Events were cancelled, state borders closed, and overseas travel was impossible – unless you were Tony Abbott, for whom we gladly made an exception.
In 2020, we donned trackies, literally and metaphorically. Even Scott Morrison didn’t bother with a suit below the waist, while Taylor Swift topped charts singing about being a cardigan. We worked from home, or didn’t, as the economy contracted, and our kids studied at home, which primarily involved preventing their parents from getting any meaningful work done.
We shifted our furniture around and pretended we’d gone on holiday. We launched podcasts, then abandoned them, because it’s impossible to get listeners when everyone’s launching podcasts. And we ordered stuff. Board games, puzzles, Nintendo Switches, knitting yarn and tie-dye kits – delivered contact-free, as we maxed out our credit cards in the hope of alleviating our boredom.
Australia Post struggled with an unfamiliar surge of custom, and the NBN struggled too, allegedly because we were working from home, but really because we were all watching Tiger King.
Some of us exercised so we could post activewear shots on Instagram, while others expanded our isobods by cooking elaborate Ottolenghi meals. We held Zoom dinner parties, and most of all, we drank – or FaceWined, as it became known. This was the year every restaurant became a bottle-o, and 2020, in a rare moment of benevolence, granted us the delivery cocktail – preferably, a quarantini.
Victoria had some scary months until their brutal lockdown turned things around. The state’s residents passed time by over-analysing Dan Andrews’ wardrobe, longingly watching AFL games live from Queensland, and breaking the lockdown to buy KFC and/or butter chicken.
Before Christmas, Sydney reintroduced restrictions too, as COVID-19 locked down the Northern beaches following a mass breakout of over-exuberant RSL club and Bowlo dancing, and one perplexing incidence of floor-licking – which is surely unwise even in non-pandemic years.
We got through all this by chatting online, pondering for instance why anyone would lick a floor. We discussed how we were feeling (awful), how much we hated 2020 (lots), and what we’ll do when it’s over (keep drinking, but in Bali).
But 2020 will never be forgotten. It’ll feature in the tales of bushfires and bog roll shortages we tell our grandchildren, and the horrific flashbacks we’ll experience forever.
So let us raise yet another glass, then remember what this year was like, and put the glass down again. Farewell, 2020. We will never see your like again, if we successfully remember the precious lessons you taught us, like distancing, masking, listening to scientists, and keeping bats and pangolins separated. But we won’t do that, so while 2021 is imminent, we must accept that the nightmare that began in 2020 may never truly end. Hey, auld lang syne everybody! But let’s just sing it in our heads, please, because singing aloud spreads coronaviruses.
Dom Knight is the author of The 2020 Dictionary, which he insists is the book of the year.
Writer, broadcaster and co-founder of The Chaser and Giant Dwarf