Card connection

My latest lockdown obsession is Pokémon cards. I’ve become a collector again, 20 years since I begged my mum for packets of the original set.

I’ve bought 30 packs from a modern set called Champion’s Path and I plan to open them at Christmas. Each pristine card will be laid on to a soft mat before it is placed carefully in a plastic sleeve and then, finally, a cushioned binder.

I try to talk to friends about it but they’re not really interested. My girlfriend is just glad I’ve got a hobby.

Have I gone mad? Maybe. I’m not alone though. Interest in the game — and the value of vintage cards — has shot up during the pandemic. I’m joined by thousands of people when I watch hours of live pack openings on YouTube. Silly money is being spent on Pokémon cards. What else can we spend our money on at the moment?

And what else can we do with our free time? My previous obsessions were working out, going on long walks, and for a few days, Habbo Hotel, the animated chatroom that had a nostalgia-powered resurgence during the first lockdown.

There’s more time at the moment, more space to think, to reconnect with ourselves and who we used to be. That could explain it.