The lockdown has been a mixed experience for me – some of it has been great and some of it I could’ve done without. However, given that it’s Monday, let’s have a pleasant start of the week and have an article about everything small that MissionMoney is happy without. Enjoy!
Work kitchen small talk
You know that feeling when you’re telling the same thing to the 12th person in one morning? “My weekend was fine. My holiday was great. The cats are doing well.” I’ll ask you the the same questions you ask me and we’ll move on with our lives not an ounce richer in spirit for this conversation. Nice not to have that.
I don’t need a random grunting at me because I refuse to be squeezed against the wall of the train by his/her lack of spacial awareness. Just like I don’t need to be pushed on/off a train by a crowd, to be outrun by some exasperated office worker to a space in a queue, or to have the back of my office chair constantly tapped by people walking behind me for no good reason (if you want to annoy somebody, this is a great way to do it). I’m also fine for being told to get out of the way by angry cyclists, catcalls by van drivers (why would anybody catcall a 33 year old? People shouldn’t be allowed to drive if they’re oblivious to the point of blindness imho) and having to constantly stand my ground. Really, I’m great without all this.
Pollution in Central London
Walking down the Lower Thames Street between London Bridge and Southwark Bridge is like walking through a haze embodied. The last time I went there during lockdown, after weeks of cleaner air in my leafy suburb, the inside of my nose turned black with the dirt from that air.
Lack of personal space
If you put half a million people on a Square Mile, it gets pretty crowded pretty quickly. Is this why the city has so many tall buildings now, because people have to be stacked on top of one another??? The issue of personal space is obviously not just London’s problem, but between open plan offices, constant humdrum of people in the streets and general overcrowding, intentionally or not people are all up in each others’ business and faces. And I’m fine without that.
Did you know that if you miss team drinks at work, it’s like you have missed a briefing? If you miss drinks with a group of friends, you might just as well consider yourself on probation for that group. And if you do go out but chose not to drink? You are still expected to buy the rounds. The truth is, the drinking culture is improving little by little, but London is still dominated by the beer-bellied old suits, and where they lack, it’s just hipsters and £14 cocktails and it’s just not cute. And don’t even get me started with popping out, going out and the out out. I seem to be living in a country of drunks.
Peer pressure to dress well
While in theory I can go out wearing whatever I fancy, this ‘whatever’ needs to look presentable, be flattering or at least somewhat edgy. And while this is a standard maintained mainly by women, if you look like you can’t dress yourself well, some people will look down on you in a professional environment. It’s an uncomfortable truth and the one thing that lockdown helped with is that I now get to see some of my more fashionable colleagues dressed in bathrobes for a call just because they can. And I do hope that this attitude remains!
Saying hello to people I don’t like
Seriously, I have no desire to speak to people I dislike and get this…because I don’t have any business spending time with them in person, now I don’t have to even greet them! Isn’t that a remarkable convenience?
Contributing money to gifts for people I don’t care for
I’m sure this is not just my pet peeve. The dreaded celebration ‘collection envelope’. Whether it’s for work or a group of acquaintances it’s always awkward if you know the person but don’t like them enough to want to add money to that envelope. I enjoy the fact that it’s way easier to ignore the request when it’s not standing in front of you.
Subsidising other people’s drinking habits at big gatherings
You know it – that birthday thing which you join because you are really good friends with the celebrating person. But he also invites that one guy who could drink the London pubs dry and while you’re enjoying your second G&T that dude is on his 5th and about to start ordering shots. And because it’s a birthday celebration, you know that everybody will split the bill by the number of people, not by what each of you had so your 2 G&Ts and a salad will cost you £90. Guess what. With the lockdown, that dude is not in my ‘bubble’.
The pressure to do stuff in my free time
Sometimes, I want to do NOTHING. And right now that’s what everybody else seems onto too, so there is absolutely no pressure to have a social calendar, attend cultural (and often boring) events or to spend a fortune on the next fashionable ‘experience’. What’s more, if I don’t want to talk about my ‘nothing’ weekend, the kitchen small talk is not really a thing right now, so I get to live my life without the judgement of others. And I like it that way!
What have been some of the things which the lack of you have been enjoying during the lockdown?