General

All those unfinished novels and all we got was bread

Man cannot live on bread alone

The Great Lockdown of 2020! Oh, what times! What heroes we were to stay in our houses and, in some lucky cases, to be paid for it! O tempora! O mores!

Some survived intact. The people with cushions around them. They crashed into the crisis and bounced off again. They did well. Economic Michelin men whose only experience of adrenalin is when they decide on what date to fill up their swimming pools. They laughed. But not all of their laughter.

Relationships, some as vulnerable as saplings in winter, were tested. Some were found to be wanting and love’s musical chairs continued its sinister joke.

Musicians staged concerts in their living rooms and people were ‘challenged’ on social media to list books, albums and paintings which had been important to them but they were, oddly, discouraged to say why.

And my tribe – the writers who don’t have enough time to finish the magnum opus – Oh, my best beloved! – we were rumbled. We were found out. We were cruelly exposed for what we are – dreamy, insubstantial procrastinators. And where did the cruelty come from? From ourselves of course. Self-hate is a lifestyle choice.

I learned how to make bread. Ordinary, non-hipster white bread. And I chewed on the slighty too sticky slices and lamented.

But we will mythologise the Great Lockdown of 2020 and disguise the tales of derring-didn’t. How we dodged the bullet! How generous we were! How we got in touch with our true selves and finally understood what things were important! History will be written by the losers.

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