My morning routine has settled into a bizarre new normal.
The first thing I do when I wake is try to ascertain what time it is without looking at my iPhone (I know, I know: what’s an alarm clock?); whether it be 5am, 8am, or 10 minutes after I have fallen asleep, I am always strangely accurate. From that, I try to work out what day it is. Or week. Or year. Am I even alive or am I in a dream? Or, where I was in last night’s dream, actually in Star Wars? On these matters, I don’t have a clue.
Propping up my pillows, I first read my e-mails, then Facebook messages, then messages on Twitter and other people’s Tweets (the President’s first; I need to start the day with a laugh). By now, my bladder is bursting, but I have to check Daily Mail Online first to see what gibberish celebrities are spouting. Then, it’s time to empty my bladder, weigh myself (a gloriously steady 114lbs/8st 2lbs, still) and have my two cups of PG Tips.
I drink these sitting at my computer, where I stay for the whole day, sandwiched between it and the television, and do very little other than read about the virus, and watch as many channels discussing it, as I can. The highlight of my day is New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s update, shortly before which I have to go to the bathroom again for fear of wetting myself with excitement.
Coronavirus is my new work avoidance.
I examine maps from all over the world, assessing the likelihood of anyone returning to normality (whatever that was) anytime soon. It’s like New Year’s Eve, tuning in to each country in their time zone, seeing the different countdowns to the New Year (how are all your resolutions going, by the way? No, mine neither).
I know how many people have contracted the virus, who is likely to get it, how many have died from it, what you should eat to boost your immune system, how many toys the President has thrown out of his pram today. Oh, yes. The President’s tantrums. When he is not dispensing his “I’m not a doctor” medical advice, he is shouting at the press, and has now thrown all of his toys out of the pram by announcing that he will no longer give daily press briefings. For that, we can all be grateful. Many lives will be saved as a result of his exiting stage right.
If I go out for a walk or run, I count the number of people who think that the order to wear a mask in NY (if likely to be in proximity to others) does not apply to them. I obsessively take my temperature, looking for signs of a fever. Last night, talking to friends on Face Time, I reached out my glass for a refill when they were pouring wine. I dreamed that a smiley emoji was talking to me, claiming to know I’ve been missing human company. How did I become this person? I’ve realised I need help, so here goes.
Hi, my name is Jaci and I am a Coronaholic (all together, in the group now, please: “Hi, Jaci”). Having consulted AA’s 12 step programme, I feel I might well be on to the way to recovery and share my thoughts here, for anyone else fearful of their sanity being taken over by this insidious virus.
1. We admitted we were powerless over Coronavirus coverage – that our lives had become unmanageable without 24/7 CNN and re-runs of NY Governor Andrew Cuomo’s daily briefings.
2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity – that Power not being the President of the United States.
3. Made a decision to turn our will and lives over to the care of God as we understood Him – God not being the President, despite what he might say to the contrary.
4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves by acknowledging that buying enough toilet tissue to build a small igloo village in Iceland is very mean.
5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs – you voted a lunatic to be your President.
6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character – you have until the November election to have those defects removed. Do not drink or ingest bleach in the process.
7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings – invoking Amendment 25 would do it.
8. Made a list of all the persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all. This list need not include Amazon or Netflix, to whom you have caused no harm whatsoever in bolstering their coffers.
9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others. You need to take out a lot more subscriptions to frivolous TV channels and order in your food from all the restaurants you always moaned about being overpriced way back in the real world.
10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it. Feel free to allow “inventory” to mean counting the number of wine bottles in your cupboard and admit you were wrong in not ordering nearly enough to get you through the stress of the President’s advice.
11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out. Yes, it is all right to turn off the news and watch back to back episodes of Murder She Wrote. Only the God within you has the strength to pick up that remote. You know you can do it.
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to Coronaholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs. When you have broken the cycle, chat to other Coronaholics on Face Time, sharing your joy at having beaten your addiction to Coronavirus coverage, while sharing your own tedious experience and talking non-stop about what everyone else thinks about the crisis. Recognise that you have merely switched cabins on the Titanic.
Now, what time does Cuomo come back on? Fancy a bottle of Rioja, anyone?