Chapter 5: HELP! Is this quarantine…or incarceration?

I don’t know if it’s an under researched symptom of Covid19, a reaction to the food or some sort of isolation psychosis but I have started to wonder if my quarantine is some sort of punishment for past crimes.

After all, I haven’t actually been arrested for anything, but I am pretty outspoken about what a load of lying tossers are currently in power in the UK, and I once got home to find I hadn’t been charged for an expensive pair of walking boots I’d bought for a trip to Slovinia.

I’m not one for guilt, as I didn’t go to a convent school, so I rarely consider the possibility that I might need to be punished for some sort of sin. I suppose I could have been nicer to a few people over the years, but who couldn’t say the same? I always recycle, I give money to charity and I try to tell the truth. In fact, I’m a terrible liar and when I try to hide what I’m really thinking, my face usually gives it away. I even try to exercise every day, although that was a big mistake this morning. The Covid seems to have taken my strength away and 20 minutes of Pilates became like an assault on Everest. My strong core and well developed leg muscles seem to have taken a holiday of their own, possibly back to the UK without me.

With the weekend over, I decided today that I would pretend I was at work, pull a chair up to the hotel room desk and do something creative. I started with the piece of ‘utensil art’ above (yes, that is a thing, there is a whole section on Etsy where you can buy art made from kitchen utensils), as I had been saving up my disposable cutlery sets for just such a purpose. Perhaps next I can paint a mural on the wall about my bed using sachets of instant coffee and Caesar salad dressing?

The food-based creative process starting me thinking about the meagre possessions I have in my isolation cell and what I might do with them if I was a real prisoner, planning my escape or the murder of a fellow inmate… I had joked with my daughter a few days ago that they only let us have plastic or wooden knives, in case we used then as weapons. To my horror, she corrected me and said this was called a “shank”. I am still concerned how she knew this.

So what do prisoners do in jail to wile away their time, and is an Icelandic quarantine hotel really similar? The wardens here (sorry…”Screws”) don’t resemble Mr MacKay from “Porridge” or Deputy Governor Vera Bennett from “Prisoner, Cell Block H” and I haven’t been propositioned or asked to be anyone’s ‘bitch’. Neither have I been told to “slop out” but I do have to keep my “cell” clean as no chambermaid is ever going to come inside my virus infected living space.

The food isn’t too bad…considering…but because it is delivered from a contractor and they bring it round on a trolley in cardboard containers, it is always cold, even when its supposed to be a hot meal. Not that I’m ever that hungry anyway. After all, I’ve hardly been grafting down the pit, or done a 15 hour shift as a junior doctor. However, tonight’s dinner provided me with another outlet for my creative talents (see below), and that is probably enough for one day. It’s very tiring doing nothing.

Semi-retired leadership coach, music lover & passionate traveller from N.East of England. New to writing but loving how blogging is keeping me (sort of) sane.