Isolation Diary: Week 6 and 7 – Katie

It took me about half an hour to figure out how many weeks of quarantine have passed. It has been 48 days since the first diary entry (!!) and time is blurring together quicker than ever before. What happened to April?

Monday

This morning my coveted Glossier order finally arrived. I decided to wait until after work before opening it, because I live a life where constant rewards are needed to get me through the day. I sliced open the branded packaging as soon as the clock hit 5:30pm, and was greeted with the beautiful pink bubblewrap and classic sticker that has since been expertly placed on my laptop.

The head lecturer at uni once told us it was cool to decorate our expensive devices with stickers, as a fuck you to Apple and the “system.” Since then, as the little ass-kisser I am, I have proudly given my laptop a sticker-based makeover in an attempt to look like I am against the system… I am aware this actually appears like free advertising for the brand I just gave money to and will probably have no effect on the system whatsoever, but hey, at least my laptop looks pretty!

Back to Glossier. The products are great, worth the hype and I 100/10 recommend buying into them. I have purchased their skincare products before, but this was my first time trying their make-up. If you are a person with an I-am-really-tired-of-seing-my-gross-face-and-want-to-look-like-I-don’t-really-wear-makeup-but-I-do-still-want-to-look-pretty-even-though-I-am-in-quarantine-and-the-only-people-I-see-are-my-parents kinda vibe, it’s perfect for you.

Tuesday

I am not really sure who I am becoming. That sounds dramatic but I’ve changed a lot since quarantine started. I don’t really want to drink anymore, I enjoy exercise, I want to look after my skin… But most weirdly I spent the majority of this evening looking up crochet patterns. I feel like once quarantine ends I’m going to need to get drunk to revert back to being a normal 23-year-old and stop this weird sober grandma version of me evolving.

An illustration of 6 balls of wool on a pink background.

Wednesday

Today has been weird, and by that I mean today’s 20 minute dog walk has been weird. My route each evening takes me round the residential areas of my Stepford Wives town and down a trail through a small green in between various cul-de-sacs. Normally you encounter a few dog walkers and kids on bikes but nothing ever strange. Today was clearly not a normal day.

As I reached a T-junction en route, I noticed a woman turning towards me. There was a curtain of long, black hair obscuring her features, and her head was facing down. I continued walking, assuming she had just turned to check the road. Soon, something in my gut began to feel off so I looked around to see what had caused the hairs on the back of my neck to stand up in unrest. The unknown woman had silently manoeuvred around and was now making her way up the path, close behind me. As soon as I noticed her, she swerved to head in the opposite direction, body moving quickly. Am I being followed?

My adrenaline kicked in, telling me that I needed to get the fuck out of there. I head as fast as I can towards a gate at the side of the walkway that leads into one of the cul-de-sacs nearby. That was weird. I get through and feel a bit safer surrounded by houses. Even though we are all in isolation, I’m sure if I screamed at someone’s door to let me in because a crazy lady was following me, they would… hopefully. I start walking along the cul-de-sac towards the main road and turn around, still a little on edge. The woman is still walking, now 10 metres behind me.

She now has her phone in hand but keeps glancing up at me through her hair. I begin to quicken my pace. She’s walking in the dead centre of the road now, stride matching mine, not quite running but not walking either. I am definitely being followed. I keep looking around, making it obvious that I have seen her, hoping she’s just drunk or too high to realise that her movements appear threatening. She continues to walk directly towards me.

The Britishness within me wanted to carry on walking in order not to be out of place in public, but my gut was telling me to leg it. I rounded a corner, just out of sight from her and our ever-shortening distance, and started sprinting, dragging my dog away from every potential weeing opportunity. I didn’t look back until I had reached the next corner. She was still following my route but I had made enough distance that she wouldn’t be able to catch me up, and I ran the rest of the way home.

Today I learned I never want to walk the dog again and that when push comes to shove I can run pretty far without a break.

Thursday

I have verbalised my refusal to walk the dog to my parents, and so far the boycott is going well. The extra 20 minutes I regained in my evening routine has given me space to think about what happened last night.

Personal space is something we all have a right to and even more so during a time of social distancing. As we are spending more of our hours indoors, anxiety and nervousness of the outside is increasing. It is important to make sure the way we carry ourselves in public takes into consideration other people’s worries and concerns. Maybe I was being paranoid or maybe I wasn’t, but what I do know is I made it clear that I was uncomfortable with what was happening. I constantly looked back, increased my pace and even directly stared at her and yet she didn’t change anything.

If I was in her situation and noticed someone else to be visually nervous by my presence, I would make an effort to let them know I wasn’t a threat. I would change direction, cross the street or slow down in an attempt to give them some peace of mind and increased personal space. Being self aware of your individual effect on others isn’t being self-conscious, it’s just being kind and that should be expected. Rant over!

Friday

Continued boycott is still going strong, although potential sympathies are starting to strain as parents also don’t want to walk the dog.

Saturday

My boycott of the dog walks has ended because my mother gave me the look. I’m still avoiding the weird woman route so now my walk consists of going up and down the same two residential streets near my house until my dog does a poo. On the bright side I caught up with one of my school friends over a 4 hour video call. We ended up reminiscing about school life and stupid shit that happened like the concept of “open days” and how bus times were a constant argument with certain teachers. I also have convinced her to potentially write a diary herself as Nikitah and I think it will be interesting to have a variety of different experience in these shared diaries. So look forward to that!

Sunday

Early morning dog walk to a waterfall with Dad. Safe to say it definitely did not follow quarantine guidelines as it was roughly 4 miles of walking through about 5 different towns, but luckily we went so early that we didn’t really bump into anyone. I learned that my basic geographical knowledge of the local area is severely lacking to a worrying degree because I literally had no idea where I was. So not great if the creepy woman ever shows up again…

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