There comes a day in every series; in this case never-ending lockdown, when a suffocating smog of exhaustion halts all activity. Day thirteen was that day. I can’t confirm just how often these 24 hours of mental and physical incapacity take place, but have taken it as an omen that this time it fell on the unluckiest digit combination.
Parents mirroring our position I am certain slide into these same troughs. Atlas’ burden weighs you down, you cannot think straight, work lurks in the recesses of your brain like a Norwegian troll, and the children, sensing all of the above, opt for maximum fuckwittery.
Cerberus and Medusa knew something was up at breakfast time when Mrs M and I were incapable of speech. I should note; most days I avoid conversing over the eggs, but do chip in when bowls of cereal are tipped over heads.
Back in the pre-children Light Ages, although it’s near impossible to remember, I was something of a morning person. I’d skip out of bed, take my repast with a vim now alien, and occasionally go for a morning jog. The notion of such an undertaking today is horrific. For a while when Cerberus was fresh and new I maintained this habit, but it died along with my libido.
The sleepless nights caught up with me and I committed to triple my intake of wine. Put simply, I couldn’t be bothered keeping fit. I’ve referred in a previous diary entry to the attractiveness of a relaxing break in hospital; perhaps I instinctively new then that the better condition my body was in the more child-orientated responsibilities would get chucked at it. I now test my physique to alternative limits, involving chemical concoctions and periodic doses of sugar.
Back to the morning of home school day thirteen, and the two knew something was up. I could tell because they asked me questions. They never ask me questions. I’d long ago assumed they neither see or hear me. As slavering hyenas do, when you are down consider it guaranteed any offspring will sink their teeth in your buttocks.
The previous day’s policy reversal ensuring Mrs M took on the guts of schoolteaching took centre stage. I tried Cerberus with some phonics but received a ‘fuck off Daddy’ in four minutes 39 seconds. Mrs M boldly inherited and lasted a record 23 minutes in the classroom. Secretly I suspect they watched Mr. Bean videos on loop but was too afraid to ask.
My brain might have been on autopilot for work, but somewhere beneath creativity lurked. I completed two Times crosswords.
As the day progressed I realised that silence is a wonderful state, especially when tied to indifference. At some point in the afternoon, as I was tootling through work calls, Cerberus and Medusa piled all the furniture from the youngest’s bedroom into the middle of it. They stated clearly it was a den to hide from the monster. They meant me.
To my eyes the wooden mountain resembled the preparation required on Guy Fawkes’ Night. My inner peace radiated and I neither queried developments nor searched for the tin of kerosene which was missing from the shed.
In many ways, if they lit the house up with me as the crowning effigy it would at least provide entertainment for the village, and undoubtedly a column or two in the local rag.
It set my mind off running to what would be the most impactful thing we could do to drive all lockdown news from the front pages, and it dawned on me finally that not only do my children listen to my incessant gurning, but they’ve had enough of it all too.
We shall wait until dark to light the inferno for maximum impact.