It doesn’t add up.

by Pseud O'Nym

This lockdown, this self-isolation or whatever one chooses to call it, reminds me of the ‘restore factory settings’ on my ‘phone, inasmuch as one is stripped of the usual daily social interactions that make up the day, and if one lives with someone, has to spend a large proportion of your waking hours with them. And that being the case, might people realise that time isn’t what it seems, it is, in fact less, much less time than it seems and rethink their relationship? To re-configure their work/life balance to achieve a more harmonious situation than the one this lockdown has forced them to accept the reality of.

Bear with me here.

Lets take an average couple. Lets call them Janet and John. Lets give them both jobs. Lets assume they live together. Now, lets have them sleeping for 8 hours a day – the lightweights -, working for 8 hours, travelling to and from work takes up 2 hours – longer if they commute into London or use public transport in London, 2 hours for cooking, that’s 20 hours out of a 24 hour day. Some people have less depending on how much of a workaholic they are, how much sleep they can get away with or how little they cook.

But let’s be kind and allow them six hours a day exclusively – meaning not doing anything else – in each others company. Into those six hours, they have to cram in socialising, hobbies, watching TV and having sex. Not all at the same time, but hang on; they might be sneaky, and combine watching TV with cooking, perhaps having sex is a hobby of theirs. Furthermore, lets assume they’ve lived together for 6 years. Well 6 years on paper. (So unlikely that having sex is a thing they do together anymore.) But if my calculations are correct and the average couple spends around 6 hours a day together, multiply that by 5 and then again by 52,  we get 1664.

I’ll give them back the 16 hours they would’ve spent working at the weekend because I’m not totally heartless, and I’ll assume that after a weeks work they’ll want to make the most of their precious freedom I’ll give them 2 hours back for lie-ins, and while I’m about it, another 4 hours back for whatever things Janet and John enjoy doing at the weekend. Keeping fit. DIYing. Gong to pubs and getting pissed, going to clubs and getting shit-faced, going to festivals and getting henna tatoos. Although not doing each other! After 6 years, it’s a birthday treat only.  Maybe.

So on an average weekend the average couple spend 34 hours together; that’s 1768 hours a year. If we add the 6 hours a day we’ve already established they have each weekday, which amounts to 1664 hours per year and if we add that all up, 1664 +1768 we have a grand total of 3432 hours a year. And if we divide that by 24, we get 143.

So six years on paper, whilst sounding great and everything, is only a year of 143 days and not of 365 when you think about it. OK. Yes I’ll grant you, sleep is a constant, so I could give them those 8 hours a day back, but as those hours represent time not actively doing things together, they can be ignored. So 858 days = 6 years for Janet and John, not 2190 days.

Of course I’m not counting holidays here, and holidays are exceptional, holidays away from home together I mean, exceptional because everything is unfamiliar and waiting to be discovered. Because holidays are a break from the routine and by dint of that fact, free from the tyranny of work – but safe in the knowledge its not going to be an ongoing state of affairs, but rather a very temporary circumstance – they can enjoy each others company.

This state of affairs, the one the lockdown presents us with I mean, is uncharted territory for all of us, with a high probability of accidents – or accidents that look like accidents but aren’t for some – given as how I think that how the average couple spends 143 days a year in each others company.

Because people are not used to spending so much time together, suddenly having to out of enforced necessity might cause them to reflect of exactly how much they like their partner. How possibly the pleasure of spending so much time with them, to just be and enjoy each others company might instead reveal a deeper truth, one that the mundane reality of day to day living has obscured? That far from being a pleasure, it’s a pain, and a pain moreover that’ll be dealt with as soon as the lockdown is over.

I, of course, am excluded from such calculations, being as how I am exceedingly good company, a source of joy to those fortunate enough to know me and utterly beyond reproach all times. Just thought I needed to add that.