Can I admit to having Lockdown Envy?
The thought of being able to stay home, maybe read a book, go for a nice walk as long as I stay away from people – that sounds lovely.
My reality is very different.
I’m a kitchen designer – but because I work for a major DIY store (a ‘hardware store’) I’m now classed as a key worker. We supply items that are essential for people to be able to keep their homes safe and secure. I can’t remember the last kitchen I designed – I’m now pretty much working stock all the time.
First we had the panic buying – people, quite sensibly, realised that if they were going to be stuck at home for 12 weeks, they would need something to do. Unfortunately that translated into huge crowds of people coming to buy paint and bedding plants.
I totally get why they would do this – but one particular image will stick with me after this is all over. The call went out for till-trained staff, so I headed for the check-outs. As I opened the door to the main store I could see a crowd of people, and I knew I had to go into that crowd to get to the tills.
And I Just. Didn’t. Want. To.
That was Saturday. Since then, things have calmed down a lot – by Sunday we were only allowing one person at a time at the check outs, and we were making them queue two metres apart. Monday felt much calmer – people were beginning to understand what they needed to do, and we were only allowing them into the store a few at a time. On Tuesday we closed.
And now we’re operating Click and Collect on essential items only, and we’re taking the goods out to customers’ cars so no-one is coming into the stores at all.
I’m working stock. I have no problem with that – it needs to be done. But it’s so physically demanding!! As a kitchen designer I mostly sat at a computer all day long… Now I’m lugging large pots of paint up and down ladders.
We try to stay two metres apart. To begin with it was kind of fun – up and down the aisles like a giant game of PacMan, with people dodging out of the way to avoid each other. But it’s virtually impossible to keep it up for an entire 8 hour shift. We apologise to each other if we accidentally get too close – but saying sorry won’t stop the virus from spreading.
When I get home it’s no longer a case of just popping the kettle on and wandering upstairs to get changed out of my uniform. The boots come off at the door. I wash my hands with soap and hot water. The uniform comes off and goes straight in the wash, and I go straight in the bath (partly to get clean, partly to ease those aching muscles). Then I make a cup of tea. And another cup of tea.
I can feel that I’m stressed – I’m getting headaches (I hardly ever get headaches), my stomach ties itself in knots sometimes, and my left eyelid has developed a twitch. I can make it stop twitching by rubbing it – but I know I shouldn’t touch my face, and particularly not my eyes. And that just adds to the stress.
Today we’ll get our Police letters confirming that we’re key workers and allowing us to travel to get to work. It’s getting serious now.
I didn’t go looking for this. I’m just a kitchen designer, ffs.
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