Nicola Whitfield | Damn you, lockdown brain!

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(Photo: Gallo Images/Getty Images)
(Photo: Gallo Images/Getty Images)

Someone once told me you know you’re being boring if you start to glaze over when you’re telling your own story.

I fear this is happening to me. I’m beginning to bore myself. Not so much with face-to-face conversation, because that isn’t really happening all that much right now. But with my thoughts. They’re making me glaze over and it’s all lockdown’s fault.

Before that day four months ago when life as we knew it ceased to exist, I like to think some of the things occupying my head were pretty interesting. Not that I can remember them now, though. Those glistening gossamer threads have vanished along with cinemas and gyms, gone in a puff of lockdown same-sameness.

This is the kind of thing that goes on now:

1. Should I do a dark or a light load of laundry in the morning? I did a dark one yesterday, but darks always seem to build up so much quicker so if I do another dark load I can clear most of the basket before the rain comes next week.

2. Why did I always get the triangle in music class in primary school? Why didn’t I ever get a chance to shake a cymbal or bash a drum? What did I do to deserve it? Did the teacher hate me?

3. Is that a lump in my stomach or am I just getting fat?

4. I wonder if I can remember the names of everyone in my matric class in alphabetical order.

5. Is there a difference between a flat white and a cappuccino? And if there isn’t one, why do they both exist?

And on and on it goes. It’s enough to make me want to lop off my head and feed it to the fish, but I actually quite like fish so I wouldn’t do that to them.

I’ve tried to do something about it. I’ve watch documentaries about interesting people and fascinating places and gripping investigations. I’ve watched so many Scandinavian series on Netflix I may actually be able speak a dash of Danish and a sprinkling of Swedish. I’ve also mastered the art of speaking in an Icelandic accent. Cucumber, for example, is kubumburr.

But do I think about any of this when I wake up at 3 am and can’t go back to sleep? I do not. Last night a song came on in my head and I spent half an hour trying to remember the words to the second verse. The night before I tried to remember the names of all the pets I had as a kid.

Still, I persevere in trying to improve matters. I read stories on sites like the New York Times and the Guardian. But do I mull over them when I folding the dark laundry? I do not. I wonder if I should do the light load now and hang it up overnight or wait until the morning.

The struggle to entertain myself is real.

- Nicola Whitfield is YOU’s deputy editor





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