Adjusting to the outside world is tough but I ain’t gonna re-offend

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Excerpts from my 2020 Journal…

APRIL. What a lovely surprise! We’ve been whisked off on a three-week vacation to the island paradise of Pandemica, in the beautiful village of Lockdownia, where we’re staying at the 3-star Daniel-Andrews-Is-Taking-Good-Care-of-Us Villa and Spa Resort. Accommodation is comfortable (we got a scenic Neighbour’s Garage View Bungalow!) And the rooms are all clean (we clean them ourselves, all day long!).

People took to the streets and cafes in the city after lockdown lifted.Credit:Getty Images

Unfortunately there’s no toilet paper, but we must remind ourselves that Pandemica is a developing nation, so we’re using old newspapers and magazine pages (a little tourist tip: avoid the glossies!!!!). Overall it’s been very relaxing: lots of fun daily activities to enjoy, including TV-watching, jigsaw-puzzling, pizza-making, and romantic sunset strolls along the tranquil shores of Back-Patio Bay.

Even had a crack at learning the local Pandemican lingo: there’s Know’where t’buy facemask’elastic? (a popular greeting) and Heyletz f’latt’in d’curve (a fond farewell). Heading home tomorrow, boo hoo, back to normal life! So must pick up some souvenirs to remember this wonderful, bonding time: a few recipes for inedible yeast-free bread, and a hilarious “I Went To Pandemica And All I Got Was This Lousy Home-Made Pyjama-Pants-Fabric Face-Mask”.

MAY. Well this is a strange turn of events. We just got back from our three-week vacation, life was just getting back to normal, then we were whisked off again – this time to the remote region of Covidia, high in the desolate Iso Mountains, where we’re doing a two-month meditation retreat in the ancient Phuc-Dis Phor-a-Joke, Dan’yal An’drooz Monastery.

This is not as much fun as our April getaway: we’ve taken a vow of silence and lead a simple and austere life of mindfulness, meditation and TV. Days pass without event: we wander about in our monkish bathrobes, cleaning the floors, the bathroom, the kitchen – repetitive tasks that allow our Consciousness to Expand Infinitely (the oven-cleaner fumes help a bit too).

Yesterday a fellow monk silently offered me her last rice cracker. I silently thanked her for her Act of Kindness. She silently got pissed off because she didn’t hear my silent thank you. Now we are silently not talking to each other and I’ve entered The Inner Womb Where My Higher Self Dwells. There is a TV in there. And a couch for sleeping. A few more days … and it will all be over…

AUGUST. Never got back from the retreat. Been busted for a crime I never committed and copped a 12-week sentence in Stage 4 Division at the Daniel-Andrews-What-The-%$#@-Are-You-Doing-To-Us? Correctional Centre.

Life on the inside is hell: gotta keep my wits about me, do what I can to survive, and watch out for my prison-wife, The Toecutter (one wrong move and she’ll slice me up with her jagged overgrown toenail).

The screws got us locked down 23 hours a day, just one hour exercise time, nothing to do but watch TV and eat gourmet culinary creations from Stephanie Alexander’s The Cook’s Companion – it’s a freakin’ nightmare. Last night I sat in the corner, staring at old Zoom screen shots from the days when I was happy and free, back in April. And I sang to myself: “Any day now… any day now…. I shall be released…”

OCTOBER. Whoo-hoo, finally out this week. But on parole, so gotta wear my I.D. face mask everywhere I go. Adjusting to the outside world is tough but I ain’t gonna re-offend, never wanna wind up back inside. Today I’m going to the shops for the first time in ages. Gonna buy soap, toothpaste, and a TV sound bar. Just the bare basics, to make a fresh start in life.

Danny Katz is a Melbourne humourist.

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