A few weeks ago, well a bit over a month ago, I was really struggling psychologically with the whole lockdown shiznit.
One of the main factors was just how much my world had shrunk, how limited my options were and how I was trapped in Harrow. Then the enforcement of facemasks came on public transport and I realised that it would be months, or even a year or two before I could go anywhere on my own volition.
Originally I moved to Harrow because my first developer job was in Amersham, and I wanted to be somewhere halfway between there and central London, so I wouldn’t have that long a commute and it would be relatively easy to get into London itself (I didn’t know much about the Met line back then) on a weekend.
That job lasted 3 months until I was disposed (thankfully), then I had 5 months of being unemployed where I was on study lockdown, then I started working at Lovespace in central London. Still on a low salary, I didn’t trust myself to do well enough to keep my job so I didn’t want to move closer – and I couldn’t afford it anyway. Though I was working from home twice a week by the end, so moving became less of a necessity – and I knew that I’d be looking for another job at some point.
Roll on two years and I got the role at M&S. Now I didn’t have the excuse of not enough money to rent somewhere closer to central London, yet my commute was easier (well…except for the Met line going totally tits up).
I did start thinking about moving house but I was comfortable – shorter commutes, shorter working day, nice housemate, sound landlady – everything was easy, and moving house very much is not easy as two previous moving fuck-ups prove.
And then lockdown happened.
Lockdown in Harrow
At first everything was cool. Well, obviously not cool – Harrow was one of the most impacted areas of the UK with Covid-19. But I could work from home every day and, apart from buying food, everything was pretty easy.
However, as time went on I realised how little affinity I have for Harrow, how few businesses speak to me, how there are no cute cafes, no restaurants that appeal and barely any pubs at all, let alone ones that I’d have a beer in. I have no friends in the area, and no real desire to make any – it isn’t my kind of crowd around here and boy do I stick out with my mullet. Granted, I stick out in Hackney with my mullet.
And the facemask insistence came in and fuck I was depressed. I was miserable for a week or so before, and for a week or two after. Like – seriously miserable. And being stuck in Harrow was right at the centre of this. Yes, I used to live in Bracknell – but I could escape.
I’m in a much better place now – I’m probably as happy as normal, albeit with the knowledge that I cannot reach the highs of before, but that is cool. I’m settled and I have new focus.
I’ve moved away from desiring what I cannot have – roast dinners in Peckham or holidays in Albania.
Oh. I’m still stuck in Harrow.
I have this fear that at some point I’m going to get the call to go back to the office – and I simply cannot wear a face mask, especially not for the random amount of hours that the Met line want to delay me for. Cannot, and yeah, will not. Sue me. FREEDOM. Yeah I’ve had a couple of beers. Not that half the people wear them anyway.
However the call to the office is not certain, I have heard a rumour that engineering teams will be granted permission to work from home permanently.
Yet Harrow is still dull as fuck. And I want to live my life again at some point, despite the mask stasi. So maybe, maybe I might actually finally get off my backside and move home.
Where could I move to? Well, even Reading has sounded appealing recently – I would rather be there than Harrow, for sure. I have three schools of thought.
If work do want me back in the office, even once a week, then I need to be able to walk to work. So that means places like Paddington, Maida Vale, St John’s Wood, Queensway, Bayswater, Notting Hill, Mayfair (yeah spit your beer over your screen). I was joking about Mayfair.
All within walking distance of central London – all with neighbourhood pubs, restaurants and cafes, and just about easy enough to meet with my sister.
Another school of thought is Kentish Town where my sister lives. It is pretty cool there, and would have some friends.
Or somewhere uber trendy 10 years ago like Hackney, Dalston or Peckham. Let’s face it, my mullet belongs there.
I think the first option makes most sense – it does cover all the bases except probably not having anyone else with a mullet living there.
Well, I’ve predicted a falling house market a couple of times in the past and not exactly been on the money, yet I’m assuming that when furlough ends in October and unemployment spikes, there will be a drop in rental prices – there already seems to have been.
And I want to get rid of some of my stuff. I’d rather not throw it all in landfill and charity shops are no longer an option, so I’m trying to sell things on Ebay. And if you are not aware of how much stuff I have – let me tell you that I have 2000 CDs and about 15 years of Mixmag magazines. Believe it or not, the magazines actually sell. Granted I’ve sold two for a total of £9 but I’ve only listed 15 since Wednesday. So that is my project – minimising my life. Not too much, but I want to own less stuff than I did before I moved here.
So, kind of October is what I have in mind.
I have a plan. I think I’m even settled on an area. Not sure on whether to go for a studio flat or just another house share – my housemate is away and damn it is wonderful being alone! And just on cue, my neighbour’s new baby has started crying.
It feels kinda good to have a plan.