Corona Lock Down Diary

… of a friend of mine. Of course. Who is variably referred to in the first, second and third persons.

Friday 3rd April. Was when I intended to write this but the days have been sliding by and it didn’t happen, OK!

0900: After half an hour of alarm snoozing finally arise to prepare for the 0930 daily work meeting. Most people in the world do this at 0830. We physicists don’t quite get that. While we are psyched to start our experiment shifts at 11pm on Saturday night, having to talk to colleagues about organising these shifts before 0900 brings on the cold sweats.

0910: That daydream style musing cost 10 minutes I didn’t really have. Quickly put on clothes over pyjamas and be glad you started a ‘quirky’ meeting style of hoodies on and hoods up, because there isn’t time to shower now. Make coffee while wondering at length about why cabin fever dreams make your hair so greasy, then inhale a bowl of Crunchy Nut. You have come to discover that oat milk is kind of fine and somehow more abundant than ever, while anything that has touched a cow disappeared from the supermarket shelves two weeks ago.

0929: Log in to the Zoom meeting. See that the big boss has joined today. Keep the hood up, own it, and say nothing about it.

0945: Not sure what happened in that meeting. But it’s been ended by the host so it’s time to head over to the news and consume coronavirus stories. Derbyshire Police are out in force again. Their motto Vis Unita Fortior (Strength United is Greater) would make an excellent fascist epithet. We’re lucky they are just over zealous bobbies right?

1020: Think back to the time “my friend” got that ticket from the Parks Police, on Hapmstead Heath of course, for riding a bike at walking pace. Obviously a large No Cycling sign would ruin the landscape so best to go for one too small to see but is technically there, so the locals can berate the police until they give me a ticket.

1025: This internal monologue was supposed to be about over-policing in Derbyshire. In my mind there are two types of police officers. The first is that over zealous prefect kid from school who really loves the rules and dreams of achieving nothing more in life than enforcing them in all of their petty detail. At school you could tell them to “go away” but now you are a grown up they use your money to buy drones to film you and shame you on Twitter. The other type of police are those who just like being outside and don’t give you an on the spot fine if you are nice to them. Big up Parks PD!

1045: OK I’ve spent a lot of time vividly reliving the past this morning and ended with a conclusion unimaginable when I joined that Zoom meeting. Some work now happens before lunch. Best to launch a new simulation campaign as this sounds like much more work than it is.

1200: Lunch time!

1300: How can lunch at home take an hour? My kitchen is 5m away from the sofa I have been so dilligently working on all morning. Anyway there is now a more pressing concern. To justify my friend’s continued working from home, and in accordance with the temporary alterations to my friend’s strict German no-working-from-home contract that there have been many lengthy emails about, it is time (for him) to write the weekly email of what he has done this week. The attitude to take is one of a factory worker or farmer in a totalitarian communist state. While your resources have been greatly diminished by the profligate actions of the bourgeoisie (in this case, flying in a virus they caught on their skiing holiday), your output has been vast and glorious thanks to the wise guidance from your superiors at the morning Zoom meeting. And as less and less work gets done each week you somehow manage to write more and more in your summary email. This condition is well known to anyone who listens to a regular non-corona podcast that is “bravely battling through” these desolate times with weekly 2 hour bumper episodes.

1345: Now that’s done head down to the supermarket. You don’t want to go on Saturday like a fool. Stock up on locally brewed craft beers. After all, small and medium sized businesses are having a cash flow crisis. You are basically doing tasty charity work.

1430: Commence homework for your German lessons. Since the lessons haven’t happened for a while you can’t remember much so you resort to the schoolboy tactic: instead of saying what you actually did, make something up using the verbs you already know. “Ich habe bei Tik Tok getanzt”. That won’t backfire.

1450: Play Blinding Lights by The Weeknd on repeat.

1515: It really is time to do some work that sounds difficult but that you already know how to do. Crush through the problems the PhD students are having before the clock hits 5.

1700: Weekend time! Went out to the winter dirt covered balcony to take in the weak spring sun while shouting down to my neighbour in the communal garden. He can’t see that there is beer in my coffee mug, which is kind of ideal since I work with my neighbour.

1930: Only 45 minutes until the Skype beers with the boys! I bought some garlic bread earlier but forgot to get a pizza. Oh well. No time to order and eat. Hope that garlic butter counts as one of your five a day and have at it.

2000: The long wait is over, finally back with your old friends. Except one that cancelled at short notice for fear of beer induced COVID 19. Which anyway stands for Coronavirus Disease 2019, so you can stop calling it that to sound smart.

2005: Finished the third internal rant of the day and remembered that I am supposed to be enjoying myself, so after five minutes of staring in to middle distance on camera finally say hi.

2030: The online foursome is now three, as one has already left to “charge his phone”. Which has now taken 8 days.

2130: The three becomes two as another friend disappears to look after his pregnant wife, adding a grown up twist to the “big lads back together big Friday night”. Which included more talk about the price of pushchairs than was advertised.

2145 onwards: berate your last remaining friend about how terrible his WiFi is, even though he went to the trouble of solving Maxwell’s equations for his flat to find the optimal position for his router. He didn’t pay for that plug. Yet.

0000: Ran out of locally sourced craft beers. Attempt to send a pleasant, uplifting message to the girlfriend, but sign it off as Captain Beer. The End.

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