Online pub quizzes brought me and my friends closer together. And besides, who wants to go for a socially distanced pint?
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When anthropologists sift back through the raft of data we have created in lockdown, they’ll be able to see clear trends of social chaos, like gradients of mud dappled through ancient rock: the pre-lockdown toilet roll stampede; the post-lockdown banana bread era; that week we all installed Houseparty, because we thought it’d be fun; that week we all uninstalled Houseparty, because we believed a viral lie about data. We’re in a different season of lockdown now, one of clumsy hope, a widespread lean in to an idea of a new normal, that beach visits can be augmented with the anarchic thrill of shitting in a burger carton, and there’s a palpable shift in feeling that all this might be over, soon, and that our old life will return. It is only a few more days until pubs open in England, for instance. Nature is healing.
I think this is misplaced, though, for two reasons. One, the science, which is as absolutely grim as ever, it’s just they don’t do the daily coronavirus briefings any more so it seems slightly less bad. And, two, the fact that … well, was “normal” even that good to begin with? I think back to life before coronavirus and obviously I crave it – remember getting buses, and eating in restaurants, and hugging your family? – but also realise it was, for many, already punctuated with horror, before this particular horror came along. Be honest: how good was life before lockdown? Mine was all right, but not great. Six out of 10, maybe? A low seven?