Routine vs. Disruption

Thoughts, scenes, reflections, and stories from pandemic living.
There’s absolutely no need to let you know about the state of the world. Most of us have been living in and out of quarantines for over a year now. I happen to live in a country that never thought to acknowledge the intensity of the situation. Egypt barely shut down March 2020, offering a curfew that was loosely enforced. After that, everything was back up and running business as usual. Every now and then when numbers flare up, they close stores early, usually keeping deliveries operational for the sake of millions that cannot live without services, and the other millions that need the work to scrape by.
On a major level, the disruption fed into building an odd routine. When I was quarantined in the UK for almost 2 months, I swore that every second showed me losing my mind a little. I didn’t really care about being productive. I was all but done with university, living with a boyfriend and another couple. We sorted out some daily things together, like exercising, going for walks, or cooking. I mostly spent my time watching movies. It was controlled chaos. A private life that, if I couldn’t be happy with, I was at least grateful. Others hadn’t been so lucky back then.
However, it’s not like I didn’t have anything to mourn. My graduation shows were cancelled. I still, to this day, wonder what the second act of Lucky Stiff would’ve been like. It was so rare for me to actually enjoy a show’s development at GSA, I was so in love with what I’d help create. My head sings “I’ve gotta go to Monte Carlo” on a loop sometimes. A forsaken pearl only I (and the cast) will remember fondly for what it could’ve been.
Back to the main subject, my university routine was disrupted by a pandemic, then my pandemic routine was disrupted by an ill-timed repatriation flight. I managed to get a seat 3 days before the flight took off, and a great packing storm erupted. 3 years of a life abroad all packed into 2 and a half suitcases. So much had to be thrown away. Adrian and I had been tense for a while back then, the product of being in quarantine together in a house that did its best to stress me out. Any issues took a backseat to us spending the last of our time together. He cried, I did too. I’ll never forget us at the lake on the last day, having a jay in each other’s arms, laughing about some bullshit. An almost picture perfect bookend.
After that, life sort of went berserk. I was meant to spend 2 weeks in a hotel in Marsa Allam (coastal town in Egypt) under quarantine. This was during Ramadan as well, so food was limited to 2 atrocious meals a day. Looking back, I did my best to make myself comfortable. I enjoyed staying alone, I also had my projector to watch stuff on, I played the ukelele, and I drew a little. But eventually, Egypt did its thing and fucked me over again. The power cut out in my room for a full day. Then, the next day—maybe 6 days into the whole quarantine—the Ministry of Health decided a week’s quarantine was enough, and told us to get ready to board flights back to Cairo. I left my room at 11pm, we didn’t move to the airport until 5am.
By the time I was back home, and finally slept a night in my bed, it was Eid. My mother decided that was the perfect time to unload all the shit she was holding against my father. I’m a bit tentative to share family issues on here, since I don’t know who in God’s name would be reading this. But it’s not that hard to imagine parents fighting over any kind of drama really. The worst thing you can do though, apparently, is try and stay out of it. That’s all I wanted to do, have absolutely no part in their bullshit. Ever since I’d booked that repatriation flight, I felt like I was living through upheaval after upheaval.
The rest of the month (May 2020) was stressful, but it gave way to a better time in June. I started seeing friends slowly slowly, and applying to any and all jobs I could find. I wouldn’t actually find a job until January, but that’s besides the point. Family drama meant I tried to stay out of the house as often as possible. With the COVID curfew lifted, it wasn’t that hard. A new routine was developing, a familiar one.
Cut to: me getting the plague in July. Another round of quarantine, and more emotional hits than I thought I’d have the stomach to take. Last year was a fuckfest, in the simplest of terms. I don’t know whether I’ve developed an aversion or attraction to chaos at this point. With my current routine, it feels like I’m due for a disaster anyday now.

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