A brilliant read from Anna Chapman again. From hanging out in the toilet to putting warning posters for dad on the fridge door, this is what Anna has learnt from another week in lockdown. We are addicted to this blog 😍. Enjoy!
CORONATIME – WEEK 3
As the Easter holiday start, emotions in the third week of lockdown are heightened. It’s an intense time, whether you’re living alone, furloughing or trying to WFH with bored kids in your face. Laughter can easily slip into hysteria. As the sun beats down on empty beach carparks, I’m not the only one getting irritable and silently panicking about how long this will go on. But as we settle into new routines, we’re also showing resilience and finding hope by adapting our behaviour to meet the challenges of this situation. Here are five things I’ve spotted going on in our lives this week.
One of the most beautiful pieces I read this week was by Arundhati Roy. She talks about the pandemic being a portal into a new, and hopefully, better world. But we before we get there, many of us need a temporary exit strategy from our cramped home lives. One of my friends has even started hanging out in the toilet so she doesn’t have to listen to her husband’s endless Zoom chats. Escapism is seriously hot right now, from the Dior pieces in your Animal Crossing wardrobe to a surge in eSports (fortunately the virus can’t cancel events in the virtual world). No wonder we’ve been bingeing on the fantastical Tiger King.
If you measured the conversations that people are having in lockdown, much of it would be devoted to deliveries — how to get one, what’s missing when it finally arrives and whether you need to quarantine the shopping before washing it in antibac. One of the great things arising from this unhappy state is that communities are springing up to resolve the delivery issue and support local suppliers and farms wanting to sell directly to the public now that the restaurants are shut. On WhatsApp I’ve been sent links for Google sheets and local maps that share details of how and where to get essential items. The notes section is particularly intriguing, my eye was drawn to ‘off licence delivering to vulnerable local people.’
Baking or just snacking?
The baking shelves in supermarkets remain mostly empty apart from a light dusting of flour left behind in the great stockpiling of early lockdown. Breadmaking-related search terms are peaking on Goggle. I’m not sure if people are really kneading sourdough loaves or just watching Nailed It with a bag of Walkers. One thing’s for certain, we’re seeking comfort in food. So much so that one of my daughter’s friends has plastered ‘Close the door, dad. You’re such a crumpet!’ signs on her fridge to curtail the constant snacking. And then Sainsbury’s go and lift their food restrictions so that you can buy more than three Easter eggs at a time…
Playing to the group
While fears about contracting the virus have dropped for those of us who don’t have to put ourselves out there in the frontline everyday (clap emoji for the NHS) we’ve now shifted to worrying about our mental health. This isn’t the best time to do a full-blown digital detox, but people are taking small meaningful actions to make themselves and their friends feel good. For a bunch of teenagers in Texas this means sharing PowerPoint decks on their passions — Disney princesses and gravitational lensing(?!) — to avoid drifting into negative group chat. From playing online pub quizzes to Exploding Kittens, we’re discovering new things that make us and our loved ones happy.
Communicating with kindness
Before lockdown I’d often get incomprehensible messages from friends fired off in a rush and mauled by a spellchecker. The bluntness left me feeling a bit empty (and confused). Since we’ve all got a bit more time and kindness in our hearts, the quality of comms dropping into my inbox has definitely improved. Previously applying for a job on LinkedIn meant dropping a CV into a silent vacuum. Now people are taking the trouble to write friendly rejection letters. Email exchanges with strangers have become more human, business jargon feels out of place on social and brands have become more caring. Meanwhile my busy, stressed mates have headspace to chat on the phone. I’m hopeful we’ll take the gentleness with us when we break through to the other side.
Anna Chapman is a culture-obsessed researcher, strategist and copywriter hustling for freelance work during the lockdown. Click here to contact her.