90 Days in lockdown – a retrospective
Day 1 – you configure your bathroom into a replica of your 9-to-5 patriarchal entitlement. You open the cardboard box, and use the ‘Urgent’ folder to prop up your wonky desk. Plug-in, log-on. Ask your non-gender-specific partner to make you coffee and think, well this isn’t too bad.
Day 8 – you studiously maintain your work routine. You put on a suit and order coffee from your imaginary barista as it turns out your non-gender-specific partner earns three times more than you do. You wonder how you will survive.
Day 15 – you try to maintain you work routine but this is difficult as you are easily distracted by the Channel 10 infomercials and want to buy a Stairmaster from Joe Hildebrand. You admit defeat and take off the suit you’ve velcroed-on since Day 10 and put on a tracksuit but no underwear. During Zoom meetings you wear underwear but no tracksuit. No one notices. You check your lockdown-expired 2020 AFL fixture to validate your masculinity.
Day 20 – You read about those free TAFE courses that allow you to discover your inner hydraulic drill operator or florist. You want to be certified to operate heavy lifting equipment and create engaging flower arrangements for one-person-or-less dinner parties unless it’s in Victoria where your flower arrangement counts as a person unless marching in a street protest.
Day 24 – Marketing looks interesting so you enrol instead for a drive-through Marketing PhD in hyperlinks. According to this brochure, hyperlinks are the Gutenberg Press of marketing though this could just be marketing hyperbole as everyone knows that hyperbole is actually the Gutenberg Press of marketing and everything else is just awesomeness.
Day 35 – you are puzzled by your LinkedIn profile. You have studied it closely for days but can make no sense of it. Is that all there is? You sign in, sign out to see if anything changes. You hold the screen up and turn it upside down but its on automatic rotate. You wonder if this could be a powerful Oprah Learning Moment but it isn’t.
Day 36 – you notice everybody on LinkedIn except you has been a manager since birth, like: ‘when I was 19 years old I was the CEO of the photocopier’. They insert ‘manage’ into every sentence, as in: ‘I managed the filing cabinet… I managed the coffee machine.’ You wonder if this is a generational thing like TikTok or being managed.
Day 38 – you clearly have too much free time and this LinkedIn manager thing is doing your head in. You count profile views like notches on a prison wall. You can’t help wondering why someone who used to review tins of spam for mail flyers in Coburg is now claiming to be a journalist while redundant senior political columnists are shelf stacking the same tins of spam at a supermarket in Penrith. You blame Rupert.
Day 40 – you wonder if you need to lie more.
Day 51 – you are on Facebook more than the kids are on Xbox. If that’s still a thing. You must nominate the Top 5 Albums that changed your life. Again? Didn’t you do this last week? Do you really want to create a list of the albums you used to play endlessly every time a girl rejected you at Chasers or was it Inflation? Does Air Supply count?
They keep telling you there is no judgment with the Top 5 Album list yet people keep nominating Jethro Tull and Genesis.
Day 52 – you listen to Genesis because someone who uses the word ‘manage’ 20 times on their LinkedIn profile and says hyperlinks a lot keeps banging on about them on their Top 5 Albums list.
Day 54 – While sleeping you remember the first time you heard Genesis. You were a spotty teenager at your friend’s parent’s house as you sat in his bedroom and tried to work out why you didn’t have girlfriends. He was explaining how he was saving up to buy another synthesizer to go with the other three in the garage.
Day 55 – You wake up covered in sweat. Your brain implodes from dreaming of Sussodio or is it Land of Confusion? Is that a harpsichord you hear? Is Land of Confusion just REO Speedwagon with a degree in medieval literature and acid?
You wonder if Phil Collins has bank manager listed on his LinkedIn profile.
Day 60 – you’re walking the dog for the fifth time today while wearing your John Howard green and gold tracksuit. Pandemic-induced weight displacement causes you to jog like Bill Shorten during the 2019 election. Your once overweight labrador now has the aerobic capacity of an Olympic athlete and is a vitamin supplement influencer with his own Instagram account.
Day 67 – you realise that lockdown line about ‘finally getting to know your neighbors’ is a crock. They are really all quite unpleasant.
Day 70 – Netflix is boring and you’re getting addicted to mid-morning cable news evangelism. You find Tucker Carlson’s hair mesmerising and Chris Cuomo’s biceps have a life of their own especially when he says hydroxychloroquine.
Day 74 – you try Free-to-Air but how old are you, 90? You can’t pick between Boy George’s giant hat, Kellie’s weird blue onesie or the rebooted Big Brother on 7 that just seems cruel. You miss the Sky funeral insurance ads as they have moved along with David Speer’s clipboard to ABC’s Insiders.
Day 76 – you realize cheese is the new ‘c’ word, your milk is segregated, and that your refrigerator is a heaving den of racism. You wonder why Kelvinator can’t install a low watts Gillian Triggs replica that comes on with the light whenever you open the door and lectures you about your dairy product-based bigotry.
Day 80 – your daughter is off to the Black Live Matters protest despite the pandemic. This would bother you but you have just received your new liquor store loyalty card and have become a functioning alcoholic. At least she’s stopped posting Clementine Ford articles on the refrigerator about how you need to be killed because of the shrine to patriarchal entitlement you’ve built in the bathroom.
Day 85 – you have this sudden irrational urge to go outside and pull down statues outside of office hours, but you watch television instead so you and your daughter can work out what else needs to be banned.
Day 90 – lockdown is over and you return to the office. You remember the Urgent file but removing it causes that proppy desk of yours to fall into the bathtub along with your patriarchal entitlement.
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Michael Scammell needs to use the word ‘manage’ more often on his LinkedIn profile
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