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Dear Diary: What it’s like spending a week inside Melbourne’s fourth lockdown

WORDS BY GENEVIEVE PHELAN

Mamma mia, here we go again.

Day one, Friday 

8am

Remember that yesterday I agreed to document the minutiae of my fourth lockdown in Melbourne. Regret it instantly. I had four meetings scheduled today but have dwindled this down as my hangover is one more loud tram rumble short of deathly. Must consume caffeine and shut out housemate’s Zoom banter from next room. This is the beginning of the end. Again. 

11am

Feeling rather catatonic despite extended lie-in. Attempting to shut out all light but balcony sun persisting and reminding me of good drying conditions/overwhelming laundry pile. Brain feels like a fast-cycle clunking washing machine. Actual washing machine is pedestal for fortnight’s accumulation of recycling. Must also move that.


Locked down with nowhere to go? Our Life section should take your mind off things (at least momentarily).


12pm

Left vital laptop charger in Collingwood office but also in lockdown and left office keys with colleague. Fark. Must retrieve charger from other colleague within 5km radius or go bankrupt for next seven days. (I also want to acknowledge how fortunate I am to continue working during this time. Am very aware that’s not the case for everyone.) Acquiring coffee en route makes me feel momentarily better and then progressively much, much worse. 

2pm

An hour until my *one* meeting. Maccas trip finally coming to fruition. Housemate has beaten me to the jump with KFC in tow. Alas, she still wants me to grab her a frozen coke on my pilgrimage to the promised land. I return with a large quarter pounder meal, a diet coke and nuggets. I asked for 10 but the Maccas merchant misheard me and delivered six pieces. Devastating but probably for the best.

4pm

Meeting went well but yikes I have some serious work to do in the next six days. All unanimously agreed cameras should stay OFF which was a wise choice considering my WFB (work from bed) mise-en-scène feat: aforementioned diet coke cup, unwashed hair, pink lemonade vape, and a general air of hangxiety in room. I lazily rework some Insta captions for a hospo client, desperately trying to resist the cheesy monotony of “Melbs, you know the drill!” or “coff to go!” or “life juice t-away!”. 

6pm

I am making carborific pasta when two buzzer calls sound to our home phone/door. Absurd considering we are in lockdown and definitely have no expectant visitors and all parcels were delivered within normal Aus Post window. I receive an unknown number call and pick up. It is ‘Toby’ from Vino Quarantino notifying me that my four litres of emergency cab sav (and him) are waiting downstairs in our lobby. I am pantless so my houso must go. 

7pm

Our neighbour and good friend Eliza is down the road studying her masters like an academic angel while we wallow in our food comas and self-pity. Eliza is learning about the global financial crisis (GFC) and decides to prepare a GFC for dumb bitches Zoom presentation for us to educate both us and herself simultaneously. Housemate and I tuck in for some educational Friday content complete with lustrous transitions. 

9pm

A Hinge match asks me to go on a classic iso walk tomorrow. I deliberate but most likely going to say no due to him previously matching with and pursuing my housemate also. Shame.

Day two, Saturday

8am

Wake up and sleep in because what else. 

9am 

Friday’s mental and physical inaction makes me want to be a better human today. I shower, complete skincare, make bed, put dishwasher on, deploy airpods, take recycling out and embark on hot girl walk/run. 

10am

I have attempted to run like retro lockdown. I’m out of habit but got into my stride around the third kilometre. Only made it five kms today without bailing for almond latte on Domain Road. Hot precious life juice gives me a lift. Plenty of attractive males with groodles also spotted on this particular mission. Serotonin increases tenfold. 

10.30am

Continuing to walk for an additional few kilometres in order to a) catch up on the Single Minded podcast and b) call my girlfriend who’s quit her Tamworth news reporting gig and returned home to Melbs. Our catchup is cancelled but she informs me the good news that she’s landed a new job in Hobart, commencing June. We plan hypothetical and hopeful Tassie junket plans. 

12pm

See hot and tall apartment resident from level five (Will) on my way in. He was on his way out. I say nothing from behind a mask while carrying a Morning Market croissant, jam, a Coles fruit salad and tub of hummus.

