Mackindergarten: Tomorrow Never Dies

Well. That was a fun summer wasn’t it? You’d think with my background performing improv, I’d have handled all the life changes and modifications brought on by COVID-19 with aplomb, wouldn’t you? Guess again. 

Complete skyfall
I can only describe the past few months as being in freefall, not only without a parachute, but continually plummeting through an infinite wormhole with no prospect, at any point, of land looming rapidly into view. 

At least if there was an impact you can dust yourself off, pick yourself up and start with the next thing. With life in a pandemic, the uncertainty seems endless: too many unanswered questions, too many mixed signals and confusion everywhere we dare to look.

Nobody does it worse
Naturally we should all be grateful we are in Denmark. Sure, I’ve made this column something of a temple of grievances: a chalice into which I’ve poured my fears and frustrations about being a British expat living in Copenhagen, but right now I’m bloody glad I’m not back home. 

The UK remains a mess, with businesses collapsing on a weekly basis, schools still far from up and running, the psychological impact of living months under lockdown taking its toll and no concrete guidance or coherent leadership from a shambolic government that more resembles the braying hyenas from ‘The Lion King’ – only with fewer qualifications and worse hair.

Denmark, while not completely perfect in its response, acted relatively swiftly to the coronavirus, and with clarity and confidence. The worst many of us parents had to endure was the frustration of trying to work with the kids at home, which basically involved hiding behind doors for Zoom meetings and trying to pretend that no-one else on the call could hear the sound of screaming from the living room as one child batters the other with a Brio train track. 

Coping with kids under lockdown was exhausting and bewildering, but it was far worse in countries like the UK, where friends of mine had to work in shifts, with one half of the parental unit often not starting their working day until nightfall once their feral kids had gone to bed. If you think you had it hard over the summer here, trust me, you could have had it much worse.

Playgrounds are forever
We took three weeks’ off as is customary here for the summer holiday. We didn’t have the luxury of renting a summer house – the true symbol of Danish status and opulence – because we left it too late and they’d all been hijacked by their Danish owners or invading Germans. So our summer holiday felt, 21 days later, more like a long weekend, bound as we were by staying in Copenhagen. 

We did venture further a couple of times to see some of the traditional Danish summer sites – desolate cornfields, haunted pig farms and terrifying villages with a Netto still using the old logo – but, on the whole, we made the city our playground. Thankfully, there are enough actual playgrounds and cool urban escapes to keep the kids amused.

No time to die
Now that my two spawn are back at nursery and kindergarten respectively, myself and my wife are back in offices interacting with other humans, socially-distanced of course, and some semblance of normality has returned. That is until the inevitable spike during flu season and we all have to go back to hiding under the table. 

Of course, chances are you’re still separated from family and loved ones. I feel your pain. So let’s keep on keeping on and raise a glass to the return of normality in all its glory. After all, tomorrow is another day.