Covid-19 Quarantine. Week Eight. Still Alive – Marie Cooper

Actor’s Covid-19 Quarantine – Week Eight – Still Alive

Reading Time: 9 minutes

Not sure what is going on with Coronapocolypse now. We can go out and see people, but only one person, and only if we know them and stand two meters apart. If we don’t work at home, we should go to work, and see lots of people we don’t know, and we won’t be two meters apart.

Quarantine Day 50

Monday 11 May 2020

Suppose, I had better catch up on the Boris thing tomorrow, so I can actually hear what is going on and make sure I have no surprises coming. If someone contacts me about my acting work starting again, nothing in the world will get in my way. I will spring into action and probably get hit by one of those weird, polluting, 4-wheeled, driving things that have suddenly starting riding all over my super-wide footpaths. If my retail work says it is starting again, nothing will get me out of bed, short of offers of cold, harsh, cash, a shed-tonne of caffeine, and liberal amounts of swearing.

Read that Primark are planning to open the moment the gov lifts restrictions. I wouldn’t trust the current UK government to boil an egg without ****ing it up. So, even though I’ve just had to bin multiple holey socks, I would rather be sockless than head to, what will probably be, Covid-19 Hotspot numero uno.

Only day two of getting up at 6.50am for the morning writing salon and I already look like I have not had any sleep since 1832. Did two writing Zoomings. Then went for 10,000 steps. Had to have a short period of ‘just resting my eyeballs’ after dinner. If I don’t finish this play soon, in the aftertimes, I’m going to give up on writing and become a professional stickman doodler instead. There has to be more money in that right?

I managed to bag a Tesco delivery. Just in time that it seems discussions are occurring to downgrade Coronapocolypse to Coronageddon. My cupboard is now stuffed full of cat litter. On the plus side, it will be enough to last through ten weeks. That should be plenty enough to surf up and over the second wave of doom in a week or twos time. A wave that the swarming hordes went out paddling in today. I went in Home Bargains this afternoon to get stuff I couldn’t get from Tesco, but made a hasty exit when everyone seemed to have an incredibly inconvenient case of social-distancing amnesia.

A total fail in getting an early night for the early morning…. again. I am going to be such a bright little sunbeam first thing tomorrow morning.

Quarantine Day 51

Tuesday 12 May 2020

Did the 6.50am thing again today. That’s three early starts in a row. Might treat myself to a lie in tomorrow. I want to watch The Globe’s free vid of Macbeth before it expires and I’m too sleepy to concentrate on Shakespeare.

Whilst searching for an emoji, Facebook said that the ‘squirrel’ was one of my most recently used. This worried me, as I don’t recall using it at all recently. Is leaking brain squirrels a new symptom of Covid-19?

Took a walk up to Harrison’s Wood. 17,177 steps. After so long spent sitting on my bottom, that was a bit of a trek. Especially as I walked us in the wrong direction initially, which turned out to be a little creepy after watching the Vivarium movie. We got stuck in a loop of indistinguishable, suburban bungalows, walking in unnerving levels of quiet and with perfectly blob-cropped little shrubs. Relieved to hear birdsong and find no signs to ‘Yonder’ when we did eventually find our way out. Apparently, it was just Sprowston.

Saw a pair of deer walking in the wood, and a tree with a bum. Laughed a lot. Photographed it. Decided not to post it as it’s pretty gross to be honest.

Surprised to see Homebase open as we crossed the carpark on the way home and, as there appears to be a garden rake famine at the moment. I thought I’d see if they had any. Guy on the door offered me a trolley. So, I said, no thanks, just popping in for a rake.

Then he apologised and said that it was for social distancing. Now, I could have stood and pointed out that shopping trolleys (in this universe anyway) can only face in one direction at any one time. So, placing my dainty, clean paws onto one of their covid-infested playthings wouldn’t prevent me from bumping my bum into people backwards, insidiously sidling up to them or doing trolley donuts if I were that way inclined and were incapable of keeping 2 meters away from another human being.

