Fleur is in the house.
and virtually. An app informs my nearest and dearest
that I’ve logged on to attend Wednesday’s elevenses (home-brewed
coffee in hand), Friday’s pub quiz (caffeine switched for a
prosecco) and Saturday’s “night out” with DJ EZ’s livestream
echoing across seven different screens simultaneously. In-in is the
new out-out, and my
virtual hangout calendar is popping.
Yet six months ago I would have eye-rolled v. hard should you
have told me that I’d download any form of app that requested
access to my microphone and camera. Firstly, that’s rolling the
dice with my personal data – remember the ageing app scandal?
Secondly, why on earth would I ever do that? I’ve already tried to
delete FaceTime three times in a bid to increase my storage space.
Forced social interaction? No thanks. It’s bad for the soul.
Obviously, I’m a millennial. Not the kind that embarks in
Twitter spats with boomers – although I will defend avocado being
high on my list of essential food items – but the kind that’s
partial to a
potted plant and who views bailing culture as totally
acceptable. My GC (group chat) has been muted since its creation, I
watch my phone ring and then wait for a WhatsApp to see what they
really wanted and I’ve used “too much work” as an excuse for
cancelling drinks… only to go home and binge-watch Love is Blind
instead. Call it the Netflix-and-chill factor, call it crippling
rent prices and a (failed) attempt to save money, call it cancel
culture or just call it out – I’m flaky.
I’m a founding foreperson of the “Me Me Me” generation that has
mastered the art of ghosting, breadcrumbing (think 21st-century
Hansel and Gretel, but leading people on over text and last-minute
dropping out on dates) and Draking (yes, like the rapper whose
heartbreak-croonings chronicled his own ghosting woes). In theory,
I’ve spent the latter part of my 20s preparing for a worldwide
lockdown. So, why is it that when I’m being ordered to practise my
pre-perfected stay-at-home disposition, I’ve never been more
connected and committed to plans? In the face of a global pandemic,
I’ve let go of my safety net of sub-par excuses and metamorphosed
into a self-isolating social butterfly.
Blowing off the cobwebs of my iPhone camera, I’m FaceTiming
friends, logging on to do group workouts and suggesting Lizzie
McGuire marathons to communally blitz on Disney+. The same friends
that would have shuddered (and hit decline) should I have had the
audacity to FaceTime them without warning are logging on to watch
me attempt to cut my housemate’s hair and willingly sharing their
WFH OOTD (outfit of the day). Our resurrected group chat has never
been so entertaining.
For the first time, FOMO is real. I’m missing out on visiting a
friend’s newborn baby and IRL house-warming parties, as pals defied
the odds and purchased their first pad. After neglecting reality in
favour of my own company, I’m pining to be surrounded by friends
and family. Science aside, social distancing has only exaggerated
my longing to be, ironically, more social and the virtual cocoon
I’d constructed for myself is showing cracks.
After spending hours plugged in to my own network, completing
Netflix and throwing shade at people who spent their Saturday
nights in clubs, I’m desperate to be served my (pre-mixed) negroni
alongside an imitation Ibiza
soundtrack. I’ll gladly pay the service charge (for below-par
service) and I’ll even chuck in an Instagram geotag for good
Two weeks in and my post-lockdown plans make Paris Hilton’s
iCalendar shudder – and yours should too. Take this time to banish
self-diagnosed burnout, check in on yourself and check in on loved
ones; keeping up with your friends and family is more important
than keeping up with the Kardashians. Make those plans, organise
that trip and stick to it. That must-see series will still be there
in six months time, but you shouldn’t be. Unless we’ve got a damn
good excuse (reality TV is not one) we should stick to plans. If
isolation has taught us anything, it’s that cancel culture should
be cancelled. Oh and next time, millennials, we should be careful
what we wish for – it might just come true.