Esther O’Moore Donohoe on what she will be dropping when we, finally, get back to living our lives…
It’s hard to believe but when we started lockdown almost eight and half years ago now, some of us channelled our stress into learning new skills like the correct way to move a lamb over a wall. I have retained nothing I’ve read, watched or listened to since last March. However, my inner Oprah knows for sure, that I will never do any of the following things* again once we have our freedom.
*I am likely to do all of the below again and in fact probably already have since writing this.
Leaving the washing up
The great thing about life is just when you think there are no more surprises, boom, a surprise. But let go of the myth that surprises can only be fun and exciting. They can also be lame and horrific. Excessive and never ending dishes in the first lockdown caused me to experience, what is known in psychology circles, as ‘raging shit fits of irrational and misplaced anger’. I was not furious at my tiny Caroline Donnelly for Dunnes Stores butter dish, how could I be? I was in fact angry at the virus and one of my neighbours who has never met a door they didn’t like to slam full force.
But I have learned much since then and now, I am A Woman Who Cannot Fall Asleep If There Are Dirty Dishes In The Sink or an AWWCFAITADDITS for short. And I hate that this has happened to me. Who is she and where did we find her? But really, I don’t do it for me. I do it for Future Esther because life has shown me that Future Esther feels great when she comes down the next morning to an empty sink. And life is tough enough without starting the morning in a dull rage at delph. It’s called self love and I hate it.
My transformation into my mother is reaching its endgame. Oh I’ll pretend to myself that I am having the time of my life indoors pulling the hair out of hairbrushes but the pandemic has ruined having entire days of sloth for me forever. I am now of nature and need a hit of the great outdoors daily. Whereas before, a light drizzle would have seen me racing to WhatsApp to cancel a walk, now I’m like ‘Aren’t we blessed with the light drizzle! See you in ten!’ There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing, amiright?
Some of the rig-outs I have put together on my jaunts have been truly fugly but always functional. How does a knee-length puffa teamed with rain trousers and waterproof hiking boots grab you? For what am I but a total ride. Sure who’d be lookin’ at us anyway so we may as well dress like absolute repellers and get our vitamin D hit.
Leave plants alone
Every evening at around 6pm, I walk around my house singing Because You Love Me by Celine Dion to my selection of plants. They have been my constant companions throughout the lockdowns and I want to show them my appreciation/melt my neighbour’s head. There’s Frank, the two foot ficus that sits opposite me in my office and all the other lads around the place who don’t have names but who I still care deeply for. Lockdowns have made me a real plant lovah. That is why I can now never pass a plant pot without shoving my hand soilward and saying to them ‘Looks like someone needs a little drinky wink eh?’ to which they reply… nothing because they are plants. The sooner this thing is over the better.
There’s an escape room on Aungier St in Dublin with a sign outside that reads ‘Do you have what it takes to escape?” And every time I pass it, I silently say to myself ‘No’ and get on with my day. I have never done nor do I plan to start doing Escape Rooms after the pandemic and I just wanted to get that on record.
There are a couple of wonderful people in my life who I cherish but who have completely different policies to me when it comes to food. ‘Will we all order something different and then share with the table?’ they enquire cheerfully. Cut to a close up of my face which reads ‘Like fook we will.’ I am a resolute ‘let me just order my own bits and all have a nice time’ type. I am therefore not devastated to announce that I will never share food in a public setting again. Officially, I will cite WHO anti-virus protocols to anyone who comes within a millimeter of my chips. If you wanted chips too, you should have ordered your own, safe and germ free portion. Whereas before Corona I might have been called a greedy mare, now in fact, I am on the frontline of breaking virus transmission by gently tapping your hand away from my chimichurri dip.
Returning to an office
Every part of me is screaming ‘no!’ at the thoughts of returning to an office environment. Some people are gagging for it and to them I say, terrific. I am delighted for you but for me, it’s a swerve. I care for my colleagues and I miss the vending machine terribly but at the same time, the effort. Of course, I will dutifully return if and when needed and am lucky to have a job. But even thinking about getting fully dressed before 9am (10…okay 11…11:30) feels strange at this point.
Not being able to blare Beyoncé whilst tapping away at my bits will be equally alien. IMO, there needs to be gentle reintroduction to full office life before we hurl ourselves back into our old routines. We can’t just be expected to mute our feral selves completely and become compliant office normies immediately can we? Maybe week one we’re allowed to come in in our PJs? Week two, we’ll have to be fully dressed but can do squats whilst answering emails or something. Sigh.
Nothing to do with the past year but going forward, no more ironing for me. Take me creased or don’t take me at all.