on assessments seems to last from 10am to 5pm every day. However, as a handy way of avoiding awareness of the hamster wheel that isolation has provided for many, I have work-free Saturdays to look forward to. 

Although this is a major first-world problem, that winds up many non-subscribers, I have failed to transition from gym sessions to home workouts. With bored family members readily available to laugh at any failed attempts of headstand challenges you’ve seen on Instagram, I have found it easier to limit myself to a handful of simple stretches before embarking on 20-30 minutes of outdoor exercise. But this is no alternative to a sweaty 2-hour outing at my former Plymouth gym.

On a more brighter side, my dogs are part of the thousands of their species who are ecstatic that their owners are now readily available to cater to every ball-throwing session or belly rub 24/7 (however our 13-year old is increasingly drained from the multiple daily walks we take him in order to get some time away from one another).

Plus, if a blog post about this isn’t cliché enough, I have taken up writing a daily diary, but this will mainly serve as a time capsule of politics-based headlines dictating the gradual deterioration of international relations. Still, I also try to write some ‘Reasons to be Cheerful’ (a phrase used to title a podcast hosted by Ed Miliband), but repetitive responses of “It’s still sunny today!” just counterproductively forms deeply upsetting nostalgia for Cans on the Hoe with the boys.

More positively, I have bowed down to pressure to play Animal Crossing and watch Friends. The latter has a depthless quantity of heart-warming episodes (I’m only 20% through after a month of watching) that are perfect for an often lonely and gloomy occasion such as now. Meanwhile, Animal Crossing has completely defied my expectations of a childish and mindless game. Instead, my notifications of received boomer memes are overpowered by a group chat of friends trying to exchange pictures of what their ‘Nook’s Cranny’ store is selling, as we seek to defeat Tom Nook’s imperial capitalism in a far from ‘mindless’ manner.

While these forms of entertainment offer a welcome distraction, COVID-19 still offers personal reasons not to be so cheerful. You and I don’t need reminding that this coronavirus has impacted millions of lives a lot more dramatically than a 20-something who can’t attend mindless 2am drinking seshes with his friends, but there still remains an understandable upset. This exile means that this writer, and his many right honourable friends, have been deprived of their precious conclusion to university life – including a graduation ceremony (hopefully temporarily) and countless interpersonal-developing experiences with friends that may not live in the same city as you ever again. Plus, pre-existing anxieties of entering the job market are now increasing as much as Piers Morgan’s ego when his buddy Trump used to have the spare time to retweet him.

Anyway, time to save the NHS by convincing my unwanted new villager ‘Velma’ to move out of my island…

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