When is a cage a prison, and when is it a chance for a fresh start?
Morning, it’s April, it’s 9:47am, I just woke up and all I can hear is noise, a wall of noise on what was supposed to be my day off.
I’m lying in bed, the blinds drawn shut with just enough of a crack that I can see blue skies and sun, my ears assaulted with a high pitched wail emanating from the boiler mere feet away from where, until moments earlier I had been soundly asleep, rude really.
The other sound invading my invaluable sleep time was a more pressing one, an issue I would have to venture out of the warmth and relative comfort of my bed to address, the dog needed a piss.
Lest I wish to be mopping up a puddle when I eventually got out of bed I would need to address this particular noise, so I got out of bed with a moan, my hand clasped against the banister on my way down the stairs with the assurity one can only afford to have in their own home these days.
When I reached the poor pet peering up at me, ready to enact the pup prerogative to pee all over the pansies in my parents veg patch I stop to look at him, only briefly as I have absolutely no intention of wrestling the mop out of the cupboard under the stairs today.
He looks back up at me in a way only a pet can, with a mix of unconditional love and expectation. His name is Jake, i’m not certain why, I think it’s a name my mum would have picked if she’d had another child and wasn’t stuck with just me.
Jake’s beginning to get old now, as is unavoidable when you’ve had a pet for more than half of your life. Nothing can live forever, not even the little ball of pure innocence staring up at me.
He can’t jump up on the sofa anymore, nor can he get in and out of the back door into the garden, my Dad had to construct a rudimentary bridge connecting the door to the grass so he can get in and out when he needs to.
Despite all this, when he’s peering up at you, sometimes you can’t help but see a puppy bounding around the house, it’s still in him, he’s not letting time catch up to him just yet.
As I open the door, releasing the dog into the garden to do his business and shout at birds in trees or whatever dogs really do when left to their own devices, I can’t help but appreciate the weather, as cliche as it may sound.
The sun is blaring down, birds chirp, I can hear neighbours doing neighbourly things in their gardens, for a brief moment life seems entirely mundane.
I decide to bask in the normality for a few minutes so I take a seat on a cold wooden chair and I stare up into the blue.
Looking into the clouds your brain finds itself devoid of all stimulant, hungry for something to engage itself so it tries to create it in the form of seeing shapes in the clouds.
Artists have made claim of spending days at a time staring up into the clouds and receiving some divine inspiration.
They wax lyrical about lying back on a sunny day and seeing all manner of fantastical things, except no matter how hard I look they always seem to be rabbits, what’s that bullshit about.
Life is at a stand still, an unprecedented deadly pandemic has swept across the globe and everybody who spent their teen years watching apocalypse movies licking their lips at the prospect of fighting off hordes of zombies with a mop wrestled from under the stairs now find themselves on their sixth season of that Netflix show their friend has been recommending forever. They started it this week.
This government enforced quarantine isn’t too crazy for me, hell i’d almost consider myself an expert. In the past I’ve pretty much lived the quarantine life in all but name.
I would get up late, go to bed even later, eat very little or very often depending on how I feel, speak to as few people as possible, the highlight of my day would be to find something new to watch on Netflix and the only time I would leave the house would be a quick trip to the shop.
This quarantine, away from friends and family to help keep me sane is allowing some of the cracks I’ve worked so hard to fix open back up.
Being stuck within the four walls enclosing you makes the cycle of running from your demons hard, there’s only so far you can run.
I’m distancing myself even more than the two metre limit imposed by the government, i’m letting the messages rack up with no reply forthcoming but i’m sure i’ll get around to them.
I’ve been gradually starting to let the quarantine overcome me but this overlong, rushed, generally directionless piece of writing stands as my testament to self improvement.
As much as it may seem when you see clips of people having garden parties, life is not without hope.
I’ve also been finding ways to keep quarantine interesting. If being stuck indoors is anything it’s an opportunity, an opportunity to indulge yourself creatively, in my case for the first time in ages…
Try to use this time to read something, up until last year I was one of those people who put a book down ten years ago and never truly picked one back up. TV and movie’s are amazing in their own right and kindle and audible aren’t without their merits as much as some snobs might want you to think otherwise, but there’s something about the potential risk of paper cut that really hits different.
Take the opportunity to send a message to somebody if you’ve not heard from them for a while, organise to talk to people but don’t be offended if they don’t always want to, everybody is dealing with this situation in their own way.
Now’s your chance to find a comfortable chair, lean back and look up into the sky for no reason other than to see what you can see, I’ve got a tenner on it just being rabbits though.
Life is still for living, even when you can’t leave the house.