Revelations in isolation

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…

10 thoughts on “Revelations in isolation

  1. The usual compulsive read after glancing at the first few words. It is a mixture of being serious, sensible, amusing including such hilarity! I love the picture of the person in the pod! Is it Matthew? I laughed at the thought of us all going about our daily business when we are free to go out!
    Beautiful daffodil too, must be in your garden.

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  2. Deborah, what a wonderful post to wake up to. Being rather than doing. A life-long struggle for me but one which I may finally be winning thanks to this strange time. Reading this was like sipping a herbal tincture – cleansing, invigorating, healing. (I’ve been binge-watching Hugh F-W, hence the tincture reference). On a lighter note, I love your chunky silver jewellery!! Very lovely. God bless you this morning.

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    1. Thank you Paellalady, for your lovely comment. Yes, I’m a bit of a ring fanatic, I have to say. I feel undressed if I leave the house without them. My daughter persuaded me to have gel nails done the days before Isolation Law came into being. They, and the rings, cheer me up when I look down at my shrivelled paws 😊 Thanks again. God bless you too!

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  3. Deborah What a joy to read. I would love a pod…  what s great way to get around. You made me laugh I am the manic videoing wife washing her hair setting up the room doing the tech and the reading and now on YouTube every Sunday. LolLove and blessings. Val xSent from my Samsung Galaxy smartphone.

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    1. We’re on Youtube every Sunday too! Crazy isn’t it?! Thanks for your lovely comment. Your are one of my top encouragers. Hope you’re OK, Lovely Lady xx

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    2. 15 days ago, in another lifetime, my daughter gave me a manicure. 3 days later we went into isolation as I had all the symptoms. My manicure remains 95% perfect and there is NOBODY to appreciate it. Should I be clasping my hands theatrically when I say the prayers on the video for church? I find tidying the cutlery drawer to be a calming and therapeutic activity, but I’m saving it for a day when things feel Really Stressed. Hoovering: after a lifetime of living in manses, there is something very liberating about the realisation that I can leave knitting all over the sofa, in the certain knowledge no church member is going to arrive out of the blue with deep pastoral issues! In fact I’m not exactly sure where the hoover is right now…

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      1. That’s just what happened to me! My daughter and I went to have our nails painted and she persuaded me to have those gel ones, which weren’t cheap, but my goodness they’re still immaculate after three weeks! I think you should definitely clasp your hands theatrically 😂 Glad I’m not the only hoover denying one. Your comment made me laugh. Thanks Angela. Hope you are better now x

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  4. Such lovely writing as always but this one’s a bit special because it’s so apposite for the moment. You made me laugh about forgetting how to hold the hoover. I must WhatsApp more! I could do with that excuse too.

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