Published: Tuesday February 9, 2021

Sam, our Digital Communications Officer, writes about work life during lockdown

Every day I wake up at 6am, to the sound of the radio alarm clock playing “I got you babe”; I walk out of my hotel in small-town America, dodge an insurance salesman and step in a big puddle on my way to see if the Groundhog thinks there’ll be six more weeks of Winter. That was a reference to hit 1993 film, Groundhog Day, starring Bill Murray and Andie Macdowell.

Early last year, we kicked off the pandemic hosting a live webinar for 6,000 people from a bench in a neighbour’s garden so I could use their wifi, because my internet died. Since the beginning it’s been a bit, err … challenging.

As you may have found yourself, coronavirus can absolutely do one.

I now work from a semi-converted garage, and a small person who looks like me comes in now and then to ask questions about mathematics, and we survive off Navajo bread and rainbow crayons.

Our only reachable beach is Avonmouth Docks.

At least our lockdown activities have been pretty normal; I built a full-spectrum camera, helped a few mates do Important Things, restored a rare 90’s bike, did a distanced photoshoot with the uk battle rap champ, built Rube Goldberg machines with the kids and taught them to weld, and I’m learning to play Glass’ Etude No. 6 on the piano whenever the fam goes out of the house.

Sure this all sounds like virtue signalling, but I’m terrible at welding so I’m really just teaching the kids to melt things, and I can’t actually play that piano piece because it’s ridiculously hard. I figure pianists have hands though, and I have hands too, so what’s the deal with that I’m just going to keep trying. Plus it fits the whole Groundhog Day motif.

We go on a walk every day because we have a small dog who catches fire if we don’t. I broke a rib running round the house with the kids. We watch and read increasingly retro media in a subconscious attempt to retreat into our own childhoods. We had a kilo of worms escape a worm farm overnight and make a break for it all over the kitchen. I have organised my socks by weight.

Despite the continuing randomness of life, Lockdown for us has really been a rolling series of fiascos, both wonderful and pretty bad, and we’ve sort of started rolling with it. There’s been more deaths than I’d ideally look for, and my wife and I seem to have these rare moments of energy and clarity, which get spent on our friends’ incredibly Hollyoaks-ish fiascos, before we all swap and the support goes in the other direction. And so the waves continue.

Pretty all-encompassing, rather beautiful, and strangely enough, I’m not in a huge rush to change it. We’re all learning to be us, comfort and predictability stripped further back, and learning to wait for the sound of the radio at 6am, living in hope for that day when the music will change.

We don’t really wake up at 6am, that’s part of my overly-laboured meta-reference through Groundhog Day, to the role of hope and patterns in life (< hence Glass’ Etude 6), because maybe Groundhog Day’s about someone learning to love, learning to become real, and so maybe it’s ok that we’re stuck in the repetition phase right now. And maybe the beautiful tiny little unsolvable discordant things hold some sort of secret.

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