Over the last 18 months I’ve spent 235 days in some sort of lockdown in Melbourne, a city which has now lived through the world’s longest lockdown since the beginning of the pandemic. So knowing that we’re *hopefully* nearing the end of being indoors all the bloody time, I’ve come to realise that I’m not too sure how to be in public again. Like, what do you even do in the company of others – whether that be mates or total strangers?

In preparation for re-entering some sort of functioning society, I – a generally friendly and outgoing Gemini – need to remember how to be a human in public again.

When it comes to chatting with friends face to face again, author Sinead Stubbins noted down some very funny small-talk pointers this week (I like to think I’m a Roman Roy but I’m definitely more of a Cousin Greg, btw), but I need to refresh myself on what happens beyond the couple of hours of picnicking time. What do I wear? Should I smile at strangers? Can I pat people’s dogs again? What do I do with my HANDS?

The roadmap back to being a human being outside of the house begins in the bedroom, specifically the wardrobe. Taking out all my matching tracksuits I’ve bought in the last two years, there’s a whole world of clothes in there I haven’t looked at in ages.

There’s that canary yellow dress I bought to MC my brother’s wedding that’s already been postponed twice and will be again, I daresay. That glittery jumpsuit I thrifted in the US for dusty doof dance floors because it sheds sparkles everywhere. Can I wear these on my debut back into the public? Or should I see if those jeans I haven’t worn since the mere couple of weeks between lockdown four and five?

How do even do makeup anymore? I know I’ve spent the last 235 days lying in bed like a baked potato endlessly scrolling through makeup videos on TikTok and Instagram, but lord knows a lick of foundation has not been near my skin since the Before Times. Shit, is my makeup even still in date?

While talking about talking has been talked about already, can anyone tell me how I can take the group chat from online shit-chat that I check at the end of every day into a real-life conversation that I need to actively participate in? I can’t just leave the picnic on read while I stare at middle distance for a while.

And how do I show everyone memes without context? Is it kosher to just mass airdrop to the group and wait for their reactions? Do I hand my phone around? Or read it out?

How do I even be funny in real life when I don’t have the luxury of a time to craft the perfect joke? At least there’s less chance of me spelling one word wrong and having everyone reply with it, and then have my chat nickname changed to the misspelt word.

All of these things about being in public rush into my silly little smoothed out brain whenever the mention of “getting back to normal” or “life after COVID” is mentioned in pressers or conversations, and I daresay I’m not alone on that one, either. So if you’ve got any hot tips on how to be a human again now we’re allowed, please let me know.

I don’t even know if my Myki is still valid. Ah crap.

Image: Netflix