After nearly two years of jaw clenching, ducking, diving, masking, testing, boosting and sanitising, it has arrived. Yes, Covid has showed up in my system, late and confused about the rules, like Boris Johnson at a work event.
After all the elaborate avoidance tactics, this late in the day, I feel a bit like a woman who gets scammed out
of her life savings online by a guy called Mitch57396 with a bio that says “I love Jesus.” But if Omicron was a person, he’d definitely be a trickster. He’d have a fake Instagram account called @CommonCold4U and slide into your DMs saying: “Hello dear you are very beautiful.” Then he would disappear for a bit and suddenly turn up at your house in a stained vest and sit on the sofa for 10 long days, repelling everyone in sight. His name’s not really Omicron, either. That’s his stage name. It’s actually Geoff.
I have to say that although at the moment I look like ET when he was kidnapped by the FBI and put in a plastic bubble, I’m very lucky indeed. I’m generally healthy and as I’ve been triple vaccinated, at first the effects were hard to distinguish from the fatigue and slightly icky feeling you get just from being a person who is alive in 2022. Now I’m vacillating between flu and a red wine and Baileys hangover, (or to quote Withnail, “I feel like a pig shat in my head.”) But I can tell that Geoff, AKA @CommonCold4U is still a bad, bad man who must be stopped. Not only does he make you feel rubbish, he also transforms you into a biological hazard overnight, with the power to imprison random people in their homes, turn your family against you and close entire offices for a three-day deep clean.
So as I lie here, quarantined in the bedroom like the mother-in-law in ’Allo ’Allo!, there’s really nothing for it but to gawp at hours of reality TV. The brain fog gives life a strange disconnected quality, ideal for watching endless Bravo series featuring Real Housewives throwing Pinot Grigio at each other in restaurants. Although nobody will come within two metres of me, instead I am spending my time in the company of my dog and the cast of Below Deck, a highly stylised look at the crew and their guests on a five-star chartered yacht in the Caribbean.
My God, I love Below Deck. The randy deckhands, the psychotic stewardesses, the chefs that have tantrums about shrimp. I love that they’re all outsiders and losers, skilled at holding on to glassware on turbulent waters, but incapable of holding on to jobs, relationships and their dignity. And I love the undisguised contempt the crew has for the guests – a variety of horrible tech bros, entitled entrepreneurs and foghorn-voiced Karens who spend the whole time drunk off their gourds on jet skis.
But most of all I love Captain Lee, a varnished orange sea dog with a velcro beard and a diamond earring who not-so-secretly thinks they’re all a bunch of dicks. He is slowly healing me with his soothing presence, one episode at a time.