Growing your own vegetables is enormously enjoyable. I avoided panic-buying early in the pandemic, but admit to some panic horticulture: basil, lettuce and spinach, whacked into spare corners of the garden. I watched the plants grow with all the intensity you might normally reserve for a newborn child. In the end, the spinach all cooked down to a single serve, but oh what satisfaction to see it grow.
Exercising to YouTube videos is not so bad. I’m not great at exercises. Usually, I’ll have torn out a page from the Sunday colour magazine, and will be on the ground trying to follow the diagram, holding the page above my head with one hand while trying to follow the instructions — my left leg flung over to one side, while my right arm is held against the floor. Or should it be my left arm against the floor? My body copes relatively well with the strain, but not my brain. Exercise diagrams are not designed for the spatially challenged. Now I just turn on the TV and follow Joe Wicks. Thanks, pandemic!
Washing your hands is a good idea. Due to my total refusal to catch the coronavirus, I’ve been avoiding handrails. I’ve also been side-stepping panting joggers and washing my hands every time I come inside. So far, so good: I’ve avoided COVID-19, but also have enjoyed a couple of months without any other sniffles, coughs or other illnesses. Maybe this hygiene business isn’t such a bad idea?
What’s the point of cash? When I joined the workforce, an employee’s pay was handed out through a grilled window on the 7th floor, an envelope filled with the folding stuff and a few coins. In the years before credit cards, I developed the idea that you always needed to have some cash in your wallet, even if it was only $10. Now, keen to avoid the germs, I haven’t touched cash in two months. All these years on, I’ve decided to reduce my “float” to $5.
My Asian friends were right about the shoes. I’m now taking them off at the front door, so as to avoid bringing in COVID-19 germs from the street. OK, I know this is ridiculous, but I’ve discovered there’s less dirt being trod into the house. I don’t have to vacuum as much. The hall no longer needs sweeping every day. Who would have thought it?
Workmates are fun. Sure, in ordinary times, there can be a groundhog quality as you swipe the same security pass to enter the same office door and then sit at the same desk, logging onto the same computer. But after two months working from home, I’m hungry for the fun of being with my workmates, sharing the odd joke, overhearing office gossip, and putting our joint shoulders to the wheel. I’ve realised how much I appreciate their place in my life.
A balanced diet is important. When eating from the pantry, to avoid the supermarket, care should be taken over the numbers of cans of chick peas consumed in any one 24-hour period. Three cans may prove to be two cans too many.
And those are my lessons from lockdown.