All We Can Do Is Watch

May 1 2020 Anna Mulcahy 5th Year

On the 12th of March, Leo Varadkar announced that Ireland would be entering quarantine the next day. It was a Thursday and I found out right before Religion class, while I was standing outside the door waiting. I remember standing with my friends, saying ‘Oh, it’ll all be over after Easter anyway.’ I was very wrong. We are now on Day 49 of quarantine and, unlike some people, I am not going insane.

I have been enjoying quarantine quite a bit. I have always enjoyed my time alone, and this suits me just fine. I spend more time with my family than I did before. My brothers do not get on my nerves as much as I thought they would and neither do my parents. My cat, however, is less than pleased with us being home all day. She considers herself the Queen of the house and enjoys her time alone during the day. So now that we are all home, she seems to have lost that. She gets fed more than she ever has before because none of us can keep track of when she last ate. She would have gained weight but she is outside all the time burning those excess calories off. She lays out in the sun and rolls around in the dirt. It’s lovely. When chasing a mouse, she backed it into a corner and watched it for hours. I will never understand how she finds this entertaining. I thought she would act slightly different during the day to the way she acts in the evenings, which is when I usually see her, but she’s the same. Boring.

Another thing I like about quarantine is I get to talk to people I like. I don’t have to listen to someone at lunch who I dislike. I don’t have to talk about things that bore me. I talk to the people that I like and enjoy speaking to. I FaceTime the same two people every night, and have done so for the past two weeks. Luckily, I haven’t gotten sick of them yet! I’ve also spent the past few weeks rewatching Game of Thrones. I never thought I would, after the disaster that was season 8, which traumatized me, but when I watched the first episode again, I remembered how much I loved the show in the first place. It has been a struggle to watch it so slowly, especially because I know what happens. Tears that were shed on my first viewing have flown again, but tenfold. It has been interesting to rewatch it and gain a different perspective on characters I never thought much of before.

I also try to spend less time on social media. Not long into quarantine, I decided to restart my Instagram and only accept the follower requests of people I liked. I have quite a few requests at the moment but I only plan on accepting one or two of them. Because I made this decision, I have spent way less time on Instagram. Maybe it’s because my Explore Page is awful now? Maybe because the app has become boring? I don’t know about why I am not on it as much, but I do know that I don’t mind Instagram becoming less important to me. The app I am glued to, though, is TikTok. I can scroll meaninglessly for hours and not notice the time flitting by.

One thing I don’t like about quarantine is not being able to see my friends. I may enjoy spending time alone (when I say ‘I enjoy spending time alone’ that means I adore it. I love sitting by myself just listening to music or reading a book. It’s calming and comfortable. I will never overlook the gift of my own company) but there comes a time where you just want to be able to touch the person you’re talking to. Video chat is not the same as human interaction and I am looking forward to seeing my friends once this is over.

When we entered an official lockdown, I became upset. Not because it meant not seeing my friends for even longer, though I do miss that. It was because this meant the All-Ireland Championship was not going to happen. The Championship is my favourite time of the year. Stadiums full of county colours, chants echoing around, painted faces. The feeling of joy when a kick makes it over the bar, pre-match traffic and the struggle to find somewhere to park without getting clamped, post-match traffic listening to the analysis in the car, talking with my dad on who shone and who struggled. I am going to miss that this year. I thought I would see an All-Ireland every year of my life and I am sad that I don’t get to. It may seem so small compared to seeing my grandparents or friends, but I love it.

When I heard about the virus back in January, I thought nothing of it. I didn’t think it would ever make it to Ireland. Even when it was in Italy, I still told myself that it would never make it here. That was ignorant of me to think. If other European countries can get it, why couldn’t we? I sometimes think how strange it is. We can’t go more than 2km from our homes for exercise, we can’t see our families or friends. The whole world is at a standstill, but all we can do is watch.