Lockdown - The Ultimate Survival Guide

We hope that vaccines will save us from lockdown - if not here's a survival guide

It is a year since the Western world experienced a new phenomenon called ‘lockdown’. For many of us the restrictions on our freedom have defined this pandemic and will likely linger as its legacy. lockdown might even become a new norm.


We decided to publish a light hearted mini-series on ‘Surviving Lockdown’ - to help us through the current agony and in case the vaccines take a little longer than expected. But also, to remind us just how crazy this world has become.

This century has been marked by a series of ‘new norms’ for us to adjust to. An endless number of ‘seismic shifts’. When we think we’ve finally mastered one, another one waits around the corner.

I guess it started with the 2008 great recession when the fear of God was struck into us that we might lose our bank (mmm…) and with it any of our meagre savings (what savings?). Then, of course, the actual recession hit and we lost our savings in any case, assuming we had any in the first place.

Following this we got deluged with a load of new Internet and mobile technology things and apps that confused the living daylights out of us and left us, well, less in control than ever – other than, of course, controlled by our phone. Which I guess is why they called it the ‘smartphone’. And BTW, it’s not like we’ve been renamed the ‘smartperson’.

More recently we’ve been assailed by poverty, debt, ISIS, then Brexit (let’s not go there), then Trump (let’s not go there either), then climate change (let’s let Greta go there) and now Coronavirus.

But how in the world do we adapt to this latest mother of all events? Well, that’s what these musings are about. Surviving lockdown and surviving Covid. Because that’s the new, new norm.

We thought we would start with a quickie guide to surviving the team meeting when in lockdown.

This last year has been a tough time. A time for loss, pain, struggles, reflection, meditation and according to Trump - a time for hydroxychloroquine. But it’s also been a time for us to get a little in-person team meeting cold turkey. You remember, that daily gathering when we sat around a table together and listened to the boss bang on about the latest goals, objectives, tasks, chores, bores and any other company meeting mumbo jumbo designed to make hydroxychloroquine sound like, well, viagra.

Let’s face it, we miss our team meetings of old. When we get to legitimately switch off or sketch or cartoon or text each other with memes of boss-man in scary positions. It made sharing weekend photos and naughty videos so much more appropriate knowing that they were pinged under the table in blessed obscurity while boss (wo)man thought they were getting the better of us mere mortals by expounding the latest corporate data garbage about just how crap we really are. It’s OK, we keep reminding ourselves, we already know how crap we are. Just sit in on one of our customer service calls!

So, for those of you missing your all too regular fixes of company/team meetings, finding that Zoom doesn’t quite hit the spot, we have a simple cure. The ‘daily family team meeting’. If you can't do it with your colleagues - do it at home.

Here are a few rules to the family team meeting:

1. It has to be face to face. I know your teenage lovelies will think this is a bit weird as they’ve never done anything face to face - but tough.

2. EVERYONE has to attend and participate equally – no matter how young or old they are. You may as well teach toddler now, even if all it achieves is to put the darling thing off meetings for life, stopping them being predictable as heck and joining Google one day.

3. Meet every morning at the same time – it’ll really kick the day off with a bang!

4. Think very hard before deciding who should lead the meeting. After all, this could be a rare opportunity for you to shun this corporate fiesta and nail your partner to the team leader abuse wall.

5. Ask one of your teens to take notes and get them to circulate said notes – trust me it's worth it to enjoy the daily excuses/whining/unrepenting abuse, reading their sheer mastery of passive aggressive note taking. You never know, it might also prove a handy technique for you one day.

6. Set key family objectives from the outset like ‘how you all chip in to help pay the rent – you too toddler!’ or ‘who wants to walk gran today’ or ‘whoever keeps giving toddler the toilet brush as a chew toy better stop’.

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The added benefit of the family meeting is that you have an instant group punishment forum which makes doling it out way more efficient.

“Whoever placed baby Jane upside down in the toilet gets to do a presentation tomorrow on household productivity stats plus recommendations, covering time spent on said toilet per family member, correlated against peak, per-minute Netflix utilisation. We expect detailed data, graphing and trend extrapolation.”

That’ll beat Guantanamo waterboarding.

To get you all revved up and in the mood for your first meeting, here’s a snapshot of our daily family team meeting from this morning.

“So Dad, (like an idiot I didn’t follow rule 4.) it's your problemo if I’m a bit noisy this morning, but I didn’t get a chance to make my mochachino yet since you failed to wake me up for this damned meetup thingy - so I’ll be mixin’ it while you bang on. And that task you gave me last time – sorry what was it again and why should I give a damn? Oh and someone scream out loud when it’s my turn to bang on about God only knows what as I’ll be headset on till then to drown out the mochachino mixing clatter. Back to you Dad, sorry er bossy/chairmany/lame father thing.”

Oh Christ, where’s that Zoom link?

(We’ll publish the second of our ‘Surviving Lockdown’ mini-series some time in the indeterminate future. That way you’ll get a little extra and because it's good to be generous during lockdown!)


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