Words by Members of the WhyNot Editorial Committee and friends
My pandemic world – like many – is split between what I can see outside my window and what I hear from the other end of Zoom catch ups and house party nights.
I feel a simmering anxiety when I head out of the house now because I know – through experience – that not everyone in sunny Brisbane will be social distancing; that some won’t cover their coughs; that less than 1% are wearing masks and that the hand sanitiser may not always be top shelf.
Mum regularly calls from the UK – as she ducks out to grab essential groceries – her voice is muffled through a mask while she is patiently waiting in a line outside her local Waitrose. Numbers in the UK today are looking good – still under 1000 new cases today.
My parents have worked hard to keep us all connected through regular phone calls, games nights, family movie ‘club’ and reading recommendations. A few weeks ago, we started a My Kitchen Rules challenge based on a different world cuisine theme each week – taste is obviously important to those who can taste but when it comes to judging presentation, creativity and difficulty level are definitely key.
They say home is where the heart is and currently my heart is residing in multiple places across the globe.
We don’t know when we will next be in the same room together, but for now we have to keep finding creative ways to stay connected in whatever way we can.
Lauren, QLD 28 – Freelancer
It’s gotten worse. And then worse again. And then, what we thought was the worst is actually a time we long to go back to – I wonder if that’s how we’ll feel about right now in a few weeks.
I remember my brother telling me back in June…
“You ready for today’s numbers … brace yourself it’s not good – 76 new infections and 3 have died”
We all put our head in our hands and thought oh my god – the horse has bolted.
Bolted is an understatement, the horse has been cutting laps around Melbourne and into regional Victoria, no one can catch him.
In our house the lockdown novelty (if there ever was one) has well and truly worn off. I don’t want to bake another effing banana bread loaf or colour mindfully. Another 6 weeks of stage 4 feels like a swift kick to the groin. My partner and I take turns climbing the walls, both of us have become really annoying versions of ourselves – even our doggo has started slinking off to get some peace.
No doubt about it, Melbournians are flat – many of us flatter than a pancake really. Even the reporters are struggling to front up to their news bulletin without a big long exhale – their faces tell us before they even speak – no good news here, I’m afraid.
We’re all worried for our loved ones, grateful for those on the front line, sick of the four walls, angry this has happened, scared of the long term impact, grateful again – we cycle through all of this over and over in the space of an hour.
Our realities are sad and hard and exhausting right now, but there is hope – we’ve just got to hang onto it.
In a pre-covid life spending 150+ days overseas and well over 400 hours on a plane flying from one event to the next had become normal and habitual for me. A flight from Melbourne to London (in economy) was about as easy as jumping on a train.
Georgie, VIC 28 – Youth Project Manager
Nothing lasts forever
After spending the last 6 months living what’s considered a ‘normal’ life, it’s amazing how quickly your perception can change. I haven’t commuted more than 20 minutes to work and the thought of getting on a long haul flight brings back grim memories of jetlag and exhaustion- but the spark is still there.
Knowing how unique my lifestyle was at the time – helped cushion the blow when it was taken away by covid-19.
I’ve always known making a living as a professional athlete is a privilege. To not recognise its inherent volatility leaves one pretty exposed when things don’t go to plan. Often travelling I used to think to myself “fuck how good is this?” I knew I was living the dream, and was always reminding myself nothing lasts forever.
Haven’t we all learnt that in 2020.
James, VIC 28 – Professional Sailor
I used to like the fog.
Cold mornings, condensation running down the window, that little cloud of mist with each exhale.
It reminds you that you are alive.
But now the fog brings something else.
Anxiety, insistent reports of heartbreaking news, that lingering feeling of hopelessness.
It reminds you that you are trapped.
Trapped by a pandemic that is affecting everyone.
It’s been a real shitty couple of months. Shitty for me. Maybe shittier for you. Definitely shittier for others. And what can we do?
Pretend to be a baker, check. Pretend to be an artist, check. Pretend to like cleaning, check. Pretend to be happy, check-check-check.
I feel for the people who are doing it really tough. I do. Those who have had loved ones taken from them, those who have had work, homes, freedom taken from them.
I can’t imagine your pain.
But sometimes I need to feel for me, just to keep my head above water. Just to see the fog.
Angus, NSW 29 – Policy and Advocacy Manager
Illustration by Aileen, You can find more of her work on Instagram @aileenetc