As of today, South Africa has entered lockdown level 2. South Africans can now buy booze and cigarettes (finally!), we can drink alcohol in restaurants and bars, we can go to the gym, we can visit our friends and family (most of us were already doing so but now it’s official), and we can move freely throughout the country. We still have a 10:00 p.m. curfew, and international travel remains banned.

There are still at least a couple of thousand new COVID-19 cases every day in South Africa, but the numbers have dropped significantly since last month when there were 10,000-12,000 new cases every day. Of course no one knows what the future holds, but at least for now the situation is getting better, not worse.

I know I should be happy that many pre-pandemic aspects of life are resuming. I am happy, especially for the sake of the South African economy. (I’m also really grateful I haven’t contracted COVID-19.) But at the same time, I’m apprehensive and uncomfortable with the idea of rejoining the world.

Aloe on Melville Koppies
A photo of an aloe on the Melville Koppies in 2012.

I haven’t left my house after nightfall in five months, and the idea of doing so seems bizarre. I rarely get out of bed before 7:00 a.m. anymore, which is admittedly wonderful. I’ve grown accustomed to not spending money on coffee/drinks with friends, eating out, traveling, hiring Ubers, or filling my tank with petrol. I can’t imagine sitting in traffic ever again. I’ve forgotten how to apply makeup and I hardly even look at myself in the mirror anymore. I love not suffering from FOMO. I love not having plans. My cats have come to expect my presence at all times.

I’m worried I’ve become irrevocably boring. And now that I don’t have the lockdown as an excuse for staying home, it could be that I’m just plain lazy. Why leave the house when I can sit at home knitting, watching Netflix, and stuffing my face with homemade macaroni and cheese?

One possible answer to the above question is: Because you need something to blog about. And this is a very real concern. I can only blog about sitting at home doing nothing for so long.

It doesn’t help that my current memoir-writing quest has sent me on a very inward-looking path lately. I’ve spent the last two weeks digging through old journals, photos, letters, and Skype conversations — obsessing over the crazy events of my past and marvelling at how interesting my life used to be. I’m both shocked by, and jealous of, my younger self.

Speaking of my memoir, just a reminder that you can support my book-writing endeavor by signing up as a patron on my Patreon page. If you do that, you’ll receive weekly voice notes about my writing process, special blog posts with excerpts from my old journals, newsletters, and other cool stuff.

Thanks to all of my wonderful new patrons, and old patrons who increased their Patreon pledges over the past three weeks. I appreciate your support so much:

  • David Park
  • Louise Whitworth
  • Kate Cockroft
  • Jeroen and Soulafa
  • Rhoda

I know I need to push past my hermit-like tendencies and figure out how to have a life again. My first step is getting a haircut, which I’m going to do tomorrow for the first time in two years. Then maybe I’ll meet a friend for a drink, or go to a restaurant. (I’ll wear a mask, of course.) Maybe I’ll buy new underwear and get a pedicure. Then maybe, just maybe, I’ll work up the courage to get in my car and take a trip.

Until then, I’m sure I’ll find something else to blog about soon.

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