• neil

DAY 50 (6 May) - Don’t ring us, we’ll ring you.

I was sitting down to write today’s blog when ‘bing’ went my phone.

Callooh! Callay! What now?

I have been invited by my ‘Daily Yoga’ app to participate in a 24 Day Flexibility Challenge.

“Have you always wanted to increase flexibility and get down into splits? Let’s do this!”

Oh Joy!

I admit to wanting to increase flexibility. For some time now I have harboured the desire to be able to touch my knees or put my shoes on without troubling Dobby.

But the splits? I had never considered the possibility, the desirability or the utility of such a manoeuvre. And of course, it is not just the act of assuming the splits position which requires consideration. At a time when I am alone in the house I would have to reflect on to the feasibility and methodology of quitting the splits in order to resume normal service.

If stuck I could eventually die of hunger, assuming Alfie did not get hungry first.

But having weighed and dismissed the prospect of donning tights and splitting, I now feel a touch guilty. What is lacking in my character that I do not take these kind people up on their offer and spend the next 24 days straining to crush my own testicles?

Taken by itself this is only a straw’s weight of guilt. But when all the other straws are added I am going to need a camel.

The bing, bing, bing of alerts, notifications, reminders, invitations and exhortations is ceaseless.

Everyday Duolingo threatens me with dismissal from the Amethyst League if I lose my ranking compared with Jamir, Heinz and Lollipop.

Every day, after completing my already packed ‘To Do’ list , and just as I sit down for a beer and a bedtime fairy story with Teddy, up comes a notification telling me

“You still have 37 minutes to learn the Spanish for ‘My Rhino thinks your girlfriend has a lovely bum’.”

And there are so many more of these eager beavers. Not content with my daily 20 minutes of meditation and levitation, 'Headspace', supposedly a font of relaxation, repeatedly recommends supplementary modules on happiness, calm, breathing, reframing loneliness and appreciation.

I would be very happy and appreciative and would breathe easier if they would reframe their tactics and just calm down a bit. Take a chill pill Headspace! How am I supposed to take time for myself while constantly being badgered to take time for myself?

Next in the mix are e-mail, Apple Messages, Messenger, Facebook, WhatsApp, Zoom, and FaceTime. The makers of all of them have spent fortunes maximising the irritation factor.

But there is a special place in hell (next to the Brexiteers) for Apple Memories.

If, in spite of lockdown loneliness, you do manage to achieve a degree of equanimity an alarm is triggered in Cupertino. The people at Apple drop everything they are doing and send you a new “Memory”. This consists of a slide show set to sad and romantic music featuring all the best photos and videos of you and your ex or you with the kids whom you haven’t seen for weeks. Alfie has stopped watching them.

Finally, the cherry on the cake. My true master. The Rings.

Anybody who uses an Apple Watch knows that there are three rings to be completed during the course of the day: Movement, Standing and Exercise.

Under no circumstances can you be left to do as you would wish with these rings. There are regular reminders that ‘by this time of day you have normally made more progress’.

The debate on the existence of free will has become moot. You no longer have time for that My Precious.

"Three Rings on Apple Watch - under their eye

Seven ‘you’re late’ alerts coming to your phone

Nine for yoga - you don’t know why

You thought it was easy being home?

In the Land of Lockdown where the loonies lie

Apple Rings to rule them all, Apple Rings to find them

You just want something ‘to in-the-trash-can bind them’

In the Land of Lockdown where the loonies lie."

Say something lovely to a stranger!



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