“No Travel” Tales #9: The Bedroom

With hindsight, I should have waited longer than the first weekend of lockdown to tidy my room and confront my hoarding tendencies. In predictable fashion, the room has reverted to its cluttered alter-ego, not too dissimilar from our state of mind.

Wardrobe doors no longer close shut, a trouser leg peeking out in the hope that this will give it a leg-up in tomorrow’s outfit choice. Other overspilling items are envious of the garments tossed back in their midst, the grass stains proof of their venture into the outdoors. Meanwhile, uncomfortable formal wear has had its comeuppance, replaced by baggy trackies, t-shirts and summer dresses. Clothes no longer fit when folded, instead creasing as they squeeze down the sides and into crevasses, a trick learnt from all those years of travelling with hand-luggage.  

“Fancier” items are given the luxury of a hanger, though they are quickly abandoned as you begin to untangle the fine fabrics from their wire trappings, left entwined in other garments like a knotted necklace chain. These will remain unworn for the entirety of lockdown, joining the ranks of those that still have their label intact, bought just before the onset of the pandemic and far too precious to waste on a dog walk or trip to the supermarket. 

While clothes don’t get regular outings, it’s a different scenario for the room’s reading material – a home library that lacks alphabetisation. Books that were once indistinguishable – their colourful sleeves masked by dust – now have their identities back, plucked from the shelves and unlikely to return to their vacant slot once shared amongst friends and family. New books fill the void, allowing you to live vicariously through their characters, while a crop of motivational self-help guides and cookbooks filled with tinned can recipes provide practical solutions.

Other pieces of furniture lose their purpose altogether. A desk is overrun with unchecked to-do lists while the chair shares this new stacking purpose, piled high with yesterday’s clothes i.e. today’s and tomorrow’s too – finally “everyday clothes” lives up to its namesake. Some have decided to reinvent their bedrooms by rearranging the furniture, though those with built-in fixtures should prepare themselves for subsequent hole-filling and trips to Ikea for replacement flat-packed goods.

While the bedroom should surely offer respite from pandemic talk, masks have still managed to infiltrate the four walls. These don’t keep you safe from the virus but instead promise a good night’s sleep, shielding your eyes and REM cycle from the light that pours through wafer-thin curtains at dawn. 

And then there are the nods to precedented times plastered on the walls. Concert tickets and festival wristbands recall the sensation of sticky pint-covered floors, lighters in the air, and the stench of portaloos. Travels abroad are immortalised by a collage of €1 postcards – some bearing a stamp, others written too late and returned home via luggage – while party invites take us back to gatherings of more than six people. As the weeks proceed, I’m looking forward to filling the blank spaces with a shrine to future times.

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