It’s late September, summer in Joburg, and I’m suffering from a case of lockdown nostalgia.
Remember that time I published a blog post every day for 100 days, and I had nothing to post except flowers and cats but you all enjoyed it anyway? (Or maybe you just read it anyway because you had nothing better to do?)
Remember when I hugged a tree and wasn’t even being ironic about it?
Remember when we were legally bound to stay in our houses, and when we did leave — only to buy groceries, because nothing else was allowed — there were no people and no cars outside? Remember when the simple act of inviting another human being into your home felt naughty and subversive? Because it was, indeed, a crime?
Remember when we had prohibition, and everyone bought cigarettes on the black market, and drinking a glass of carefully rationed wine after a long day sitting in front of your laptop (at home) was the ultimate luxury?
Remember when women stopped wearing bras? Remember when we all watched The Tiger King, and we hated it but we loved making bad jokes about Carol Baskin?
Remember when there was no pressure to make plans, no need to make any decisions because virtually everything we normally make decisions about was banned? Remember when going to bed at 9:00 p.m. was cool? Remember when all the restaurants were closed, even for takeaway, and baking banana bread was the most exciting task of the day?
Remember when community Facebook groups were filled with posts by people ratting out other people for jogging?
Remember when we thought the world might end, and it sucked, so all our everyday worries suddenly seemed insignificant and we all just said “fuck it” all the time about everything and that was enough?
Is it weird I miss those days? Is it weird I can’t fathom the idea of blogging about restaurants again? Is it weird I haven’t slept a single night outside my own house since February, but I still don’t feel like going anywhere? Is it weird I’m relieved to be writing a book — a task that gives me an excuse to continue living like a hermit?
Actually it’s not weird. I did a little research and it turns out lockdown nostalgia is a real thing. There are actual articles written about it. So I know I’m not alone.
I know I have a privileged perspective. Lockdown nostalgia isn’t possible for those who acutely suffered, or are still suffering. I don’t have kids who needed home-schooling, or an abusive partner, and I didn’t experience a serious financial calamity. I haven’t contracted COVID-19, or lost a loved one to police brutality, or gone hungry, or suffered (too much) in the countless ways people have been screwed by this pandemic. I’m very, very lucky.
The lockdown wasn’t funny. But the fact that I miss it kind of is.