After almost 7 weeks of ‘shielding’ at home I have finally fucking lost it. I know this because I feel absolutely fine. I have even stopped crying. In fact I’m pretty sure that my brain has completely broken. The synapses must have snapped in order to normalise this new reality where I endlessly home-school in my pyjamas and eat ‘balanced’ meals consisting of three different flavours of crisps. I am now convinced that I’m going to be bra-less and teaching fractions for the rest of eternity. And that’s OK. I genuinely don’t mind anymore.
I’m pretty sure that ‘not minding’ is the definition of total fucking madness. My family don’t seem to be too worried. They’re just grateful that I’m not crying over year 4 grammar, the sheer number of horrifying deaths or the fact that we forgot to put the rubbish bins out. I haven’t left the house in weeks now so no one outside my family has had a chance to notice my descent into insanity. But Facebook definitely has. This week the platform suggested that I join ‘A group where we all pretend to be ants in an ant colony.’ Given that I’ve never posted a picture of our terrifying pet cat, let alone an ant, I’m assuming that this suggestion wasn’t based on a quantifiable love of animals.
Whatever it was based on, Facebook’s algorithm appears to be alarmingly correct. I actually joined the ‘Ant’ group. Shockingly, the group has almost 2 million members; a fact which is providing me with a great deal of solace. I’m clearly not the only one that is now completely fucking mental. If you can answer yes to membership questions such as ‘Have you watched ‘A Bug’s Life?’ and ‘Did Marie ANTionette contribute to Ant history?’ then it’s safe to say you have been broken by isolation too. But the group provides numerical proof you’re not alone. There’s an entire colony of bat-shit-crazy people waiting to welcome you with their tiny-digital-ant-arms and their awful ant jokes.
Everyone else in the house is coping better. The boys are distracting themselves with endless films whilst maintaining the faith that normal service will resume shortly. Having already completed UK Netflix they have changed the VPN on their devices allowing them to access Netflix in continents with different content. I’m pretty sure that this is illegal but given that I don’t even know what a VPN is I’m awarding them all an A* in home-school computer-technology. The star is because I didn’t have to teach them a single thing.
My husband is also annoyingly OK. At least I think he is. I haven’t actually had a chance to ask. We barely see each other anymore. This is ironic given that he’s always less than a few feet away, locked in a small room, ‘working.’ The man is now working more hours than when he commuted to a real office to do a job that required International travel. I’m not entirely sure if he’s working harder than before or is simply too scared to come out. Beyond the safety of the box-room are three boys who constantly want him to play Call of Duty and a wife who wants him to mop the urine-coated toilet floor. If I was him I’d definitely be ‘working’ too. Whatever the reason, he’s busy.
This week I’m going to schedule a Zoom date with the man. It’s the only way we’re going to get to have a conversation without the kids. I have absolutely no idea what we’ll find to talk about. Other than ant-jokes of course. I have an endless supply of those…