Lockdown week 24: A parallel universe

Whether I’m a believer is one thing but I’ve always liked the idea of a parallel universe. And if lockdown week 24 is proving anything it’s that I think we can all agree we never thought life would look like this if we’d tried to guess this time last year. Think of the two films Sliding Doors and Groundhog Day (I’m going somewhere with this I promise). Sliding Doors promotes the idea that one decision can change the course of fate entirely. Groundhog Day, on the other hand, says that if things go wrong, you can get up the next day and try again until you get it right. COVID19 has been to our lives what Gwyneth missing that train was to Sliding Doors. And we can all agree that lockdown has been like Groundhog Day.

We had big plans for 2020. Well, maybe not big plans, but plans nonetheless and pretty much every single one of them has been cancelled. So, when we were out for dinner the other week courtesy of Rishi Sunak, we started having a chat about what our year so far would have looked like if COVID19 had never happened.

Cue Wayne’s World style Scooby Doo alternate ending…

Let’s start at the top and the first thing that we had cancelled was my lovely cousin Becky’s hen do in May, and then naturally the subsequent wedding which was due to be in July. So VE day  would have been the start of a wonderful weekend away with some of the female contingent of my family and the wedding would have been a great opportunity to wear a pretty dress for a change.

Two weeks in June would have looked very much like this:

As we would have been flying off to Portugal for two weeks. Anyone who watches my Instagram stories will be breathing a sign of relief as it means they’ve been spared the daily t-shirt/shorts combo I post on there. My waistline is also breathing a sigh of relief, although lockdown itself has made sure it’s been significantly stretched anyway. I’d have come back with a decent tan though which would have lasted about a week into July…

Speaking of July, we were due to see Steve Tyler and his mates in Manchester which was an xmas present for Dave. Since this is my parallel universe I’m going to believe the set list consisted of all my favourite Aerosmith songs with surprise appearances from Eminem to do Sing for the Moment which samples Dream On, and Run DMC to perform Walk This Way. Curse you COVID19!

I’d have had a big BBQ for my birthday like we do every year, and this year I’d have invited even more Dave’s and even more Chris’ to try and outdo ourselves from last year:

L-R Dave, Dave, Dave, Dave, Me, Chris, Chris, Chris and Chris

My summer would have been taken up with Great North Run training and the fact that was cancelled leaves me with mixed feelings. It’s always nice to have a purpose; something to aim for and something that Dave and I can do together. I could have done the virtual GNR but in all honesty I knew I wouldn’t without a physical race to aim for. But the fact it got cancelled wasn’t met with too much disappointment if i’m completely honest. We’ve deferred to next year and I’ll run doubly fast to make up for it I promise. I have missed all the training toning up my legs though.

I’ve said a few times to various people when we’ve been talking about what 2020 may have looked like and the answer I always come up with is; it would have just been normal life. We’d have all just been getting on as normal; got the metro into work, chatted to the woman in Pret about how we both love a simple cup of filter coffee, complained I was never quick enough to get a twirl or packet of Rib n Saucy Nik Naks from the vending machine, gone merrily up and down to Eastbourne once a month an hanging out with the ‘away from home’ crew in the local spoonies.

I guess it’s all the stuff that I never thought about enough to miss, that I miss the most. All those random nights out, the ones you’re not all that bothered about going on in the beginning but then somehow you end up in Pop World followed by Grainger Street McDonalds at 2am. Or all the random days that happen in the office that sees a boring Thursday into the day a couple of horses broke into the car park and tried to get into the building.

There would undoubtedly have been times where we had impromptu drinks on a warm Friday after work (which always went that one glass of wine too far), afternoons at the Free Trade, someone having an extra ticket for something that I ended up tagging along to and discovering a new local band, gym fitness regimes started and then given up after a week and a half because it’s too hard.

All those tiny little non moments that we take for granted but end up turning into memories or anecdotes have disappeared this summer, and that’s what I miss most about our parallel COVID free universe 🙁 

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