Cork student Neasa Murphy (25) ponders the long-term effects of Covid-19 from her bedroom-turned-classroom
It started with a strange trip to Tesco. Not a parking space to be had, nor a packet of pasta.
Uncharacteristically, I made eye contact with other customers as I moved from aisle to aisle, as if I could ask them telepathically if they were scared too, and to kindly not buy up all the toilet paper.
How anyone stayed in that place long enough to fill a whole trolley with panic purchases I’ll never know, every bone in my body was telling me to get out. That was the day the schools closed.
Two weeks later, our days are all melting together like they used to during the primary school summer holidays. Routines? No more. Make up? No need. College is home and home is college. “Quarantine” is a surreal experience.
We’re not, of course quarantined in the true sense of the word, we’re “social distancing”, but that just seems too gentle a term to describe this utterly strange experience.
In my bedroom, mid-online lecture, my thoughts float from apocalyptic post-coronavirus daydreams to grocery lists and college assignments.
Sometimes I imagine myself telling my grandchildren about living through Covid-19. “There was no 3D printing back then kids, you had to go all the way to the shop and expose yourself to the virus to get your dinner!”
Perhaps stranger than the trip to Tesco, is acknowledging the good that has come from this awful situation. Online, perfect selfies and ego-driven posts have been replaced by honest stories of illness, loneliness and even grief.
Celebrities have sent money to fans, and baking supplies are flying off the shelves as parents and children spend more time together. Before Covid-19 my family hadn’t played Scrabble together in at least ten years- we’ve played it twice in the last week.
What will we learn from Covid-19? Will we have more respect for frontline staff in supermarkets and the service industry? Will we finally give up on the “workaholic” hero complex and stop judging each other for staying home when we’re run down? When I tell my grandchildren about Covid-19, will I begin my tale with a comforting game of scrabble, or a stressful trip to Tesco?
We are living history. The challenges posed by Covid 19 are similar the world over but everybody’s experience of this emergency will be different. In this special series, ‘Lockdown Letters' gives our readers at home and across the globe an opportunity to share their stories about how the Coronavirus and the measures to tackle its spread are impacting their lives in these unprecedented times.
Please email your submission (400 words max.) to firstname.lastname@example.org along with a photograph. We will publish as many letters as possible on Independent.ie and a selection in print every week.
Living on a visa in a foreign country comes with its restrictions. Six months working for one company then having to move on, back-breaking fruit picking for $5 per bucket for 88 days to qualify for your second year visa, and no access to Medicare here in Australia.