‘How’s it going?’ messages my beautiful friend LM. I realise I hadn’t spoken to her since lockdown started nearly 4 weeks ago and immediately felt disappointed in myself for not contacting her sooner to check how she herself was going.
How WAS it going I pondered trying to rummage around in my memory for some little snippet of fun to tell her.
It’s true to say it’s been an eye opener of the very large eye variety – the lockdown. Nothing is normal, certain, or usual anymore! Up to four weeks ago, HG would start every day with obsessive regularity at 5.30am waking to the blaring beep of the alarm. Immediately slamming it silent he would let out an audible sigh certain to be followed with a decisive jump out of bed, and then disappear into the bathroom. By 6.30am, he would be halfway down Tram Road on way to whatever company he was due to grace his presence with and drink countless cups of (usually) macchiatos before his return home anytime between 5 and 6pm. Today HG has no alarm to turn off and is usually cooking breakfast for us both by 8am.
We started off our isolation period at home with romantic notions of harmoniously working alongside each other sharing the same small office space – me tinkling with my photography projects, HG doing whatever it is that he does that earns him his title of Hunter Gatherer, us both drinking homemade Café L’affare stovetop coffees throughout the day………. and sharing Millie Dog related chores. We soon realised that whilst romantic notions usually work really well in the movies, in the real world they can be a recipe for too much of a good thing. After many years of blissful marriage and trying to work out how to spend more time with my HG I came to the realisation two weeks ago I had gotten used doing having the abode to myself for 11 hours each day …….. and quite liked it!
Our lovely wee study is a slightly larger version of what I would call a nook at one end of our living space and so you see the problem. I immediately stopped turning the music up (or even on), I had to whisper to friends who phoned to chat and had to cease my untuneful singing for every conference call he had. It almost got to the point where I felt the need to schedule an appointment time to vacuum.
It wasn’t easy for HG either, working hard on some document or another, the sun on his back, a Café L’affare on his desk, he would patiently smile and feign interest every time I interrupted him with very important snippets of news. Like the time I spied such a sweet wee mouse climb up the stem of a Cosmos flower, nibble at something then jump off and run from one shrub to another until we was deep in the garden and I lost him!
Anyhoos we shifted the ‘study’ into the spare bedroom ………. and then back out again to its original spot a week later, but with new understanding of what works for us both. Although it was never intended this way, it brought back memories of sending my children to time out returning only when they felt they could share nicely 😊
The first time I ventured out to get some groceries I was inadequately dressed. I had not thought about wrapping up because I had given no thought to the possible length of queue nor the chilly wind that whistled round the big square building. I stood in the queue feeling ridiculously nervous, trying to remember the order of HG’s advice on keeping safe whilst there. I think it went like this – glove hands, wipe trolley, pick up grocery item … just the once, use pin pad pay with gloves on, pack groceries into bags at the car (reminder – take woolly jumper next time), return trolley, deglove the surgical way so hands remain sterile (yes we practiced this at home), sanitise hands, drive home – did I sanitise hands? DON’T TOUCH FACE, unpack groceries, and finally WASH HANDS like surgeons do … all the while staying 2 metres away from anyone else.
Since that first shop things have fallen into place and I now whiz round in a haze of alcohol (hand sanitiser of course) – without the gloves.
I have noticed as the lock down weeks lengthen the shoppers in the supermarket queues are starting to dress up and the queue is now resembling the runway at a fashion show. I noticed someone in a rather interesting ensemble the other day – a longish black tutu with leggings underneath and a rather glitzy top. It suited the 40 something woman I have to say, but I did wonder where she’d been to have warranted such dress … then I wondered if she had either just gone through her entire wardrobe experimenting what to wear with what – or she just felt the need to put something pretty on for a change and strut her stuff on the biggest outing of the month ……… down the New World Runway?
I admit I am enjoying waking up in the morning, and knowing no one’s going to visit, dress in absolutely anything I like! I thought it would be a great time to reinvent my look – you know – try out different combos, things that I would never ordinarily wear together and just see how I felt at the end of the day. It’s been mostly liberating although I did decide that the inside out skirt, with the big white label flapping in the wind from the middle back seam, was not a good look for walking the dog round the block at 9am – so that won’t be making an appearance on the New World Runway.
Zoom meetings with friends and family have become a thing we do and Zoom seems to have become (much to HG’s disgust) a verb! Also, I have learnt something about men that I didn’t really know – undoubtedly there are many things I don’t know about men – but this one surprised me. My girlfriends and I can talk – I remember walking regularly around our 6 kilometre block (it would take an hour) with my lovely friend SR maybe at least two or three times a week , only to stand at our gate when finished and chat for another 20 minutes! There was always so much to talk about! Men I’ve recently found (very generally speaking of course – note there is no ‘all’ preceding ‘men’) when talking in a group of men, speak one at a time and appear to be listening to each other – proper listening! AND, I’ve noticed there are long pauses between each of them speaking (it’s like they’re thinking) which they all seem to be very relaxed with! This I know, because now that we live and work in the same room I’ve heard it during many ZOOM meetings with Officers of the local Fire Brigade – of which he is one (an Officer that is).
This can only mean that my years of filling in the silent void at social functions when HG has not said much, has been very much wasted! At times Ive felt the need to ‘fill the silent void’ so badly I’ve actually started talking having no idea of what I should be saying which requires very quick thinking about how I should end the sentence AND appear to be vaguely interesting and interested!!
Along with the New World Runway we now have a new game of ‘Simon says …’ called ‘Jacinda said ……..’ Many people I know tune in to TV around 1pm everyday to what my mum calls ‘Covid 19’ – to hear Jacinda update us all with the latest covid numbers and forecast for the country. I can’t speak for everybody but I have overheard on the Runway and in my whispering discussions with my friends that most of us think Jacinda (the country is on first name terms our PM) is a doing a ‘good on ya’ job. I’ve heard much chatter starting with ‘Jacinda said ……..’
I spend a lot of nights out on my deck staring for hours at the sky – there is hardly an evening I don’t crawl back into bed without seeing a shooting star or several – what a gift. Mind you, I do see several satellites too – but did you know there are 23000 known pieces of space junk up there, and around 2000 satellites! But that’s another story perhaps?
p.s. L.M. – BEST movie for a long time ………. on DELUXE at Home – LOST IN PARIS. Funny as funny!