How To Maximize Your Social Distance Potential

Day 1

Find out about working from home.

Wonder why you weren’t working from home before.

Stare at a cold, uneventful morning.

Wish you weren’t working from home.


Pet cat or substitute object of emotional comfort.

Read emails expressing the “strangeness of the times” and varying levels of perceived craziness.

Send emails expressing the “strangeness of the times” and varying levels of perceived craziness.

Consider going to the park.

Hear sirens.

Imagine zombies.



Spend afternoon trying to use new software designed to facilitate home working.

Send emails expressing a gulf between the quality of available software and required levels of usability.

Feel a wave of excitement at having time to read all the books you’ve not read.

Pick up several books.

Put down several books.

Order a cheap copy of Dante.

Worry about rent.

Pray for rent to be suspended. Encourage the idea of a nationwide rent strike by posting messages of a variety of media platforms.

Become afraid of withholding rent.

Message your friends and ask if they are surviving the apocalypse.

Log off.

Start drinking wine.

Check the time.


Worry about whether you expressed yourself in a stupid embarrassing way to your friends earlier and drunkenly overcompensate with a series of increasingly hyperactive messages.

Day 2

Wake from a dream involving a virus making its way across the surface of the earth.

Ask yourself why Brad Pitt was there again.

Wonder if you should go to therapy.

Emotional object time.

Cancel therapy.

Feel sad about your depression. Worry about your anxiety.

Watch an online life-coaching video claiming to make life feel better in seven minutes.

Spend your lunch hour plotting the elaborate murder of a life coach. Something involving acid.

Read several non-committal emails from your employer about safeguarding your mental health, sent shortly after the ones outlining the limits of statutory sick pay.

Open online shopping. Fill the virtual basket with food items.

Check the next delivery slot. Sigh. Close the tab.

Walk to the supermarket.

Imagine wearing a mask.

Wonder if imagining wearing a mask is as good as wearing a mask.

Feel exposed and naive and undernourished.

Collect an array of unrecognizable food items.

Discover the existence of coconut-flavored toilet roll and the extent of the number of different kinds of jam.

Hesitate over whether or not buying three tins of tomatoes makes you insane.

Decide if you can learn to eat pineapple.

Return home.

Check/send emails. Count the number of references to “trench warfare” and “rationing.”

Pick up pineapple. Put pineapple back down.


Day 3

Wake up with a feeling of moderate optimism spreading through you like a ray of sunlight treasuring a cloud.

Spend an hour and a half attempting to have a four-way conference call.

Notice the objects arranged in the rooms of your coworkers.

Feel inadequate and lacking in knick-knacks.

Open eBay and consider buying a porcelain mouse and a drawing of three skeletons drinking beer under a motorway bridge.

Buy nothing.

Decide to draw three skeletons drinking beer under a motorway bridge.

Feel inadequate and lacking in artistry.

Consider eating a pencil.

Wonder if that thing about that famous painter eating paint was true.

Discover a hitherto unknown desire to be a skeleton as it manifests itself within you and expresses a considerable degree of longing.

Watch a video about yoga. Stand up, stretch a little, sit back down.


Consider making an isolation playlist.

Listen to Isolation by Joy Division on repeat for 23 straight minutes.

Watch the news.

Aimlessly scroll social media.

Promise yourself you will only scroll for another 10 minutes.

Okay, 15.

Close social media and the news and spend time researching geographical locations where the coronavirus has not hit. Choose your top 10.

Read the Wikipedia entries for the locations and narrow the options down to a shortlist of 3.

Search for flights to those locations and compare prices.

Feel relieved by the notion of escape.

Log off.

Make peanut butter toast.

Talk to the cat/dog/stuffed toy/interestingly shaped rock you found on holiday that time as though it’s a human being.

Day 4

Wake up. Do 20 press ups and 20 sit ups in your pajamas.

Eat a breakfast composed of the remnants of two different cereals.

Check the news to see if rent and bills have been abolished.

Check bank balance.

Wonder if you have become too desensitized to cry.

Step outside. Feel the wind and rain rush onto your skin.

Get confused about whether wind and rain feel good or bad.

Watch someone in running gear running.

Run 20 meters to the end of the street.

Walk back inside and close the door.

Get dressed.

Consider giving up/re-starting smoking.

Talk to the cat/toy/rock and throw your voice into an adorable high-pitched squeak in order to reply.

Make peanut butter toast.

Type “the end of capitalism” into your web browser and hover for a few seconds before pressing enter in the hope that simply searching for something on a 2009 HP laptop will make it come true.

Read revolutionary material.

Donate to your local food bank.

No, seriously.

Question whether Wednesday and Thursday even exist as concepts anymore.

Consider investing in a houseplant.

Create a database of aphoristic phrases that are both meaningless and profound.

Stockpile friends. Alienate your food.

Panic buy solidarity (and cheese).

Be the withdrawal you want to see in the world.


Blow your nose.

Read articles on 30 different medical websites to establish whether a single sneeze constitutes irrefutable proof of your own imminent death.


Day 5

Wake before your alarm, gently roused by birdsong.

Watch the sun’s fire spread across the sky.

Absentmindedly touch your face. Panic.

Wash your hands and face.

Watch two yoga videos and one combat workout video and perform the routines with a limited degree of success.

Feel sweaty and fulfilled.

Explore the tunnel of your own self-worth.


Listen to the cat/toy/rock as it demonstrates a surprising degree of knowledge on the failure of the stock market and the “death of the air traffic industry.”

Eat pineapple.

Read emails and feel nostalgic for the time when people made light-hearted remarks about “trench warfare” and “rationing.”

Walk to the supermarket.

Emerge clutching a broken packet of brown spaghetti, two tins of mushroom shop, and three peaches.

Remember that you hate mushrooms.

Consider the value of the mushroom soup on the open market.

Spend the next two hours imagining the instantiation of an elaborate system of bartering.

Make a cup of tea.

Open a packet of chocolate biscuits.

Scour the internet for the answer to the question “how long can coronavirus live inside a biscuit?”

Eat spaghetti.

Read articles about the drop in pollution and experience your own lack of self-esteem transform into nihilistic suicidal eco-fascism before giving way to socialism.

Donate to your local food bank.

Type “the end of capitalism” into your web browser.


[Repeat as necessary.]

Sometimes I get scared when I look at leaves

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