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Laura Craik on the countdown to seeing friends’ faces again, bedroom education
and the height of hand sanitiser capitalism

On the downside, 21 June feels far away. On the upside, it’s less far away than infinity. On the WTF side, it’s two days after Boris Johnson’s birthday. Lucky Boris. By my calculations, the worst time to have been born is within that 10-day window of 18-28 March. Those poor bastards have had two birthdays wrecked by Covid.

However much I’m looking forward to pubs, clubs, festivals, cinema, theatre and the end of desultorily plopping three cherry tomatoes and a handful of cucumber sticks on to a plate, the thing I’m most looking forward to is being able to see my friends’ faces.

Unless you walk sideways like a crab, this basic pleasure will have eluded you in recent months, since you’ve been forced to conduct each meeting facing front while marching through the park in search of a toilet.

Psychologists will tell you one of the best ways to have an awkward conversation is by walking side by side: take eye contact out of the equation and it’s easier to speak of delicate things. This may be true, but I’m not meeting my friends to fire them/ground them/confess my secret double life as a dogger. I don’t want to avoid intimacy, I want to embrace it. I want to drown in it.

“Unless you walk sideways like a crab, the pleasure of seeing friends’ faces will have eluded you in recent months”

I recently had cause to leave the house for work, for the first time in months. From the minute I got into the Uber, I couldn’t shut up. ‘How’s your day? Have you been busy? What’s your favourite route from Heathrow to NW5?’ I spraffed while the poor driver (Anguelin; lives in Southgate; two kids) tried to listen to Heart FM. Once I arrived at my destination I was told my interviewee was running late.

Nae bother: this gave me time to chat to the stylist, the videographer and the Winnebago owner. However late my interviewee was, he was a darned sight later by the time I’d switched off my tape. The shame of telling him about the time I played second sheep in my school nativity! Starved of social interaction, maybe we’ll all have to relearn how to talk, listen and when to shut up. Bring it on.

Life is like... being able to share chocolates again

Lay teaching

When your kid conducts her home learning from bed because she claims ‘the commute to the desk is too long’, you know it’s time to get back into the classroom. I can’t imagine how disheartening it must be for teachers to see that their pupils can’t be bothered to get out of bed for class, much less get dressed, yet this is increasingly the case.

But since it’s not mandatory for pupils to enable their cameras during lessons, maybe bed is one of the more innocuous places they could be. I can’t describe my relief at my kids returning to school on Monday. There will be tears. And maybe some expressive dance. I might put shorts on and twirl round the living room like Britney.

Cleaning up

In the real world, NHS staff are still struggling to source decent PPE, but never mind: why not launch an overpriced luxury face mask? I’ve lost count of the number of ‘pure, ultrasoft, skin-kind, oh shut up please you’re boring me’ silk masks I’ve been asked to write about. Now a new opportunistic travesty has graced my inbox: the luxury hand sanitiser.

Infused with organic oils and in a fragrance ‘composed’ by a perfumier, the Twat* comes in a bespoke vegan pouch (of course) for £125. When life finally starts up again, what else would we want to spunk £125 on other than an overpriced reminder of how shit a year it was? I dunno. Shoes? Beer? Anything?
*Not its real name

the globes

Turns out they were
no less golden for
being served at home, thanks to the stellar dress-up efforts of
the nominees.

Dr Gwyneth Paltrow

Her ways of getting over long Covid — fasting, infrared saunas — are ‘really not the solutions we’d recommend’, quoth one NHS boss.