Craccum’s greatest QuaranTeam, Brian and Maddy, explore the anxieties of lockdown through a patchy Zoom call and the help of Google Docs.
Maddy: Hi, Brian!
Brian: – mouth moves, but there is total silence –
Maddy: Can you hear me?
Brian: – continued silence – *raises hand and figures out mic is on mute*
Maddy: Oh, your mic isn’t o-
Maddy: Hey, how are ya coping?
Brian: Well, I’m staying with my parents, so I’m glad I have my family for support. It’s definitely been a tough time being under physical lockdown and every sight of the news only serves to stress me out more.
Maddy: Yeah, I’m at home too, and feeling a little better than I have been. Instead of panic-buying, I’ve been panic-reading, and the headlines alone were freaking me out. For a couple of days, I’ve stopped clicking on articles altogether, and I just check The Spinoff in the morning and watch Uncle Ashley at 1. That, and copious amounts of stress-baking, seems to have calmed my nerves. Fingers crossed that kneading bread keeps working.
Brian: Instead of spending my Saturday night out in town, I had to spend it at my computer playing Minecraft with friends instead. There came a point when, after just mining aimlessly for diamonds for an hour, I realised I was too old for this shit. That only served to make me more depressed than I had started. Maybe I should pick up some of that stress-baking that you’ve adopted?
Maddy: Honestly, channelling my anxiety into a physical activity has been so crucial to staying calm. Eating the afghans and banana bread was good too. Any time my anxiety starts up, I tend to catastrophise and think in worst-case scenarios. I think it’s been good for me to be stuck in the house with a calmer schedule, because it makes me think about the logistics of the lockdown. I keep highlighting to myself that all these measures are preventative, and we are in the process of minimising risk, not suffering the harsh consequences of the viral apocalypse.
Brian: The viral apocalypse sounds like something Youtube created, and frankly, I’m not sure which alternative is more frightening. But I’m glad you’re finding comfort in the presence of a calmer schedule as it’s something we should all bring ourselves to do during difficult times like this. I’m finding comfort in knowing that if I weren’t hiding this thing out at home, I would probably be in one of the Kate Edger bathroom stalls – it’s the little things that help.
Maddy: That would be a little more uncomfortable. I think permitting yourself to be upset about the little things is good too. I’ll be missing out on graduation, which is a little bit heartbreaking, but it’s important to put those things in perspective. I’m very thankful for those on the frontline helping to get us through this. Have any of your big plans been pushed back?
Brian: I lost the opportunity to go on exchange next semester, which is quite gutting for me as I don’t get another opportunity further down the line in my degree, and I lost some monetary scholarships too. But I feel lucky in a weird sense. Lucky that I’m not one of the many New Zealand workers being made redundant throughout this crisis, or one of the new graduates losing their entry into the workforce. My career trajectory or livelihood won’t be severely affected – for me, it is just another opportunity lost. However, what’s most important now is reaching out to friends and family, because we’re all directly affected and need each other for support.
Maddy: It’s funny because I feel like there is this sense of respect in my local community, with people waving and smiling more around the neighbourhood. On the flip side, only being able to catch up with friends over the phone is difficult, because it reminds me that we can’t see each other for a little while. I guess the lockdown means that a little bit of your support system is missing, so it makes sense to feel a bit more vulnerable. But, you don’t have to thrive, you just have to survive.
Brian: Great line, you should get that printed on a t-shirt. People are gonna look back on the year 2020 and remember all the suffering we went through – in-person conversations sluggishly typed out through a Google word doc where the other person can only watch and imagine how the sentence is going to end. What times we live in, aye.
Maddy: I’m going to need endless hand-holding and hugs after this. Sorry friends and fam. Something to look forward to! Anyway, if I download Minecraft, are you keen to chase some Creepers?
Brian: Yes, I would kill for some company. It would save my friends from watching me dig deep into my 2012 Facebook library to post like for anon statuses and This is Bob copypasta. Bob could hold your hand.