Last night, I christened my new home. My housemates and I held a small gathering – which in these times, means one or two guests – and we ate potato gems and drank beer while sitting on the floor of our new house. We’d promised each other that beer, potato gems and sitting cross-legged on the carpet was the way we’d spend our first night in our own home.
I keep trying to tell myself that these are extraordinary times, and that not everyone lives through a pandemic. As Facebook showers me in silver linings and news media floods me with horrifying statistics, I am full of the knowledge that this is not normal.
I feel strange in the line at Coles and I hate the guy who pushes in line even more than usual. I miss my nearest and dearest and I resent the open space between us, when we chat over Zoom. I miss taking myself to cafès for writing time. And boy, do I miss on-campus university classes: while online drama school really isn’t the same, there’s something pretty silly about dancing in my bedroom and jumping on the bed all day, that I hope to hold on to.
Yet, as I put the sheets on the-first-bed-I’ve-ever-owned and I unpack clothes from garbage bags, I can’t help, but want to tell you all about my completely normal, learning-to-adult experiences…
I want to tell you about running rampant in the hallway with incense, not only getting rid of the “old people smell”, but cleansing bad spirits by chanting Julia Gillard’s misogyny speech into each room.
I want to tell you all about my shitty exchange with a lady on Facebook marketplace, who sold the drawers I wanted right after promising them to me.
I want to tell you about the four hours I spent on the phone to my internet company, all because I accidentally gave them the wrong address.
I want to tell you about the meals we made before we had a working fridge and the four people it took to get our couch though the door. (It’s worth noting that the couch is made of hot pink corduroy, so every effort is necessary when welcoming it into our new home.)
Really, I want to tell you all about everything that is entirely unrelated to the MASSIVE world event that has absorbed our brains and bodies for several months now, because I’m living through it.
I think this time has given me an alarming sense of my own humanity, in every way. I don a force-field in public spaces. I think before I touch. I call my mum more, thinking of her health, and I listen to my partner’s heartbeat with a little more earnest, as I fall asleep on his chest.
This time is strange and has changed me – but throughout it all, I am living a strangely normal life.
My new home is beautiful and I love it.
Yes, that’s what I wanted to say.