Vitamin S Injections


My lips have lost weight. I’m not kidding. They’re getting thinner. Not from sanctimonious disapproval but from over-exercise. The amount of chortling and chatting I’ve done since London’s lockdown eased is marathon-level. I may need to put a little sweat band on my upper lip.

Because the main thing we’ve learnt during Lockdown is how much we need people. Psychologists are calling it Vitamin S – the injection of social interaction humans need on a daily basis.

B.C. (Before Covid) I would normally be overdosing on the stuff. Yep, before the pandemic my social life was one fabulous, fun-filled whirl of book launches, concerts, opening nights and cocktail parties with banter being lobbed back and forth in the Wimbledon of wit. No night was complete unless I was swinging from a chandelier with a toy boy between my teeth. So, my Vitamin S withdrawal symptoms during the last year have been brutal.

Every time I opened my diary, I’d get severe snow blindness from staring at those endless empty, white pages. I needed a St Bernard’s dog to come rescue me from the arctic wastelands of Social Siberia with that whiskey barrel around its neck. I became so boring that even my imaginary friend ran off to play with someone more interesting.

At least in Australia there’s been some semblance of normality. But Sco Mo’s flight caps have left me marooned in Britain where lockdowns have been long and strict. Basically you weren’t allowed out of your house except to attend your own wake. Or to food shop, dressed in your bio-hazard survival suit.

I became so conversationally deprived that when I’d run into even the most vague acquaintance by the frozen peas, I’d greet him like a long lost lover. My enthusiasm was such that the poor, bewildered bloke would then presume that I’d like him to be my lover right now – which often got um, awkward. What these flirtatious fellas didn’t understand is that I was just suffering from C.C.D. – Chronic Conversation Deficiency.

With Britain coming out of hibernation, even dreary, know-all blokes, the type who put the bore into Bordeaux, I’m suddenly finding totally fascinating. Why? Because it’s just so lovely to chat to an actual human, in the flesh instead of peering up nostrils on zoom or trying to decipher muffled comments through the mandatory face masks which give new meaning to ‘veiled comments.’

As we come blinking out into the sunlight, some people are reluctant to take their Vitamin S booster jab. Agoraphobia has set in. Not me though. I’ve welded sequinned stilettos to my tootsies and a tiara to my cranium.

From last Monday, Brits can meet six people indoors. All through the long dark winter we could only meet up with one person outside. Dressed as if on the Shackleton expedition to the Pole, I’d trudge round parks with a girlfriend. Lips novocained from the cold, all we could do was listen to our breasts chattering. The wind factor was so bad one day, I broke a nipple. Attempting to sit down, I cracked my jeans. Taking a gulp of air to sing “Freeze a Jolly Good Fellow” to a pal, the fog was so thick, I chipped a tooth. Trying to dine alfresco in gale force winds also made eating a challenge. “Catch of the day” came to refer to the food that blew off your plate and had to be chased into the hydrangeas.

When this is all over, I fully intend to be hospitalised from hospitality, hugging and kissing pals until my arms fall off.

After the horrors of the Spanish flu, the world celebrated with the fun-filled Roaring 20’s. So, that’s what I’m looking forward to – the Roaring 20’s, mark 2. After a year of doom and gloom, fun and frivolity are just what the doctor ordered. Humans are social creatures who thrive together. So here’s hoping, post pandemic, we’ll all be a little kinder to each other.

In short, when the world wakes up from our medically induced coma, if you bump into a beaming woman, hyperventilating with excitement as she homes in for a hug before whisking you off for an impromptu party, don’t panic. It’s only me, dosing up on Vitamin S.

Here I am celebrating day one of liberation with gal pals, Sandi Toksvig, Debbie Tosvig and human rights lawyer, Helena Kennedy. I’ve had that tiara welded to my cranium all week.

One thing for sure, we will never take life for granted again.

So, how have you found your re-entry into the world of fun and frivolity? Easy or hard? Stimulating or exhausting? I’d love to know.

Cheers for now, Kathy xx

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