At the start of the coronavirus pandemic, I lived my life like most other young gobshites. Thinking I was invincible. I wore gloves, and social distanced etc but still laboured under the mistaken belief that the coronavirus could only be caught by rambunctious schmucks, or those with a weakened immune system. Now my life resembles the COVID-19 version of Emma Donoghue’s Room (luckily minus the abusive captor).
It started with just a tickly throat, and a slightly dry cough. A mere sniffle in this coronascape is enough to get one detained, and sure enough I was placed in isolation instantly. However, within hours I was a sweaty wreck, hacking away like a ninety-year-old chain smoker. In my less lucid moments, the ghostly apparition of Taoiseach Leo Varadkar stood by my bedside, a stern expression on his face – “I guess that frappe wasn’t essential was it?”
Anyway, as I have reached the end of my detention, I would say I have become an expert in making the most of the COVID isolation experience. With this in mind, I shall endeavour to share my top tips with our wonderful readers…
Tip One: Design your Day
Do not leave anything up to fate. I had planned all aspects of my time in solitary confinement, making time, of course, for coughing fits and toilet breaks was essential. For the purposes of Zoom meetings, my top half was dressed as if I was attending a top-class luncheon in a high brow establishment. However, I indulged in waist-down pyjama wearing most days. I smeared the only cosmetics I had managed to salvage from home (i.e. dark eyeshadow and red lipstick) on my face each day to maintain my morning routine. Although I resembled an Apache crossed with a Vegas prostitute, I felt like I was in control. I savoured showers (the highlight of my day) and the clatter of the tin tray outside the door signifying the arrival of grub always raised my spirits.
Tip Two: Outdoor Simulation
I craved the ability to ramble at ease and sourced a virtual alternative on YouTube. 4G walking tours contained high quality footage of places all around the world. I walked on the spot for several hours, making my way through the dusty streets of Bosnia on a hot day, or a rainy Canadian forest. Like a corona-ridden Dora the Explorer, I experienced the world in a low quality, buffering way. Due to the narrow dimensions of my room, there was limited space to manoeuvre. This meant I was forced to develop a few authentic walking styles; sideways crab, squished salsa, ensuite moonwalk, washed up whale. The list goes on.
Tip Three: Virtual classrooms
Sadly, due to the advancements in technology, the College being closed did not halt my education. I was forced to participate in the virtual learning process. I started every Tuesday staring at my own face on the virtual classroom (each pore magnified, each chin quivering), upon receiving more arduous questions from my lecturer, I felt an escape route was necessary. My main tip for the avoidance of discomfort is to fake one’s “shoddy” internet connection. To achieve this believable escape route, I downloaded a crackling fire logs track on Spotify to ensure the “bad line”, effect was adequately achieved. Throughout the call, one should ensure that one’s finger is hovering directly over the mouse, which should be positioned in close proximity to the exit button, to enable an abrupt departure from the forum in question. Ensure to shift the blame towards the telecommunications network of your choice to earn those brownie points. “GOD DAM YOU EIR”, etc. Also, suggesting you are in a remote location (aka not Dublin City Centre) will assist your claim;
“Sorry things are tough for me in Zambia right now”.
Tip Four: Dating and Romance
Being unable to exit one’s home does pose cumbersome obstacles to sourcing love throughout COVID isolation. However, you can scour Tinder more casually in the knowledge you will not have to commit to anything until 2021. In fact, one can completely transform one’s identity in the strict knowledge that you will get off scott-free.
I currently am in a committed virtual relationship with my Russian lover Ivanka, whilst she labours under the misapprehension that I am an amateur athletic figure skater Boris Tarakova. I am guessing I can keep this up for at least a year!
Once more severe restrictions are lifted, you can adhere to the more traditional notions of dating in the outside world. HOWEVER, ensure 2m restrictions are maintained. Never get too comfortable. A good way to maintain this distance is to picture yourself at a parish dance in 1950’s Ireland. Imagine a catholic priest with a 2m stick is watching close by, ready to reprimand you, if you so much as think about canoodling.
Tip Five: Socialising
With ample time for reflection in quarantine, I came upon the uncomfortable realisation that my social life remained unchanged during COVID isolation. If anything, it vastly improved as other more extroverted acquaintances reached out to me due to their sheer desperation, and need for human contact. Luckily for me upon graduation from law school I discarded my need for human companionship and relied on stealth alone to struggle through my miserable existence.
For those that may still need affection I recommend Zoom, Skype, Facetime, or Indian panpipe smoke circles. Indeed, utilising these forums will ensure you get the attention you crave. Also, you can be sure a screenshot of your face will be circulating the internet shortly afterwards alerting the world that you were a participant in a group conversation, most likely a table quiz. Undoubtedly said photo will be unflattering also, eliminating your chances of finding a mate. Your jaw will be slackened, your chins rolling, or you will be taking a swig from your curry chicken pot noodles.
Overall, you can see from the helpful tips proffered above, that this pandemic presents a whole plethora of opportunities to avail of. If the above tips don’t work for you, you can always resort to acute alcoholism, or binge eating, which I have always found to be foolhardy coping mechanisms in times of immense strain.
Stay safe x