A day in the life of furlough


Unkategorised / Friday, June 26th, 2020

06:45: Just ignore your alarm. You set that before you spent two hours and twenty-seven minutes chastising yourself for retiring from cart-wheeling and bending your body into a ‘crab’ every day back when you were nine. Had you continued your infant gymnastics, you wouldn’t have pulled the whole of your lower body while practicing the downward dog, thereby taking two hours and twenty-seven minutes to find a comfortable position to sleep in last night.

06:55: Cancel the alarm; stop snoozing it. It’s day 80 of furlough; the 6AMs aren’t compatible with you anymore.

06:56: And you should probably stop smugly calling yourself ‘a morning person’. Alexa disagrees.

08:53: You crawl across the floor, unable to see because you and your boyfriend just painted every wall in the bedroom dark blue; finding out after you had washed your paint brushes that everyone else was using this colour for something called an ‘accent wall’.

08:54: When you get to the living room, the daylight seeping through the blinds stings your eyes and you hear the crack of your mouth as it begs you for water. Your head is pounding and you curse the world; you’ve not raided the gin cupboard in nearly a week but you somehow have the fifth hangover in a row without having even enjoyed a drop of alcohol.

09:01: You reply to your mum’s spritely ‘morning’ text and ask her how she is.

09:04: You note you haven’t received a reply from your mum.

09:05: You consider calling your mum to check she’s okay.

09:06: You listen to the first three rings of the phone and then hang up, after hearing a buzz. She has replied. Work is already busy for her. ‘Ah yes… work,’ you reply.

09:09: You take the bin out. You go for a run. You put on a load of washing. You stare out the window. You shower. You learn some new German lingo and practice signing the alphabet. You hang out the washing. You bake some cookies and then make a smoothie in the hope it prepares your metabolism for onethree cookies later this evening. You get a whiff of something off. You search high and low for the culprit.

11:45: You take off your Garmin watch and lift it to your nose.

11:46: You wash your Garmin.

12:41: You decide you’ve ticked off enough to-do list items to warrant an hour in the sun. Your neighbour from across the shared garden asks you questions. You explain you’re ‘on furlough’. You don’t hear their condolences because you’re thinking about how the phrase ‘on furlough’ makes it sound like you’re on holiday or taking a sabbatical. You turn back to the sun. You note that you’re lucky enough to feel like you are on holiday or taking a sabbatical. You feel guilty.

12:43: You go back inside and make lunch.

14:05: You stare at all 1,207 words of the first draft of your debut novel. The debut novel you haven’t touched for about a month. You close your laptop and spin on your chair, even though you haven’t been in an office and therefore sat on a chair that spins for about three months. You slip and bang your elbow on the table leg.

14:06: You scroll through Amazon’s spinny office chair options.

14:37: After 5 hours and 44 minutes of avoiding the subject, you relent and switch on the TV. You only have Amazon Prime for 30 days and you need to get through This Is Us.

15:42: You wipe away your tears with a cushion and turn off the TV – but only because the internet has cut out.

15:43: You open the fridge door.

15:44: You close the fridge door, empty-handed.

15:45: You slip on your shoes, slide in your earphones and listen to an episode of the How to Own the Room podcast for the duration of a two mile walk.

16:30: With advice from the How to Own the Room podcast fresh in your mind, you deliver a TED Talk to the bathroom mirror.

17:50: You read a couple of chapters of Michelle Obama’s memoir, Becoming.

18:33: You water the sunflowers you bought yourself, note that it seems you’ve watered them a day too late and scroll through Instagram.

19:35: You make a stir fry but because you don’t really know how to make a stir fry sauce, you pour both sweet chilli and soy sauce over the vegetables and noodles, and then pour in some more sweet chilli for good measure.

20:40: You revisit your to-do list. You cross out the items you didn’t complete and acknowledge you’ll do the same tomorrow evening.

20:51: You place some cookies in reachable distance, pull a blanket up to your chin and press play.

23:13: Again, you wipe away thick, gloopy tears only This Is Us can make you cry. You log out of Amazon Prime because Aaron doesn’t know the password and he keeps getting ahead of you with This Is Us, even though you are the one who introduced him to the show. You know you’re being unreasonable but, well, this is me.

23:25: You brush your teeth and then your hair, and take off the make up only your neighbour from across the way saw. You drink a glass of water to try and offset the not-a-hangover, uncomfortable in the knowledge you’ll get up at least twice in the night to go to the toilet.

23:33: You set your alarm for 06:45.

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