I wake up confused. Oh. This is really happening. I wasn’t dreaming that the entire world is on house arrest. It’s actually real. I’m disoriented. What day is it? What month is it? What is time anyway? I’ve lost all concept of it. Am I in Vegas? Oh that’s right, Vegas is closed.
Today is going to be the day. The day I live my best quarantine life. I’ll practice guitar and spend an hour learning Arabic and bake sourdough bread and do some YouTube workouts. This is the 19th day in a row I’ve said that. Who am I kidding? I don’t even own a guitar. And where the hell am I gonna use Arabic other than when I’m binge-watching Jack Ryan? Again. I don’t trust the subtitles. I don’t trust anything anymore.
Except the mirrors. They never lie. Is fat an emotion? It should be. My therapist would say ‘no’ but what does Miss Five-Foot-Ten Scandinavian Model with Flawless Cheekbones know? I know I’m craving biscuits. Is 41 too old to start binging and purging? I’ve only been awake for 10 minutes. It’s gonna be a long day with myself.
What if I’m the only one left alive? Are my morbid apocalyptic fantasies coming true? I reach for my phone to set my timer for my morning meditation. Today’s topic: acceptance. A notification pertaining to the latest death stats catches my eye.
I open Twitter. While I’m here, I guess it can’t hurt to check my mentions. That shouldn’t take long. I stumble from one hot take to another: our inept and incompetent leaders; egregious bailouts for everyone but the American people; corrupt politicians and greedy corporations; activists who masquerade as journalists. I’m enveloped by a white-hot rage.
Do I have a fever? Oh no. Do I have coronavirus? Thermometers were all sold out on Amazon. I hate Jeff Bezos. Through the lens of a pandemic, all rich people seem contemptible and tone-deaf. Especially celebrities. I never realized how much attention they craved until they were locked up. Madonna sings in a marble bathtub with rose petals while I barter for toilet paper on the black market. Maybe the Bernie bros were right. I hate everyone. Why does anyone listen to these verified morons?
Morons who might be on to something. Even a broken pundit is right twice a day. Just like Alex Jones was about Epstein. Will we even have elections? Will Trump be president forever? Only Putin could make me feel this paranoid. That reminds me — I need to take my anxiety meds. Did the deep state department plan this? Is the World Health Organization really in league with China? Should I wear a mask? This seems like an obvious precaution. Why is it even a debate? It’s odd but I take solace in the fact that people are still angry on social media. Things can’t be that bad. The fabric of society is still hanging by a thread. Ooh…Postmates has free delivery. Why am I so hungry?
Oh because it’s noon and I’ve been on Twitter for four hours. Dammit. Not again. My spiritual adviser says I should give myself permission to start over. I reach for my phone, mindfulness here I come. Not so fast. Fool me once, shame on me; fool me twice, well, I guess the shame is still on me. I’ll just find a meditation on YouTube…
Two hours later. How much porn is too much? I close the computer, ashamed, and still starving. Should I order pizza or kill myself? I need to get up and get some work done. But first, time to walk the dog. Where is the dog? Right next to me. Sleeping. Was she watching this whole time? Awkward. God it’s so difficult to own a dog. This must be exactly what it’s like to own a child.
Two months ago walking the dog was a monotonous chore. Now, it’s a luxury. I heard they’re renting dogs out in Spain for €35-60 an hour. Time to post an ad on Nextdoor. I reach for my phone. No, Bridget. This walk is supposed to be tech-free. You can do this. I believe in you. Did I say that out loud?
IRL (in real life) feels like a movie: everyone wearing masks and social distancing — it reminds me of dystopian sci-fi. I want to get back to my bubble and bake some bread. Some asshole said, ‘If you don’t come out of this with a new skill, you’re doing it wrong.’ I’m just hoping to get out alive. People are dying and this jerk is shaming people into learning how to play the harmonica. Is that a tickle in my throat?
Other than the deaths of tens or maybe hundreds of thousands and the pending collapse of the global economy, surely there must be something good in all of this. Magical thinking leads me down a silver-lined road paved with ‘Mother Nature needs this break’ and ‘Maybe this will unite our divided nation’ and ‘I’ll never take Botox for granted again.’
The rest of the evening is a blur. I stuff my face with sheet cake and hot takes and Instagram influencers doing yoga — none of which leaves me feeling satisfied. I stare at the pile of books on my desk. Why am I so tired? Trying to figure out what to watch on Netflix is exhausting. I remember I have a Zoom meeting in the morning. I muster the energy to tidy up so it looks like I’m living my best life.
Tidying up turns into cleaning like a tweaker. I even alphabetize my spices. It’s 1:30 a.m. I still haven’t meditated. And did I ever brush my teeth?
This article is in The Spectator’s May 2020 US edition.