The Thing Is…COVID-19! – With Bree James

I’ve never really been one to fit in or have many friends. As a result, COVID-19 life for me didn’t change my social (well anti-social) life much. I enjoyed having a simpler life for those few weeks. I finally had a rock-solid excuse for not having to get out of my pajamas and leave the house. The thing is, it’s been quite interesting living this ‘new norm’ as they call it. And I am finding myself having a laugh at what life was and is like thanks to this pandemic.

I have noticed a few things like my children’s banter about germs. Everything is “I don’t want to catch Covid, so I can’t… (insert task they don’t want to do)”. My child forgot his toothbrush for an overnight trip and he told me he couldn’t brush his teeth with his finger in case he caught Covid-19. Literally everything they can link with Covid-19… they do. They come up with more theories than any conspiracist on social media that I have seen. Our children are not only little greenies these days; reminding us which bin to put things in, they’ve started a war or germs and we finally don’t have to argue with them to wash their hands. Covid-19 has become the “dog ate my homework” excuse for the 21st century.

The next thing I found hilarious, or sad, whichever way you look at it, is; twenty years ago I was lining up for nightclubs. Now I am lining up to go into Bunnings, Bra’s and Things, and the pharmacy with the same sort of anticipation. Instead of getting excited it’s ‘happy hour,’ I got excited if I found seeds to grow my own food. Or some hand santiser and toilet paper!.

What the heck has happened to my life?

Then, I realised that I used to do anything to avoid taking the bin out. In ISO I was volunteering. This was just so I could get out of the house for an excursion and smell something better than my own family. Being in a house of boys is smelly business at the best of times. This is especially true when they’re eating our camping kit of baked beans because you’ve been avoiding going to the store.

Many of us thought we’d turn into farmers. I started gardening just in case food shortages got worse. All I can say about this phase is that if my family relied on my food growing ability, we’d be eating weeds as these are the only things I can’t seem to kill.

One thing I was great at though – was cooking.

ISO was a time where ingredients were low, and we had to become the MacGyver’s of our kitchen. Finding recipes to create without the key ingredients of rice, eggs, pasta, and flour saw me create some pretty cool dishes. I don’t know about you, but some of us have eaten waaayyyy too much and have become a little ‘cuddlier’ – as I like to call it. It didn’t really matter then as we didn’t see anyone, but now it’s like ‘ok…someone pull me out of these jeans.’

Due to this, many of us thought it was a good time to take up an old hobby. Of course, it involved exertion to try and burn some of those extra kilo’s from all of that cooking, eating and drinking. But we forgot that we are older, heavier and way less fit than we used to be. Medical professionals coined a new term “Covid Casualties” to deal with people who took up new sports like Mountain Bike riding and left with two broken arms not being able to wipe their own butts after their first attempt. I thankfully didn’t injure myself doing some of my old hobbies. I do think however that something like knitting is on the horizon for the future as I have said to myself many times these past few months; “I am too old for this stuff” with very sore muscles and bones.

My favorite thing is watching two people interact; trying to work out if they should shake hands, hug, fist bump or just awkwardly flap around each other like startled chickens, realising mid movement that they were about to touch and they shouldn’t.

Who would have thought life would ever be like this?

In the end, this pandemic has taught us a lot more than we could ever have realized. This includes a lot about ourselves and our resilience. Most importantly – we have learned what we value most and what is really important. Something I hope we remember as life starts resembling pre-covid normality. 


Read more of Bree’s ‘The Thing Is’ articles here