I am never going to be the kind of person who cleans the cutlery drawer. I would rather write an essay/sit an exam/retake my driving test (I might have to by the time this is over). The only thing I would consider swapping it for is an OFSTED visit but even that would depend on the school I’m working for. There’ve been a few…
I can keep busy without work. I can survive at home for long periods if I have to. I know I don’t have young children to teach/entertain so this makes it easier but it could also make the time drag. It doesn’t. There’s reading, writing, radio, baking, The Daily Walk, emailing and loads more. As for Whatsapp, I can go out for half an hour and come back to 65 messages from 5 different chats. I’m not complaining. I love it. But I’m worried I’m getting RSI or something from all the messaging. My thumbs are so stressed they’ve forgotten how to hold things. Like the hoover.
I need to occupy my mind – listen to radio, watch TV, write. Otherwise, being severely asthmatic, I’m hyper aware of how I’m feeling, if my throat’s sore, breathing regular, chest tight, washing my hands like a demented harpy. I no longer recognise the shrivelled appendages on the end of my arms. Whoever owns them, they need serious ironing.
Best not to watch the News late at night. It fuels anxiety and encourages bad dreams, like the one where I’m travelling at speed on a space hopper through Italy being pursued by violin playing monsters.
Inhalers are my best friends. I have two different types and I usually sling them roughly in the direction of the top drawer/my bag/the shelf, after use. Now there is one in each place, they are carefully positioned where they can be found in a hurry/in the dark/in an earthquake. OK. There aren’t many earthquakes in Sussex but there weren’t any potentially fatal viruses a month ago. So, you know…
Saturdays can be different. It always used to be sleeping in, reading the paper, writing, a walk, TV. Now it’s helping Steve with Video Church, getting up early for a hair wash in case I’m ON Video Church (reading or just bumbling past, oblivious, in pyjamas) and baking. The latter is because the authorities may disagree about ‘essential’ dashes to shops for chocolate. Also box sets – currently Malory Towers on i-player, which is divine.
This kind of situation brings out the best and worse in people. I’m considering quitting twitter – meanness brings me down. I mean, he’s our prime minister leading in terrible times, for goodness sake! I hope Boris gets better soon, along with everyone else who is ill. But I love the new sense of community: on Whatsapp, in my road, via email, on the telly. We hear stories of kindness daily – why aren’t these reported in the news?
The things I used to think mattered, don’t – holidays, trips, shoeshops, wine, chocolate (actually not sure about chocolate). Will the world ever be the same again? Several months from now, will we all be bouncing along the road in individualised transparent pods communicating through headphones, shouting “Offender!” at un-podded youths gathering on street corners (Yes, I know I have an overactive imagination – I’m trying to curb it, I really am).
Maybe the world will change forever, maybe not. In the meantime, I’m trying to focus on the humour, the kindness, the wideness of the sky. I’m remembering how to pay attention, to dust motes dancing in falls of light, the sound of rain, a single tulip. Did you know, when you’re a bit ill to go out, it’s OK to go round and round the garden (with or without a teddy bear) muttering verses from Emily Dickinson or the bible, and not at all odd? In these odd times, we are all coping differently. Productivity can be being as well as doing.
Consider this – maybe, when it comes to it, we’ll never completely go back to the way things were before, because we won’t want to…