I was originally going to write this thread last night, when I noticed that I had started obsessing about something that suggested that I was descending into madness. But then today has taken a darker turn and so the thread’s content will do so, too. Fair warning.
I guess at the heart of my apparent need to write this post is a question that I’ve started asking myself with increasing urgency: Why is no-one else writing about this stuff? Am I the only one who is spiralling downwards into, well, a pretty dark place? How are the rest of you not doing so? Maybe you are and you don’t want to talk about it. I don’t know.
Anyhoo, it all started innocently enough yesterday evening when I saw a Loungefly bag on the internet somewhere. I decided I liked it and wanted to buy one, and I found exactly what I was looking for on eBay.
Nice, isn’t it.
On reading the details of the listing, I noticed that the seller had five bags of this style and they commented that the exact position of the pattern varied from bag to bag. I wrote to ask if I could see photos of the bags they had available. I really liked the one in the picture above. Sadly that one had sold, but the seller sent me photos of the remaining four.
They just weren’t as good. The placement just felt off to me. I didn’t love the bags.
So I started searching for other sellers. And there were a few, and they all had multiple bags. So I asked them all to send photos. I must have looked at two dozen variants of that bag. And in each one I managed to find a flaw in the placement that made it less good than that original bag.
I spent the whole evening on this. Maybe three hours. I eventually realised that this was all a little crazy. I don’t even need a mini backpack. I’ve endlessly tested WDW park bags and my latest one is hanging in my wardrobe awaiting my next trip. It’s a Vans mini backpack. It’s very lightweight. Unlike, I suspect, the Loungefly ones. Who wants to wear a heavy backpack in the Florida heat and humidity?
Well, I gave up and went to bed. I eventually got to sleep, where I was troubled by two nightmares, the first of which woke me up. I had a very strong sense that my mother had just died and the nightmare was there to tell me. I’ve had a few nightmares recently and I’ve just read that there is apparently a phenomenon that people are calling “quarandreaming”.
As I have observed around these parts before, the UK (well, England; the other nations have their own rules) is on lockdown and has been since the beginning of the year. That’s approaching three months. There will be some relaxation of the rules on April 12th, which will allow me to undertake a trip to two different theme parks that I’ve planned for my birthday on April 22nd. But hotels will not be opening until mid-May.
Last week a Facebook memory popped up.
Nice, isn’t it.
It’s the Studley Water Gardens. It was where I was on March 17, 2017. It was a lovely day and it’s a fun place to take the dog.
It’s also illegal for me to go there now.
I’ve been trapped in Harrogate since December 26th. My earliest escape from the crushing monotony will be April 22nd. That’s four months of being almost entirely isolated from other human beings, certainly of meaningful in-person interactions with other human beings. It’s literally me and my dog.
I realised a couple of weeks ago that I was starting to lose it and I decided I needed to cut down on my working hours. Being self-employed, this was an expensive realisation, but things were sufficiently bad that I knew I had to act. I became aware that I’m now at the age my father was when he had his first heart attack. I’ve felt some thudding from my heart a few times in the last month or so. I cut my hours, and my income, by 25%.
On Wednesday I had the first vaccine and almost immediately afterwards I felt physically fantastic. I’ve read of others feeling like this. It’s the draining away of accumulated stress.
It didn’t last long, however. Within a few hours I saw on the news that the UK vaccine supply is being disrupted and a significant component is going to be suspended for a month. Meanwhile the EU, which has handled COVID and the vaccine incredibly poorly, is threatening to ban exports of vaccines to the UK. The stress flooded right back in. (It subsequently emerged that my second dose would probably not be affected by any of this, but by then the damage had been done. The stress was back.)
Nonetheless my hope that my endlessly rescheduled trip to WDW, now in August, would actually take place increased. The UK is still doing really well on the vaccination front and so is the US, as I understand it. But just to be extra sure, I booked an emergency back-up trip to Disneyland Paris for the same dates, so I have two chances to get away.
But then today I read headlines saying, “Scientists have said going on a foreign holiday from the UK this summer is very much in doubt.”
And I just found myself back at hopelessness and despair and falling and falling and falling.
I’m going to get a little angry now. It’s going to sound like I’m angry with you. I’m not. I’m angry with the situation and my utter powerlessness to do anything about it.
It fills me with rage that it seems like for so many people everything is just normal. Well, new normal. WDW may be operating at 35% capacity or whatever, but that’s still a buttload of people going there day after day. And they’ve been doing so since last summer. Disneyland Paris reopened — I managed a sneaky three night trip in August — and then it closed again. And it’s stayed closed. And there is no reopening date. And even if there were, we are literally not allowed to leave the country. It’s literally against the law to go away on vacation. That might change in May. Maybe June. Maybe not at all this summer. Maybe the scientists are right.
I have a friend who goes to WDW every month. And, when DLR reopens, she’ll be going there every week, as she lives in LA. I should be happy for her. I’m not. I hate her for it.
I am in jail. I am in solitary confinement. And it is pushing me ever closer to the edge. And I don’t get why other people aren’t feeling the same.
What makes it worse is that, no, there is nothing you can do. No, I don’t need someone to talk to. I have friends. We talk online, or by phone, every day. I FaceTime students five days a week. That’s not the issue. The issue is that I’m physically alone in all this. No-one brings me a cup of tea. I have to do everything myself. All the time. With no respite. I can’t even escape to a hotel for a few days because they’re all shut. And we’re not allowed to travel outside our hometowns anyway.
I’m writing all this partly out of explosive frustration. Partly in the hope that there may be other people who feel the same. And partly because I just want the record to reflect that lockdowns may be necessary to control this pandemic, but they are driving people (well, me) insane. And while I love the fact you’re all posting trip reports, I really resent you for it. And, yeah, it’s not your fault. And why shouldn’t you get away if you can. I would.
But I can’t. And it’s doing my head in. Sorry.