Throughout the worst of the lockdown I sought many different ways to distract myself.
Firstly, there was drinking, then work, then painting, drinking, baking, drinking and more work, but soon the enthusiasm for this housebound life dried up and I began to forget how to entertain myself, how to distract and keep my thoughts on anything but the uncertainty of life under the fear of COVID-19.
There was television throughout — thanks to the plethora of platforms out there at the touch of a button. And my lockdown escapism of choice was via The Walking Dead, a post-apocalyptic drama series — complete with zombies — based in the US, with horror so vivid and traumatic that it was the perfect example of ‘it could be worse’.
We’re not out of the woods yet and it is important to keep our minds on life after lockdown, one that has so much possibility and opportunity for us all to make a positive difference in our lives.
The show has lasted 10 seasons and is still going strong, unlike the majority of its main protagonists, who each, it seems, have a distinct sell-by date — a worrying concept that makes one afraid to get too attached to any of them lest you be heart-broken when they are killed off in some gory and catastrophic way; and they are, usually by said zombies or their fellow survivors.
The show saw me through the first few weeks of lockdown and I watched it so often that I began to dream of the apocalypse, which soon merged with the coronavirus, and I began to visualise and actually discuss a plan of action with my other half if indeed the world did ever did come to a Walking-Dead end. Our plan involved finding transport and resources, and guns, lots of guns. We both agreed that I was unlikely to survive, being a devout pacifist and generally ‘too nice’, although I suspect this might have changed when confronted with a flesh-eating creature. Or maybe not. Anyway, I could have outrun a slow-paced zombie at the beginning of lockdown, but now I’d probably just have to sit there out-of-breath and wait for the impending zomification (I’ve just made that word up). Thinking about it, life as a zombie would probably be similar to the feeling of emptiness that lockdown has brought upon many of us. I do not want to be a zombie.
Over the past few months we’ve all had to examine our lives and find out what is most important to us, family being the most obvious. It’s been difficult for all of us, although some more than others have felt the worst of the situation, while others yet have spent time re-evaluating what matters most to them. We can only hope that we emerge stronger and with more clarity of our lives, our loves and what motivates us.
The lockdown is currently and very slowly easing in England, with the smallest hints of normality creeping back into our lives, and the ever-present vital messaging of staying safe and taking care of each other. Masks are the new life-asserting item that we all need to integrate into our daily routines. It’s a small price to pay for other people to feel safe.
We’re not out of the woods yet and it is important to keep our minds on life after lockdown, one that has so much possibility and opportunity for us all to make a positive difference in our lives. If we hang on for a little longer we’ll get to come out of this horrible period in our lives. And hopefully there’ll be no zombies, except for those of us who emerge, eyes straining in the light, gaunt, unhealthy, and dragging their left leg behind.
— Christina Curran is freelance journalist based in Northern Ireland.