Trolleys are not surrounded in an impervious virus resistant bubble. They are also, more importantly, not 2 meters long. Homebase are not a strong enough contender to knock the Government off of the top spot of daft instructions this week, but they have come crashing in at an early, brakeless, second place. I decided they could keep their forking gardening implements.

Had a craving for oven chips. Gave in to it. Big mistake. After eating paleo for so long, processed chips taste like… I’m not sure what they taste like. Something you would buy from a ‘Fakery’. Dry and tasteless and most certainly not ‘food’.

Quarantine Day 52

Wednesday 13 May 2020

Because I was so tired last night, I messed up and mistakenly set my alarm too early. So being tired cost an hour’s sleep. I’m still tired. Life is cruel.

Very productive writing day. Great class in the morning. Transferred almost all final scraps and sticky notes over to script, during the evening writer’s salon. Realised that either I still have some notes hidden somewhere, or worse still, there is a lot of my story is still trapped in my head.

Great news message from side-gig. Coronapocolypse will keep us shut for a while as yet. Bloody hell! At this rate I might actually finish the play. Even a doom-ridden, apocalyptic, destructive cloud of death has a silver lining.

Got stage fright on my morning writing zoom. What they hell was that all about? I’ve read my stuff out every week and it’s been fine. Today we wrote a monologue. Just the slight feeling that I was performing in front of a small audience, after so long, kept locked away from the stage, set my heart racing off the scale and every cell shaking, most obviously in my hands. Thanks, Covid-19, you have knocked my Acting HP down to zero. Not cool.

Caught the afternoon short window of awakeness, between ‘too late to be morning’ and ‘too early for night jammies’, to watch Macbeth. Never seen it before. Thought that was pretty blasphemous for an actor. Now I have. To be honest, didn’t like it. But not as bad as Richard III.

Well, that was a bit of a boredate, but I’m tired and going to bed super-early. Admittedly with a book and wine. Better to fall asleep horizontal, I find.

Quarantine Day 53

Thursday 14 May 2020

Quarantine Day 53, take two. I didn’t have the same day twice. I haven’t lost the plot… yet! I just wrote a cynical rant and decided not to post it and started again from scratch.

I made the mistake of watching a clip from morning TV with Matt Hancock being interviewed by Gordon the Gopher dude and lost my ****. Because when you are not wading hip deep in news, and you just dip a toe in after a few days, it’s even more unbelievably crazy to observe.

Basically said, you can see one parent at a time, two meters apart, but not both at the same time. If you leave 10 minutes between seeing one parent and then the other, then it’s okay. But you can have a cleaner can come round, rubbing their mitts all over your duvet and toilet rim. That’s fine.

Also, I did the online self-employment test to see if I am eligible for help. That was a mistake. Now I am ****ed off that, people who work in one stable, comfy job get 80% of their full 100% earnings… whilst my being a self-employed creative, in a portfolio career, having also lost all my income, I receive 80% of 50% of my earnings… because I can only get help with my paye survival job, but get no help at all for all my lost self-employed earnings.

Sent an additional enquiry to HMRC anyway. Call me old fashioned, but if I am to be bent over and painfully shafted, I want a human being to have the balls to tell me directly. Argh…  I’m ranting again.

Almost signed up to join a union today. I am that peeved with the world.

M&S have removed venison sausage from their 2 for £5 offer. Why? Are deer affected by Coronavirus now?

This is a day I didn’t get to see green things and got agitated and annoyed with the increase in traffic and the insidious slide back toward ‘normal’. I think I  should maybe stay inside tomorrow, pretend outside doesn’t exist and get back to writing.

Quarantine Day 54

Friday 15 May 2020

Had another ‘forgetting my lines just before I have to go onstage’ nightmare this morning. Brain is probably just trying to be helpful and thinks I should be learning lines. Not sure if lizard brain quite understands the importance of a global pandemic getting in the way of work. Thankfully, woke up just before I had to say my lines though so… yay?

