Lockdown: choose your prison


Credit: Unsplash

Lucy Donaldson

Lockdown fever is spreading fast, but where is it worst?

It’s day 21, or 200, of lockdown. Sleep patterns are no longer a thing. The highlight of your day is now watching Tiger King conspiracy theories on YouTube and checking the downstairs neighbour isn’t exceeding her one daily jog. You’ve baked three banana loaves in the last 24 hours and have legitimately contemplated cutting your own fringe. The days of being able to leave the house to socialise are long behind you and show no prospect of returning any time soon. The idea of going to the pub with a few mates now seems like an alien memory, some sort of fever dream of another life.

When Boris Johnson’s sombre lockdown announcement came on March 23, many faced a difficult choice: where best to isolate. Three weeks (minimum) is a long time to spend cooped up in any one place, so making the right decision was paramount. For students, there were generally two options – isolate at home, or isolate in your University accommodation.

Following the broadcast, you and your flatmates have a discussion. You either need to rough it out in solidarity or retreat to your respective homes, as no one wants to quarantine alone. Initially, roughing it out seems doable. A few bottles of gin and some board games don’t sound so bad – it’ll be like a really long sleepover. You can do flat dinners, learn a few TikTok dances, maybe even start a band. You’re all so busy these days, it could be nice to get some quality time together. 

However, as the conversation rolls on, you begin to rethink the situation. What if lockdown lasts longer than three weeks? Sure, you love your flatmates, but would you still love them after a month of being locked in a confined space with them? Probably not. With toilet roll and pasta supplies at big Tesco diminishing daily, the thought of home is becoming progressively more appealing. Home cooked meals, your washing done for you and double glazing – yes please. Who cares if you need to sacrifice your new-found independence? It’s not as if your mum can question where you’re going any more. Although you can already envisage the passive-aggressive comments about your “unhealthy” alcohol consumption and cheesy chip related weight gain.

Both options have pros and cons. Your family can be annoying, but then again, so can your flatmates. You want your freedom, but you also want a cuddle from your mum. You want to keep chinning a bottle of wine a night judgement free, but you also want a cup of coffee from the fancy coffee machine in your house.  Both also seem to involve some degree of FOMO. You’ll either be missing out on flat bonding or missing out on family time. There doesn’t seem to be a right answer. Basically, isolation is going to be pretty crap regardless. You cross your fingers, hope for the best and pick somewhere. At this stage you’re probably regretting wherever you’ve chosen to stick it out, but know that you would always have felt that way. The grass is always greener on the other side, and it looks particularly green when you’re stuck inside all day.

Wherever you’ve chosen to isolate, I hope you’re staying safe, sane and managing to make the best of it. If not, you can always pitch a tent out the back.


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