Eleven everyday annoyances that should have gone back to normal after Covid but didn't

COVID was an excellent excuse to make things a pain in the arse and conveniently fail to return them to normal. This stuff is just like that now: 

Seeing a GP

Used to be possible. Now still follows the same procedure, but face-to-face appointments no longer take place as doctors can’t risk seeing ill people. The receptionist tetchily offers a ten-minute phone consultation in late June?

Menus in restaurants

Scan this QR code to squint, depressed, at our menu on your phone! Because eating out is about having your phone out!

Excessive lead times

A conveyancer doing the searches to buy a flat used to take a fortnight. In lockdown it took ten weeks instead, and now this is the new normal. What are you going to do, go and get a f**king law degree?

Public toilets

Shut ‘due to Covid’ in 2020. Yet to reopen.

‘We are experiencing higher than average call volumes’ 

Painful before Covid, calling customer services to talk to an actual human is now a morning’s work and demands you listen to no less than seven messages suggesting you use their website. Amazingly, in the year 2023, you’d already tried that.

Libraries opening for four hours a day

The council shut your library during lockdown, and has barely reopened it. They do, however, appear keen to talk to a building contractor who specialises in converting nice old buildings into lovely expensive flats.

Bike lanes

Half the road has disappeared behind new bike lanes because during Covid the middle-classes enjoyed leisurely bike rides. You’ve not seen anyone in the bike lane since, but you have scraped your car on the barriers twice.

Going to A&E

Fallen off your roof? Need medical help? Contemplating A&E? You think you’ll get an ambulance? You think you’ll see anyone within 36 hours? Nah. Do the sensible thing and simply fashion a splint using tights and a chairleg.

Train timetables

Operating at levels of service not seen since 1860, your train timetable is a work of utopian fiction. Quicker and more reliable to travel by canal.

Emailing receipts

We’ve gone paper-free. Do you have an email address for us to email your receipt? Would you like to be on yet another marketing mailing list when the receipt never actually arrives anyway?

NHS waiting lists

You need a hip replacement? Two? That’s unfortunate. You are currently 80,000th on the waiting list, based on your cost-effectiveness.

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Five things that used to happen during the climactic episode of a TV drama before you could pause it

BEFORE the dawn of modern TV, broadcasts could not be paused. And these were the things that inevitably ruined them.

Phone ringing

Not a pocket-sized one you can easily put on silent, but a whopping great cacophonous bastard that completely dominated the hallway. Just as you were about to find out who shot J.R., it would start demanding your attention by clanging away louder than a church bell. It’s not like you could rewind TV back then either, so if you missed the big moment, you were f**ked.

TV aerial falling down

TVs still rely on aerials to receive transmissions, but back before pause buttons they bloody well knew their power and exerted it. For weeks on end they’d stay securely bolted to the side of your house, then just as Number Six was about to find out the identity of Number One, it would promptly fall down and lose the signal. Not that you’d have understood the end of The Prisoner if you’d seen it anyway.

Someone arriving at the door

Neighbours, family members and Jehovah’s Witnesses had a sixth sense that you were utterly absorbed watching the likes of Dirty Den handing Angie her divorce papers. They’d be clamouring at your door demanding your real-time attention while you tried to tune them out. After all, the internet wasn’t around back then and you couldn’t Google important plot details later.

Electricity running out

No matter how much you’d topped up the meter, it would always seem to run out and shut down just as a dramatic reveal you’d been waiting months for was about to be unveiled. Maybe missing Trevor Jordache being discovered under the patio was character-building though. Nowadays you’ve gone soft and lose your shit if the internet dares to buffer for so much as half a second.

Stupid questions from significant other

Sadly this irritating occurrence still happens. But back in the day you’d miss the nail-biting conclusion just getting your stupid partner up to speed. Quite why you patiently answered their questions about plot, characters and motives you’re still unsure about. Maybe because telling them to shut the f**k up so you could concentrate would have resulted in a massive argument that would definitely have stopped you seeing Ross and Rachel finally kiss.