After 111 days in lockdown, here’s six things we’ll never take for granted again
30.10.2020

After 111 days in lockdown, here’s six things we’ll never take for granted again

Image: Visit Victoria
Words by Arielle Richards

Now that freedom is restored, there are a few things I’m extra thankful for.

It’s a once in a lifetime experience, this lockdown we’ve just had. For several tense months, the state’s terrible COVID case count had rendered some of the most mundane and seemingly innocuous activities into red-hot danger zones.

Up until just a few weeks ago, life had been distilled down to the barest of necessities, and while it was terrible, it was worth it for the health of us all, and to be honest I had almost gotten used to it.

But all things must come to an end. It was the immediacy for me. One minute, a morning coffee jaunt, quick lunchtime banh mi and an afternoon strut to the supermarket was as good as my day was gonna get.

Then suddenly, things we had all but forgotten we weren’t allowed to do were allowed.

Suddenly, it’s hanging with ten people outside the home, it’s forgetting what to do when you see someone you know, when you’re walking past them as they dine alfresco. It’s the completely unsolicited anxiety about my appearance whenever I step out of my iso cave – a real shock to the system after months of not giving a damn.

But lockdown has embellished routine activities with a gorgeous newness. It’s like there’s a whole new city opening up for us, and it’s just waiting to be explored.

So, here’s a few things I never knew I appreciated until lockdown took them away.

People

Weirdly, it’s actually been really nice to see people out and about. People just walking around, not exercising or anything, going places, seeing other people. People watching is back in fashion this summer. I swear I’ve never seen so many people and it’s never felt so good. Just wear a mask, distance appropriately, and don’t look at me. Please.

Getting on the beers

Self-explanatory.

The local

This one almost goes without saying, except you probably haven’t yet managed to secure a booking. But the knowledge that your local is still there and open is enough – the sight of it brimming with people, lights on, laughter spilling out into the night air. Nothing was right without it.

Bunnings

I think I speak for everyone when I say without a trip to Bunnings, life isn’t all that. We have missed Bunnings, and it’s great to be back. The sweet smell of sawdust, potting mix and freedom. I’m calling it, Bunnings take the cake for supplying the best retail experience in Melbourne. The staff are so friendly, so welcoming. To return is to come home again.

Retail

I never considered myself much of a shopaholic. I put it down to lifelong trauma from being dragged around Boxing Day sales with mum, and the bare existence of shopping centres, with bathrooms that seem to disappear the second you need one, air conditioning turned up to arctic freeze, and their intentionally chaotic maze-like design. Couple that with a brief stint as a retail assistant, folding clothes to the same playlist day in and out – you’ve got yourself a certified aversion.

But retail is shiny and new again. Gone are all the bad vibes, replaced with the sheer joy of having to go somewhere to buy something. Heck, I pretty much shed a tear at Rebel Sport, which was – inexplicably – the first shop I strolled into after the great lockdown.

Freedom

Melbourne’s lockdown has not been the worst in the world. Countries such as Spain, Argentina, Chile, The Philippines and a host of others, have implemented similarly draconian strategies to Victoria. But I think we all need to step back and realise that for a long time there, we couldn’t just go anywhere. We had to have a special reason to do so many basic things. We are still slightly limited, but something I have really been appreciating is the opportunity to just go somewhere.

It’s a rare moment when we are given an opportunity to look upon our lives with a fresh perspective. For many of us, the period of lockdown has drilled in just how lucky we were to call our “normal lives” normal.

Stepping out into this new, post-lockdown city, with most of our mobility, liberty and opportunity restored, it’s time to make the most of the little things.

Struggling to score a booking at the pub? Don’t fret. Check out our thirsty punter’s guide to scoring a pub booking stress free.

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