HERE I am, fresh out of a 10-day quarantine due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
I did not contract the virus but rather came into close contact with an individual who had it.
Going for a swab test for the first time was certainly a memorable experience, for all the wrong reasons.
Having a cotton bud shoved deep down your throat is bearable, but having it violated deep into your nostril is certainly not a pleasant experience – one that I cannot elaborate further without employing unpublishable expletives.
For hours later, I could still feel the path left behind by that nasty little cotton bud.
But the worst of the experience for me was being cooped up at home for 10 days.
With that pretty pink band on your wrist, you are ‘persona non grata’ anywhere outside your front door.
The only consolation was to be able to work from home (WFH) during this period.
Now, life wouldn’t have been such a bore if your job was an administrative one but being a journalist, I have to be out in the field most of the time – something I relish about the job, and do it with a lot of zest.
And when you are relegated to just phone interviews and doing follow-ups on current issues during the quarantine period, you feel as if you are not in the thick of action expected from this job.
WFH is over-rated, really, something I found out after being in quarantine. Your mind power ebbs, contrary to what others say about how the solitude of home helps you concentrate.
My daily routine was thrown upside down.
I could not start the day by enjoying my favourite wantan mee or hokkien char for a quick breakfast before heading for my first assignment of the day.
Instead, bread or cream crackers became a daily staple.
Being a law-abiding citizen, I spent most of the time inside my study, adhering to the physical distancing rule even with others at home.
But there is only so much of time you can spend watching TV, which becomes boring and you just want to get out of the house.
Now, don’t get me wrong – I am not a party guy who spends after working hours drinking with pals and heading home in the wee hours of the morning.
It is just that I enjoy the company of a small circle of friends I have, mostly from the media industry, and meeting them for dinner or few drinks twice or three times a week is fun.
When you are out in the field, your mind is on hyper-drive mode, mostly on work such as the exclusive piece you can work on or how to source for a page one story.
While a journalist can do that sitting behind a desk, there is nothing like feeling the adrenaline rush when being out there in the field, because that is what we do.
But sitting at home, your mind wanders, it is distracted in the silence, thoughts that doesn’t add value to your work creeps in and it doesn’t really optimise your working day.
Ya, the quarantine was a learning experience but I definitely would not want to put myself in such a situation again.
WFH is not really my ‘cup of tea’.