China is returning children to school–they have ‘social distancing hats’ to keep them apart. I wonder if this will work or if the worst is yet ahead of us.
Have gone off internet dating; nobody seems to interest me more than reading or baking or TV or other solo pursuits–or my friends and family. They have to be at least that compelling to make me want to make room for them in my life, no? Yet everyone seems so banal. We were told yesterday that regardless of the outcome of the lockdown review on 7 May that we wouldn’t be returning to the office until at least mid-July. I need to get in touch with Christie about our rental agreement–I’m proposing continuing as we are until the stay-at-home order is lifted, since the official government guidance is to avoid moving house. Realistically I need to face facts and think about a different life, cheaper, but the thought of dealing with trying to register at a new NHS practice and change all my addresses and everything…I hate it! But it really might be time to leave London for somewhere less densely populated if we’re going to have rolling lockdowns permanently, or if I’m not travelling for work but always focused on remote delivery, I might as well live somewhere else. But where?
I can hear a small child outside with a whistle or a recorder–foolish instrument when we’re all at home. Harassed in the street by a toothless old man yesterday on my daily walk. Harmless enough. “I wish I had a camera–you’re so beautiful–will you take a picture for me?” Then randomly trying to get me in conversation about how it’s not beach weather but I was on the beach (Thames foreshore). If there’s one thing I thought the stay at home order might stop, it’s men in the street who think they deserve my attention. He didn’t approach but ignoring him and saying “no” to all his inquiries didn’t make him go away either. He must live around Wapping (though I’d guess of no fixed address) as I’ve seen him before. Harmless enough really, but unwelcome. Which I will say more explicitly should he instigate another encounter: do what you want and say what you want as long as you stay two metres back, but your attention is unwelcome.
Thirsty. Erotically charged dream but no time to attend to that now.
Extra big ‘clap for carers’ last night as it was a featured part of Red Nose Day. I find it a disturbing pseudo-nationalist ritual now. The first evening was really surprising and moving but now it’s like the pledge of allegiance or any of those acts of public ritual. I keep thinking of George Orwell’s ‘two minutes of hate’ from 1984. Just because this is two minutes of loving celebration doesn’t make it less forced–or undermining to the NHS who actually need raises, not applause. Neighbour Janie from number 27 left me a piece of cake–her birthday today and she tried to borrow a cup of sugar off me but managed to get it from another neighbour before I managed to bring it to her. I had a recipe book of cakes which I never ever cook from so I popped that through her door with a card.
I know I’m not the only one to feel that time has become confusing. I thought I was doing pretty well marking the days off until I discovered I’d first led my journal with the same three dates last week. On Twitter I saw several people sharing my thought that yesterday being only Wednesday seemed unbelievable. But we did have back to back four-day workweeks before that because of Easter so perhaps that’s adding to the confusion. 5:30 PM – 8 PM busiest time for exercising outside. Just before at 4 or even 5 is still fairly sparse. Yesterday a cyclist went past around 4:30 shouting in an affected voice rather like a parrot “CoronaVIRus” over and over. The same person, I think, who was shouting and swimming last week. Not enough attention as a child perhaps. Or they’re young, maybe a teenager. Haven’t seen them yet. The fishing tents have reappeared across the basin. Two teenagers had a small fire there yesterday and seemed to struggle to put it out, so I don’t wonder that the fishing club wishes to reassert its dominance in the space. But I’ll be surprised if they last long as we are still having police patrols on foot and bicycle (though so far in the middle of the day, not at peak busy times.)
My mind keeps coming back to my weekly conversation with my parents where Saturday my mother calmly announced her intention of not wanting to be on a ventilator if she gets sick. It’s important to have these conversations now but still very painful. Could I bear the thought of losing them? I should call more often and read all Dad’s articles that he sends me. I stopped at the Kellens on my way back from my daily walk because I could see Pete sitting outside with Rohan and James. They showed me the cardboard box robot costumes they’d made, with much wriggling protestation by James and loud showing off by Rohan. Helen came to the door as well. I departed quickly after 10 minutes as Rohan inclined towards running up to say hello and I didn’t want him to get in trouble with his parents. Rohan apparently finding the lockdown difficult as I suppose many smaller children are, insisting that they’d been to Five Guys over the weekend for a burger, though they hadn’t. Pete explained that they’d had Rohan write down what he missed and that was on the list.
Virtual Apero with Adi & Emma and Mona & Greg again. Lana, as usual, became rambunctious and had to be taken off by Greg. I seem to have more laundry than ever–I’ve been doing the sheets weekly instead of every two weeks plus rotating the hand towels more frequently. Hours and hours and hours of laundry. I washed all the refrigerator shelves. Should really sweep and mop but can’t yet bring myself. I’ve discovered that the wine Bert & Chiara sent me before emigrating to New Zealand has gone missing–I can’t tell if it was misdelivered to Maynard’s Quay by mistake or if someone took it from our building vestibule. Or else it arrived and I’ve unpacked it somewhere and totally forgotten about it? I could believe the bottles of their wedding wine getting mixed up with whatever’s lying around but where are their bottles of home-brewed rhubarb wine and plum wine? Surely, surely I wouldn’t lose track of those?
I’m getting a little agoraphobia I think–I often had commuting anxiety before and I’d put off going on the tube until the last possible minute because I found it so stressful. Now I have the same feeling about errands or my daily walk–I avoid it and avoid it and then it’s dark and I don’t want to go. It’ll get very claustrophobic very fast if I don’t make the effort though.
Yesterday when I turned the computer on I noticed the date was 14 April, not 12 April as I expected from heading my journal that morning. Only this morning did I notice I’d headed the entry as 12 April for 3 days in a row. Isolation perhaps taking a greater toll than I’d like to admit. My online dating experiment goes poorly. Turns out most people are still boring. Unable to take interesting photos of themselves or write anything that invites a question, a conversation. Am I lonely? Occasionally but I still largely prefer my own company it turns out.