Transition Girl

Why transition girl?... Best answered by a quote from the Iliad....."The soul was not made to dwell in a thing; and when forced to it, there is no part of that soul but suffers violence."

Monday, August 31, 2020

staying at home - random notes in times of existential threat (part 3) - the nostalgia reflection

Coming up to six months working from home and looking like it will be another six at this rate. The last few weeks have been harder because a second wave of infections hit Melbourne and led to Stage 4 restrictions. In practical terms, it meant only leaving the house for essentials shopping, care related appointments with medics, and up to 1 hour of exercise daily within five kilometers of home. Any minute spent out of the house requires the wearing of a mask. Rules to live by.

It turns out I've been applying this model since March with one exception - the 'shopping' is delivered because I have been keeping my distance from any situation where exposure risks are increased and supermarkets fall into this category. I haven't had another person in my home since late February, with connection limited to what I can do virtually with friends and family online.

I've doomscrolled through a ton of media that suggests those living alone are particularly disadvantaged by the restrictions. It is true that a lot more thought went into how couples who don't live together would be handled (they could see each other), without recognising that intimacy between friends is also worth creating 'bubbles' for.  While I hope this glaring inconsistency will be addressed, I brace myself for another few months of excessive alone time.  I will remember this year as the year of living in solitary confinement.

The current round of restrictions seem to have hit my work colleagues and friends hard, particularly those with kids who are back to home-schooling their youngsters. Hard when the only thing you have to look forward to on a weekend is the possibility of collecting some supplies from a hardware store (without leaving your car) as long as the store is close by. 

My (almost) daily walks have taken on a whole new dimension - now called my bee-odyssey flower photography walks - as I trade one form of anxiety (lockdown) with another (allergies). My artistic effort has been remarkable in keeping me calm (and carrying on) - see photo below.  I have a number of decent parks within walking distance of home and have probably discovered more about my suburb's occupants front yard gardening habits than I would ever thought possible. Also, I have learned to smile with my eyes - called a smize apparently - given my mask hides my mouth. (The mask does allow me to talk to myself without any passerby giving me a strange look.)

I am taking a week's break from the day job this week in an effort to recharge my batteries. (The day job has been batshit crazy busy and the near constant exhaustion was getting me close to that point where I thought I might fall off my home office chair.) Most folk would complain about a 'staycation' but I have seen it as an opportunity to clear my head (full of bees). 

No surprises for guessing I am spending some of my time writing. Redrafting the latest novel for editorial feedback. It has been good having several days in a row to do this work without interruptions. Really helps with the flow. And nothing like a bit of surrounding dystopia to really spark that creativity.

There has been a bit of procrastination (of course). It wouldn't be a writing session without it. I've tried to be disciplined about it. Setting aside my midday for a "movie" of the day. This approach triggered a measure of nostalgia for me - the days I used to be at home sick from school when I was a kid. The highlight of the day was curling up under a blanket on the sofa with a cup of soup watching movie critic (Bill Collins) talk about the movie about to be screened as if it was the best thing since the invention of sliced bread. He was always so animated in his excitement. The movies themselves were always old Hollywood B-graders but they filled the time. My movie choices are a little more eclectic - the library offerings from many a streaming service makes selection so much more challenging. I have laughed, cried and cringed at what I have watched so far these last few days.

That sentimental longing, and wistful affection for a period in the past? It seems to me that this feeling is stronger and more prevalent right now. We can never go back to what we had - whether there is a pandemic or not - yet the reflection over and our desire for something lost in time grows stronger by the day. What we create from the ashes will be something new and hopefully better.