The Quarantine Guide to… Seeing? Real? People?


As lockdown restrictions are lifted, the entire bloody country is gleefully rushing out to re-join society. But for those of us who never wanted to be part of society in the first place, re-assimilation remains a daunting task.

So, in advance of (gasp!) that first trip back to the pub or your first time sitting in a real class again, here are a few tips to help you go through the motions of passing yourself off as a normal person.

Everyone can see you

Tragically, in real life, you can’t turn off your camera, you can’t mute yourself, and everyone can see you. And yes, this is exactly what makes real life so dreadful in the first place. But for those dreaded occasions where you must re-join the public, it’s crucial to remember that other people can see you. So, you can’t pick your nose during a lecture anymore (or you can if you just don’t care what people think of you). And if you’re watching Netflix while pretending to listen to your lecturer, they’ll totally notice now. I know– welcome to the real world. It’s the worst. 

Clothing is not optional 

Gone are the blissful days of attending business meetings in your birthday suit. Same goes for the days that were spent wearing nothing but your pants. We might have been able to get away with wearing a hooded blanket to answer the door for deliveries, but if you pop into Sainsbury’s like that now, you might get a few funny looks. It’s tragic, but re-emerging into public life means that you’re expected to wear the traditional ‘human being uniform’ of at least trousers and a shirt. …yes, the ones that don’t fit anymore.  And yes, it’s enough to make you google ‘how to go off the grid’.

Small talk is a thing again

You know how we spent a year just ignoring messages we didn’t want to respond to? (Glorious, wasn’t it?) Don’t want to talk to someone? Easy! Just wait 3 weeks to open the message and say, ‘Oh, I’ve only just seen this!’ Or– even better– block them altogether! While life was cancelled, we didn’t have to worry about seeing anyone any time soon. Sadly, however, that bliss has come to an end. These days, I am told we are expected to… *checks notes* interact with annoying people on a daily, face-to-face basis. Without the ability to mute, block, or hang up on them. 

Even more infuriatingly, you’ll likely be expected to chat about meaningless nonsense with them. If you’ve forgotten how to do that, here are a few standard phrases to get you back in the detestable habit. 

  • ‘How about that weather?’ (Nobody cares. But you’re supposed to say it anyway). 
  • ‘How are you today?’ (You care even less about this than the weather. But for some reason, we have to say this one too).
  • ‘Doing anything fun for the weekend?’ (Apparently, it’s no longer acceptable to admit that you will spend your weekend attempting to become one with your sofa. As if we didn’t all do that for a year). 

In conclusion, real life is the worst, and we’ll do our best to escape it for as long as we can. But on the unfortunate occasions when we need to pass ourselves off as sociable people, these tips can help us maintain the illusion long enough for a quick run to Tesco’s or a morning at work.

More articles in The Quarantine Guide To
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