I was wondering why, in this peaceful oasis of lock down, I don’t seem to be getting anything of value done. Certainly not as much as I might have liked. Given all the days are now blurring into one great big soggy lump of time and misery I decided closer analysis was needed. I hope this reflects your life too because nobody likes to suffer alone.
8:00am Stagger down the stairs not knowing what day it is, or even really caring, after being kept awake until 4am by cats and panting dogs. I figure four hours sleep is plenty. Junior is already up and at ’em. He’s made his own breakfast (toast and maple syrup because “You need to switch up your breakfasts”). I make us both a brew thinking – like every day – we can allow Mrs Hewitt a lie in.
8:15 am. Everyone living nearby wakes up, goes outside, and starts hammering, sawing, drilling, banging, recycling, having skips delivered, and generally being the worst thing since Hitler. Poppy, our eldest dog, decides this is the perfect time to nip outside, have a shit, and start indulging in her favourite hobby. Barking. I’m already feeling a pain in my head. I contemplate the fact it might be a tumour. The thought should be more alarming.
8:30am Mrs Hewitt comes downstairs. The lie in never really happened, the after dawn chorus put paid to that. I make her a brew because I’m good like that. I tell the dog to be quiet. She ignores me. The cats are hungry, I feed them. But it’s not enough. It’s never enough. I switch on the PC to get some work done.
9:00am I’ve been on Twitter for half an hour. I’m perplexed, annoyed, generally vexxed. This is normal. My headache has increased. I contemplate the fact it’s probably two tumours. I consider phoning the doctor to complain but instead try pleading with Poppy to stop barking at everything. She ignores me. She doesn’t care. The cats are staring at me.
10:00am Mrs Hewitt has decided to do something called “Gardening”. She’s out the back, dog barking, neighbours apparently having a drum convention, and she’s apparently pulling out the lawn by the handful. I contemplate asking her if she’s okay, I make another brew instead. For all I know that’s how you do the gardening. One of the cats decides to scratch me. I’m not sure why.
My mother phones for a chat and to tell me her shopping requirements. She explains every item carefully, gives me a story on each, and talks about various people being ill. I think one of my eyes is actually pulsing now. I turn away from the phone call to tell Poppy she really needs to stop barking. She does at least look at me, then barks.
11:00am I’ve been trying to colour grade some video footage for a while now in the vain hope I can be productive. I spend the best part of an hour explaining to Junior that I don’t have an hour free just now to browse the Roblox store. I think Mrs Hewitt is trying to dig her way to China now. She’s also shouting at the dog to be quiet, it doesn’t seem to be working.
12:00pm after spending nearly an hour explaining why we can’t waste time looking at the Roblox store I log into Roblox and look at the store. The next hour is spent alternating between getting a new T Shirt and being told, under no uncertain terms, that I’m “doing it wrong” time and time again. I think I cry a little. Mrs Hewitt is brushing down the front of the shed. This might still be gardening, I say nothing. I contemplate running away but realise I lack the energy. The headache is also getting worse. Four tumours.
1:15pm I decide enough is enough. I bring the dog in, shut the back door, and tell Junior he can play on his Xbox (it’s the only way children can actually socialise right now after all). I sit down at the PC and open up the app building software. The headache is going away, the noise from outside is muffled, I feel like I’m going to get stuff done. It’s going to happen! HERE WE GO!
1:17pm Mrs Hewitt opens the back door, the dog runs out to bark, Junior is screaming at his friends on Fortnite to “Calm down it’s just loot” and one of our nearby neighbours has apparently decided to drill for oil. I contemplate telling them they’re wasting their time given that the value of oil has fallen through the floor. Instead I pray there’s an explosion. The headache is back. I ask Mrs Hewitt if she can see my head pulsing. She doesn’t answer but she does have a pair of secateurs in her hand so I decide not to press the issue. I try telling Poppy that she’s barking a fucking nothing. She doesn’t seem interested in this explanation.
1:20pm I contemplate cutting the cord on Junior’s headset. Can’t find the scissors. Don’t want to ask Mrs Hewitt so instead I weep silently to myself feeling the ball of poison settle into my belly. I think one of our neighbours is Satan. Nothing else could be that loud. I decide I need to throw myself into my work to escape this special hell. Mrs Hewitt goes to the shops, I put my headphones on and promptly fire up the software again after rage quitting three minutes ago.
2:30pm Blearily look around myself after falling down a broken bone compilation rabbit hole on YouTube. Nothing’s been done. Poppy is now alternating between climbing up to the window sill in the living room to bark at random objects and running through to the back to bark at her old favourites.
