This is probably the part most people would be expecting to talk about, the Lockdown.
Because of the nature of my work I was already taking precautions so at least in my mind I was already in that situation.
Early on it wasn’t too bad. I had lots of models to make, plenty to paint. Lots of games to play. Both Crunchyroll and Netflix for programs to watch and of course the internet. Yeah I’m a nerd and I often when not working rarely leave my flat anyway (not much to do)
With the original plan that I’d still be working now over I started to work out a routine. I would watch an episode of MST3K in the morning, a means to watch an old cheesy movie, often a monster one. That would last nearly 2 hours which means I could sit down, have breakfast while watching it, and then do some gaming on my PC usually a MMO. Through the rest of the day I would find some DVD box set such as “Yes Minister” to have on in the background while I worked on something or did more gaming. Watch a second episode of MST3K in the evening and eventually head to bed… usually while watching a bunch of stuff on the internet.
It was as the lockdown was coming I decided to work on my Transformers articles. Originally I had planned to do the one about female Transformers as a bit of a palate cleanser for what they had done to Doctor Who earlier in the year. But as a Lockdown was looming I thought people were going through some scary times, maybe if I wrote about something I enjoy and have a deep fondness for, they might feel that fondness and make them think about things they like (it helped I always have a few Transformers close by, transforming them is somewhat relaxing). This also had the added effect it gave me another thing to do during the lockdown, workout what to talk about, look up information etc.
What however was a more unusual situation was when it came to food. I had long since realized the highest risk of infection came from the supermarkets. Not because they were unhygienic no, just simple statistics. It being the one place we all really have to go to. So I limited myself to going there once a week, choosing Lidl over Tesco since I normally shop at Lidl anyway plus Tesco was probably busier. This did mean limiting what and when I ate, choosing foods to limit having to go outside to once a week, probably lost some weight over the lockdown thanks to that.
I found Lidls was very well set up and they did good work making markers for people to stand on. Making sure I went only on a weekend evening quite late so the amount of people was small. Also occasionally found a few odd dinners to try out, for example tried a vegetarian curry. Once I got home I took cleaning product and wiped all the doors I touched as well as washing my hands, I didn’t even touch the food I bought at the shop till the next day. Each Friday would be capped off with an order from Busters, a nice little treat for getting through it. I got through my first week rather confidently, even did a walk along the coast nearby I had never done before. Then the first case hit. Every time I went outside my door I was at risk from an invisible threat, worried in a few days I too would be struggling to breathe. I was scared, and even worse. I was alone, no one to help comfort me on it, just working to keep my pet fish alive as the only living thing I was interacting with. All that confidence went the moment the first case hit. Till then I was keeping my spirits going with the notion that maybe we hit lockdown before anyone got a case, even happy when people were told the boats were only for islanders, that maybe we had avoided all this… when I was proven wrong I was shaken hard.
While my rationing and restrictions meant I now only had to go out once a week I couldn’t escape the effects of the virus. I saw internet shows having to put their works on hold or heavily alter them to be made at home, even TV shows did the same and the only ones I actually watched were the Mash Report and the Last Leg (both were very good by the way). Anime was also hit as Japan had entered into a state of emergency so many of the shows that were going to go on were pushed back, the Dub of Iruma also went on hiatus as did many others for a few weeks while they worked to adapt. There was however some good shows I found during this time, I indeed reviewed a few. But often I was looking for anything to watch not so much for entertainment now, but just to make some noise so for a moment I didn’t feel so alone. Even set up stuff on my sofa to look like I had company in a semi joking manner.
I was in daily phone contact with a family member once again scheduled for a specific time of the day, I had to keep some kind of structure, also sent a message to my boss every day just to see how they were. But being alone, completely alone all that time was eating me from the inside. I had issues with it before but, well you now know the lockdown here lasted 3 months. I was looking at people on TV complaining about being with their families or teaching their kids and thinking they didn’t know how lucky they have it… I said to myself while panning over to the array of toys set on the sofa to look like I had company. I also was now running out of things to watch as I had used up most of MST3K about half way through. Fortunately internet friends came to my aid in that regard.
I ended up replacing the morning episodes of MST3K with watching Shawn the Sheep on Netflix but it was my friends online that helped me get back into something that helped me through the latter half of the lockdown. Kamen Rider! You may not know what that is, But it’s a series from Japan, sort of the Older Brother series of Super Sentai which was brought over to the West as Power Rangers (I plan an article about my history with that, just need to get it worked out) which they had previously tried and failed to bring over. Probably because they babied it and Kamen rider can deal with some Heavy subject maters. This was like a second surge for me I had an amazing show to watch with characters I got invested in, though I did hit the snag of the current series being on hiatus due to the previously mentioned state of emergency in Japan… but not to worry I had plenty of other series to watch.
My mother had also kindly ordered me some masks to wear while out and… Of course I put them on, heck it actually made me more comfortable while shopping, and as masks in shops became mandatory, to my joy I saw the people of Orkney took to wearing them without any fuss. Sure you saw the odd person not but given our Covid cases hadn’t gone into the double digits through the lockdown, seems Orkney had a below average number of them. This meant I was for the first time in a long time not stressed out shopping, was able to take it a bit slower, still adhering to social distancing but I wasn’t panicked and rushed. When the Daily Scoop opened up for take away I decided to order from them on the Friday.
While it was a harrowing 3 months, Orkney had seemed to have avoided the worst of it. We had very few cases through the 3 months and now shops and cafes had made changes to adapt to the current situation and were reopening. I was not unaffected by the 3 months however. Sadly I had begun to suffer from it all, easily breaking down into tears about everything and my anxiety attacks had returned in force due to fear of catching the virus. I managed to use playing Animal Crossing in the mornings to mitigate them but it was unpleasant having to make my body realize it was fine. I had not come out of this undamaged, forced to face just how alone I was. I learned what loneliness is.
I had learned a few tricks though, taught myself how to make omelettes so I wouldn’t just be having toast for breakfast, even found a nice way to get myself motivated when it came to model painting because it turns out just being stuck indoors for months isn’t reason, in fact during the worst parts I lost motivation and struggled to find a reason to get out of bed. I’m still using both these to this day.
With the lockdown lightening up I looked forward to returning to work, after all I always say I wouldn’t be doing it if I didn’t enjoy it. However though the lockdown was over I knew there would be some changes, but I had already planned what to do with work from before the lockdown so I confidently strode out my door… Wearing a mask and gloves and avoiding people as much as possible as I walked to work for the first time in 3 months.