2.30pm

I have worked for three hours on a SATURDAY. A foreign concept but oddly comforting to put mind to productive use on a day reserved for leisure. Emailing employers/coworkers/clients so they cannot email me back and I have some abstract upper hand before Monday beckons. 

2.50pm

Housemate laminates my eyebrows with DIY kit in ensuite salon. We look semi-permanently surprised and I love it. 

6pm

Houso is preparing lamb roast (drools) for dinner in Le Creuset ripoff pot affectionately coined Le Kmart. She’s hauled copious fresh market fruit and veg for a two-person Saturday supper. In stark contrast to OG plans for tonight. I was meant to be at a large house party for a friend’s bday celebration. Despite cancellation devastation, talks of apple and rhubarb crumble for dessert remind me life is not all that bad, even in locky-d. 

6.30pm

We share a street with Messina and Piccolina. Two rivalling connoisseurs in the art of frozen and flavourful dessert. I am providing no support whatsoever to the prep or plating of my housemate’s wholesome banquet, so a smooth vanilla scoop is my contribution and consolation.

7.00pm

We’re one litre of cab sav down. A whole leg of lamb has been consumed on our candlelit balcony, festooned by garland lights and garden veggies roasted up to blissful melt-in-your-mouth standards. We’ve donned slippers and trench coats over our activewear (that probably won’t be washed for the next five days). I’ve just spontaneously purchased a ‘Bluetooth Party Karaoke Speaker Black with Mic’ in case lockdown lingers. 

9.30pm 

The Hinge match that proposed a walking coffee last night has made a new profile (classic) and re-matched with my housemate. When she sarcastically says “You look familiar”, he responds with “Curtis Stone?” Not even close. Minutes later, realisation ensues as he texts me, “I think I matched your mate. Bridget?” I say “Yes, we figured this out” and he says “Love triangle?” I say “Haaa bye” and another one bites the dust. 

Day three, Sunday

9am

RUNNING again. Why is it still so hard? 

9.30pm

Friend tells me she mixed illicit substances with her espresso martini last night and has a twitching eye. “I am more of a liability staying in than going out,” she says. Laughter ensues. 

10am

Someone who I once slept with is making coffee at the cafe I intend to stop by on Domain Road. This is majorly inconveniencing my morning and life. This particular cafe is superior to the rest on the strip. I retreat to another and settle for inferior caffeine in lieu of debilitating social embarrassment. Just another day in the paradise that is our very densely populated five km radius.

11am 

Business-ish call on a Sunday. Another side effect of lockdown but no complaints as a past manager has started her own business and it looks so slick. This feels like a good time to plug Cette Agency

12pm

Justine Cullen’s Semi-Gloss is so so so good. From international romantic escapades to postnatal fashion week chaos, it’s the juicy escapism and storytelling I’m craving. Reminds me I’d love to write something bigger than an article one day and makes me wish I chronicled last 2020’s love/lockdown/learnings in greater detail. After about 100 pages, I sub to Rick Morton’s My Year of Living Vulnerably for some heavier, yet equally enjoyable, reading. 

1pm 

Prahran market calls. We rug up to acquire footy-ready family-sized burgundy beef pie for two hungry girls. Beer obtained also. Plus a $5 washing powder box from Aldi because This Is 22. We return home to watch Richmond win a belting game against the Crows (a divisive match for my Adelaide-hailing houso and I). 

7pm

Feeling really anxious for no reason. Maybe out of boredom? I don’t cope well with immobilisation and get restless far too easily, even if we’ve had a lovely and chilled Sunday arvo. The wall connecting my bedroom to our balcony is one gigantic window out onto Richmond. I find some solace in looking out onto a big black blanket of sky sequinned by surrounding lights from terrace homes, churches, sky rises and cranes. Even if we’re confined to the microcosm of our apartment complex right now, it helps to look outside and know the world is still ticking. 

Genevieve Phelan is Fashion Journal’s Lifestyle & Careers Columnist. Her writing fuses introspection with investigation, calling on her own personal anecdotes and the advice of admired experts in the realms of intimacy, money, friendship, careers and love. You can find her here and here.

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