3:00pm WotSit, our ginger tom cat, scratches and bites me. Apparently I wasn’t stroking his head just right. The misery is only lightened by him attacking junior. I notice he does so with less venom than he displays when attacking me. I tell him to remember who buys his food. He doesn’t care. Poppy has barked so much she’s panting like an old bellows in between barking fits. Our other dog, Spud simply watches on. She’s biding her time.
4:00pm Junior takes a break from screaming at his online friends to explain Siren Head to me. I want to say “Son, you are the centre of my universe. I love you in a way I never thought I could care for another living being. But I DO NOT FUCKING CARE”. Instead I listen, nod, ask questions and go to look at the aforementioned Siren Head or whatever he’s called. I’ve still got nothing much done and the day is running out. Contemplate calling Graeme. Decide to wait a while to see if my brain is actually going to liquefy and run out of my ear or not. It doesn’t. I’m vaguely disappointed.
5:00pm Mrs Hewitt is preparing dinner. I don’t normally mind sharing cooking duties but apparently the combination of burnt and raw isn’t appealing to most people. I try my best, I’m just easily distracted. I don’t ask what’s for dinner though, although calm there’s still a glint in Mrs Hewitt’s eyes I find disconcerting. I assume this is what’s involved in cooking. I open my e-mail again just in case there’s a Nigerian prince who wants to give me money. Instead there’s just an e-mail saying if I don’t send them £1,000 worth of bitcoin they will post a video of me masturbating on the Internet. I reply thanking them for getting in touch and point out I don’t have £1,000 but if they could link me to the video once it’s posted I’d appreciate it. My feelgood happy time is only spoiled by Poppy barking at what she thinks might be the neighbours. I think I have an ulcer.
7:00pm Dinner’s done, the console is turned off, things have been read and everyone settled. I convince myself I’ll get an hour or two of work in before doing a stream later. Why not? It’s all reasonably peaceful apart from the constantly crying child a few doors down and even Poppy is bored of barking at that one. The peace is only slightly disturbed by our other dog, Spud, attacking Junior for no reason. She has no teeth so I just find it funny. I think my tumours are going away.
7:30pm Junior asks if we can watch a film before he has to go to sleep. I like this idea. On the way upstairs I consider letting him watch Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 before deciding that would be bad parenting. He’s only eight. I try to pick something less intense. Midnight Run? No. Day of the Dead? Probably not. Deadpool! Sure, there are some tits and a bit of swearing but everyone likes deadpool. The journey upstairs is only spoiled slightly by Wotsit deciding that my running of my own hand up the banister rail is in fact a grave insult which must be punished. Whilst sucking the gaping wound and swearing in a muffled fashion I’m still okay. It’s okay. It’s fine. Stings though.
8:00pm We’re enjoying our movie when it starts. The weekly “I love the NHS more than you do” competition. They’re all out, clapping, shouting, banging saucepans, blowing a fucking kazoo and – worst of all – making whoop noises. I’ll never understand that. I can’t hear the film, Junior tells me it’s annoying, and downstairs Poppy erupts back into life trying to outdo everyone by barking as if she’s just found a burglar in the kitchen (or somebody randomly walking past, it’s hard to tell what offends her the most). Mrs Hewitt tries calming her before settling in to arguing with her whilst outside the cacophonous din continues. Over the space of a few minutes it starts to die down even though there’s always one arsehole getting the last “whoop” in. It’s chilled. It’s okay.
9:30pm Junior is in bed and I’m heading downstairs. I realise there’s a little time before I have to stream so I can go out in the back garden. The dogs come with me. Poppy is quiet (apart from the rasping) as nobody is having evening drinks and talking too loudly in their gardens. I’m really starting to unwind when spud, previously silent all day, notices Venus in the sky and goes absolutely fucking mental. This sets off Poppy who takes a defiant stance facing the wrong way before kicking off which, in turn, encourages the permanently upset child from a few doors down to resume screaming. I think my tumours have come back. All of them, probably some new ones. I would cry but I’m too tired. I stand amidst this fresh hell a broken man. I contemplate beating myself to death with a hammer but I can’t find one and I’m not sure where the shed key is and I think I’ve just trodden in dog shit. I head back inside after rubbing the sole of my shoe vigorously on our patchy and beaten lawn. At least I have booze. Booze will help.
11:00pm HELLO AND WELCOME TO TRIGGERWARNING…it could be worse.