COMMENT:

Day two of the lockdown. How we all doing? Have you called your folks? You should.

In the build-up to our Alert Level 4 lockdown I'd like to claim I'd been smart enough to read between the flashing red lines of what the PM had been saying in her various press conferences and speeches, but that would be wholly untrue.

Instead it was good ol' paranoia and fear that led to all my pre-lockdown preparations. I'd shopped as normally as possible under the looming circumstances but will admit to deviating a little from the weekly grocery list, as I suspect many of you did also.

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For instance, I wouldn't usually entertain canned fruit but now there's a couple of cans of pears and fruit salad sitting in the pantry. In a nod to my youth a 5-pack of spicy noodles and two dozen beers also found their way into the trolley.

Hey, I only said I'd prepared not that I had prepared well.

Pak'nSave Albany has put a
Pak'nSave Albany has put a "one in, one out" policy in place and the queue is more than 200 people deep, according to one shopper. Amelia Wade photo 29 February 2020 Coronavirus pani

Truth is, I had no idea what to get or what we needed to survive for four weeks in the relative comfort of our powered, running water supplied, internet-enabled house. Bacon flavoured chips? Better get two packs, just to be safe.

So, you keeping busy? Keeping good? Keeping showered? Yeah, me too.

Before this all kicked off I'd been working in a bustling newsroom where local and international coronavirus updates had been flooding in relentlessly for a month or so. And because I took public transport to that newsroom my anxiety over being stricken down with this thing had been percolating away like a strong pot of coffee all that time.

It was hopping on to a crowded bus with all its assorted coughing, sniffles and throat clears on a muggy Auckland afternoon last Monday that finally broke me. The next day I pulled myself out of the office and the kids out of school and daycare.

Which means I've been in lockdown with my partner and our 5-year-old and 2-year-old for 11 days now. It's not been plain sailing. There's been plenty of thrown toys, tantrums and tears. The kids have also been playing up a lot.

Still, I'm grateful we were fortunate enough to be able to withdraw from society when we did. A lot of people were not. Many are still not. Full respect to those keeping shelves stocked, food orders dispatched and those producing and transporting those essential goods. I sincerely hope raises or bonuses are waiting for you all on the other side.

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From my contained cocoon, it's been fascinating watching the non-essential outsiders come to terms with the hugely necessary, history-making, safety measures that were implemented this week.


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So many people continued to go about their day with nary a care in the world or a thought in their head. As if this health crises was happening elsewhere or was just more noise to ignore or swipe past.

Cafes were full, revellers lined up outside bars and people shuffled up behind each other in long queues to get into the supermarket ignoring all social distancing guidelines and urgent recommendations to stay as far away as possible from the other humans.

In some ways I'm envious of their cavalier approach. It'd be nice to feel invincible instead of knowing I'm very vincible indeed. Until, of course, I got terribly sick.

So with a cool 11 days of isolation behind me I feel I can be considered something of an Alert Level 4 lockdown expert amongst all you newbies finally coming inside and locking the front door behind you.

As your faithful columnist what advice can I share? What wisdoms can I impart? What have I learned that I can pass on to help you and yours get through? What are my top tips for surviving this thing? Or even for just passing the time?

Dear reader, sorry, but this time you're on your own. There's plenty of articles out there that claim to have the answers for what you seek; a list of the shows you need right now or whatever. But not me. Not this week at least. Right now I'm as lost as the rest of you.


After juggling working in the lounge all day and keeping the two kids from killing each other - and myself from killing them - I eventually slumped on to the couch and watched Marc Maron's new comedy special End Times Fun on Netflix the other night. That was pretty good. I'd recommend it if you need a laugh.

But honestly, in these unprecedented, confusing and worrying times only you know what you need right now. So just watch and enjoy that. Take some pleasure where you can.

And don't forget to call your folks!


Covid19.govt.nz: The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website