Isolation day 15

The day didn’t start promisingly, when I thought it was Saturday, and walked down the driveway to fetch The Age. There was, as a French structuralist would say, the presence of an absence. (To clarify for readers not in our household: we only have the paper delivered at the weekends.) This chrono-confusion was dispelled in a rather Pinteresque exchange:

[The Author, wearing a dressing gown and an irritable demeanour, enters from stage right. Beloved is seated at the dining table, similarly attired, peering at her computer.]

ME: The paper’s late again.

BELOVED: It’s Friday.

[A beat.]

BELOVED: I saw you go down there.

Fortunately, things picked up after that. We had a mission for the morning! A purpose to assign to the proceedings! Supplies were running low, and we had hatched the following plan to remedy this. My beloved had an appointment with her chiropractor. I was to go with her in the car, and remain therein while she was lasered and adjusted. We would then proceed to Maling Road, where she would obtain some meat from the butcher. I would stay in the car. She would then drive to the supermarket, where this division of labour would be repeated; the variation being that groceries would this time be the desired object. At all stops, I would transfer the results to the capacious boot of the Camry. When stowage was completed, we would repair chez nous.

This plan was executed without significant holdups. We put a mini esky in the boot of the car to keep things nice. I took my tablet along, thinking to read The Age on that device while waiting. Unfortunately, I had neglected to open the paper on the tablet while at home (and thus within range of our wifi). I was able to use my mobile as a hotspot; this worked much better than it had last time I had tried that little trick. Shazam! The whole thing downloaded to the tablet, and I was able to read the paper and look at my email. I had brought a coffee with me from home in one of our Keep Cups. Some music from 3MBS-FM via the car radio accompanied. Most enjoyable, though, was that I was somewhere new. Things were quiet — Camberwell looked rather as if someone was doing a remake of On the beach.

Back at base, a second round of coffees and a snack hit the spot. My beloved returned to work; I was suddenly energized. I put the groceries away, started a load of washing, and put some chick peas on in the pressure cooker (presoaked the night before). I completed a lengthy email to my former RMIT colleagues, offering to start a Zoom account for them, so that we could transfer our coffee meetings to virtual mode. The sun came out, and I rather daringly put the washing out in the courtyard. Cupboards and freezer were full; I knew what we were having for dinner the next few nights. (Having to improvise meals always makes me rather grumpy.)

Friends have commented on how much time, when in isolation, one spends thinking about food. When all meals are sourced at home, it does require more planning. The dishwasher runs almost daily, and the compost basin requires emptying at a similar frequency. It makes sense, of course, to focus on food. It is one of the few things over which we retain control. Delivery does present difficulties, but generally we still get to eat pretty much when we want. We are fortunate in this. The focus on food does have a downside, though. In spite of going a walk most days, and continuing with the exercise classes, I am definitely not losing weight. As one of my ex-RMIT buddies said — it is time to think about flattening my own curves!

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