Corona Journal, 27 March: Day 12

9am I am up and dressed. Even have make up on ready to tackle another online Italian lesson. I am armed with colouring pens and at least 5 games to make 4-year-olds laugh and (maybe) speak some Italian.

9.10am They aren’t online. I message their PA (I know, I know) asking if everything is ok. She tells me she forgot to confirm the time with the family – they aren’t ready for a lesson today. We rearrange for tomorrow. At least I’m up now, I suppose.

10am Have been in a very British, icily polite e-mail exchange with HR guy from previous (sigh) employer. The company’s stance is that because they are keeping some staff on at reduced hours and salaries (50% of what they were previously), it is not fair to furlough staff and have them work 0% of their previous hours for 80% salary – then they would be getting 30% more money than those still working for doing no work. It sort of makes sense, but as flatmate points out, what other staff are doing with their hours doesn’t affect the fact that I am entitled to 80% of my salary, having been made redundant due to the virus and through no fault of my own. TO BE CONTINUED – WATCH THIS SPACE.

11am Email back from landlord offering us a 25% discount on rent for the next 3 months. Almost start crying with relief. See a Monzo alert flash up on my phone. A best pal has sent me some of the commute money that she isn’t using while she works from home. She says it is ‘funemployment money for wine/bills/a therapy session’. Now I actually do start crying.

11.30am Boyfriend is leaving for his shift. Ask if I can make him a cup of tea or anything before he leaves. ‘No thanks, but you know what would be helpful?’ he says, and starts laughing. ‘What?’ I demand. ‘What??’. Turns out he wants me to help make his packed lunch. That’s right. He wants me to make him a sandwich.

11.40am The jar of mustard won’t open. I search for my dignity. I can’t find it. I ask him to open the jar for me.

11.45am Unemployed, stay-at-home girlfriend makes sandwich for doctor boyfriend, who is leaving the house to save lives, but needs help opening a jar. Oh Corona, look what you’ve reduced me to. I can feel Simone de Beauvoir turning in her grave.

12pm Set up shop on the windowsill, reading in the sun. I finish my book; it takes age because I am a slow reader and also because I keep getting distracted by vapour-trail free sky, the odd person wandering down the road, and generally just listening to the quiet. It’s peaceful and lovely.

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2pm Finished my book. I know I said I was very peaceful sat up there on the windowsill, and I was, but I was also plagued by a thought that has been on my mind a lot recently. Like wanting to dye my hair pink, I think this is isolation fever: I have a strong, persistent urge to throw a mug from our first-floor window onto the pavement below and watch it smash. I think about it every time I look out of the window. I eventually moved because I was getting dangerously close to actually doing it. That and my bum had gone numb.

3.30pm Use my daily exercise allowance to walk to a food bank with flatmate and spend a couple of hours making up food parcels. Piling up crates with food and supplies, thinking of the people and restaurants who donated it and imagining it being delivered to people who need it feels nice. Doing something for other people feels good – who knew? Plus, I got to lift some crates and break up some cardboard boxes energetically which felt like a bit of exercise, at least. Simple things and all that.

I hate to be this person (that’s a lie, I love the attention) but I’ve made the Corona Journal into a newsletter so you can get it emailed to you every day. Each post/email takes 1-2 minutes to read and let’s be honest, what else have you got to do right now? Also, sorry. You can subscribe here.

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