Walk to B&Q on a quest for a rake was fun (that is sarcasm, just in case that wasn’t clear). For a start, garden rakes are not with the garden stuff, as expected. So, I had to enter and navigate the strange, one-way labyrinth that would have made the Goblin King proud, complete with indecisive, head juggling Fireys and trolley laden bag ladies that blocked the way.

For a moment I was trapped in an anxious moment of not being able to proceed, but also not able to go backward against the flow, lest I plummet into an oubliette. Trapped.

Jareth tried to trip me up by sending me on a side-quest to the queue of eternal stretch. Finally, I had to endure the testing. I placed my quest items at the feet of the tiller and backed three steps away from my prize, to the waiting spot as requested, as if my basket contained an explosive head.

Then the till person ordered me to proceed… But… told me that I could not organise my quest items into slots there, but would have to take everything and do it outside.

A test. Another bloody test. All my quest items were now strewn on the floor where she had told me to place them. I was not permitted to proceed with packing them. I also could not juggle a rucksack, a bag, a purse, cashpoint card, a receipt, three pots of lavender, a pot of white emulsion and a rake from that spot to outside.

I refused to be deceived. I knew that the way to be successful with the till riddler was to do the opposite to what I had been told. A zen like moment of calm descended on me as the world fell down, and I realised that I had successfully won my quest items, had already fulfilled my payment end of the bargain and B&Q had no power over me.  I did not panic; I took my time and placed my quest items into my bag and walked away.

In one last attempt, to defeat me, the alarm went off as I passed through the magic doors. I looked helplessly at the occupants of the B&Q castle and the other quest participants, but no one came forth. So, I made my escape.

I felt safe and mighty carrying my ‘Coronapocolypse’ quest rake-weapon home unsheathed… warrior-like even… Right up until I remembered that they only guy that I could recall that used a rake like thing to fight with was Pigsy, the pig demon from Monkey.

Quarantine Day 55

Saturday 16 May 2020

Turns out getting up super-early with squishy last week was a bad idea. Now she wants to get up and write early every Saturday morning. So, we were up at 6.45 this morning and I spent most of the rest of today, propping my eyeballs open, trying not to nap.Tried to write some of my play… Wrote a dialogue about someone’s intense paranoia about sheep instead.

Such an emoche moment watching Andrew Lloyd Webber’s CATS (the Musical, not the movie). We had just got to Grizabella and Memories. Told squishy this was my favourite bit (I would give my right paw to play Grizabella) and was pretty enrapt because it’s the first time I’ve had the opportunity to see the musical in its entirety.

Squish seemed confused. When I asked what was wrong, she asked how come Grizabella is so sad when she’s not really, when she’s just acting. Had to try to explain, that that is what acting is. It isn’t trying to pretend. It’s being real. Could hear the little cogs whirring.

Was amazed the musical held her attention. We did split it in half, but it was almost two and a half hours in total of singing and dancing cats. Squishy felt the need to point out that the cats were actually people dressed up, not actual cats. Fairly certain that she did not, for one moment, seriously think that I hadn’t noticed that, and was being facetious. We did have a lol that one of the cats looked like he had a butthole.

Bustopher Jones was her favourite Jellicle Cat. But she still said that Frankenstein has been the best live stage performance we have watched so far. Not sure whether she will be up for next week’s show. It hasn’t been announced yet, but I suspect it’s going to be Evita.

So happy and grateful that all these performances are being streamed free. I’ve never been able to afford to see these just by myself, let alone be able to take anyone. I did take my sonface when he was little, but theatre was (still is) so expensive that visits were incredibly rare. Happy to see all these amazing performances and shows, but so very sad that it has taken a global crisis for them to be available for everyone, regardless of class, wealth and privilege.

Quarantine Day 56

Sunday 17 May 2020

Today has mostly been procrastination day. I woke up, did some stuff. blinked and I was in bed with a beer.

But I couldn’t for the life of me, tell you anything that I have done that even borders on constructive, productive, creative, inventive etc. I think I must have used up all my weekly ‘ives’ by yesterday.

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