WEB 20200421 Edit Omar-1587473909394
I really miss off-roading, barbecuing, and camping near Fossil Rock with the family, next to a bonfire. Image Credit: Seyyed Llata/Gulf News

Dubai: The next time I hear someone say ‘normal is boring’, I am going to bore them to death with a long lecture. The insidious pandemic that is tearing our world apart has also turned my life upside down. And I yearn for a return to normality.

I didn’t think of my life as being particularly exciting before I was forced to work from home and not leave my apartment for days on end (98 hours was my personal record, after which I went out on the pretext of checking the car batteries). Now I miss it sorely. In fact, I have even begun to miss going to office.

But what I miss most is going out to restaurants twice a week, once with my wife and kids, once with friends. The fact that Dubai has one of the world’s most awesome food scenes adds to my sense of being wronged. The Indian, Turkish, Pakistani, Iranian, Moroccan, Syrian restaurants that were our favourites are now shuttered. And given the numerous COVID-19 fears, getting food delivered home is also not on the menu, no pun intended.

I really miss off-roading, barbecuing, and camping near Fossil Rock with the family, next to a bonfire in the middle of the desert late into the night. I miss the (infrequent) early morning fishing expeditions to Ajman with friends. The kids miss feeding the ducks at Al Qudra lake, and fooling around in the building pool, and I feel for them. They miss driving out with me every Friday morning with windows down in our Mustang to have donuts. I truly miss taking them to the mosque for Friday prayers. And now I wish we lived in a villa, and not an apartment, as they would then at least have a small backyard to play in.

Bane of e-learning on Microsoft Teams

I have taken social-distancing with the seriousness it deserves, as it is the only way we are going to beat this disease in the medium-to-long term. But I sometimes get bored to distraction, and feel disoriented by the lack of direct human contact beyond immediate family members.

I feel irritated by the cacophony that is e-learning on Microsoft Teams, with the teacher screaming at the kids to behave themselves as they mute each other out during class hours. “Boys, keep quiet,” has become the background track while I am on my laptop, working from home.

Washing oranges

I am annoyed about the fact that I cannot send my clothes to the laundry for ironing (First-world problem, I hear you say. Not really; just a small indulgence at Dh1.50 apiece). I feel ridiculous about washing my daily dose of oranges with soapy water before peeling them. I feel nauseated by the lingering smell of Clorox and Jif all day in the house, instead of the pleasantness of oud once a week. To add to the misery, the building management has now banned delivery guys from the grocery from coming up; I have to go down to collect it. (This, I concede, is a First World problem).

I fear all this may become a way of life even after we have beaten COVID-19; some people are very averse to risks, and might continue to maintain distance, just in case.

I am also stunned at just what a weird place our Earth has become. As I write this, it has come to my notice that the price of oil in the US has entered what can only be described as surreal territory. It is trading at -40 dollars a barrel. Yes, MINUS 40. As in, way less than ZERO. How is that even a thing?

And finally, adding significantly to my broader misery, is news of company-wide salary cuts as a result of the corona-induced economic situation.

Can someone please give me my old life back?