Isolation day 20

Well, I had an expedition all by myself this morning! And I got to dress up in adult clothes — proper trousers, my black RMs, and a jacket! The purpose of this outing, officer, was to see my GP in Camberwell Junction. I usually allow half-an-hour for this trip, which I find this leaves time to find a parking spot, and walk to the practice. This morning I was there in ten minutes, with more than twenty minutes to go until the appointment time.

At the risk of repeating myself, as a high risk category patient, I had been instructed to wait in my car until called into the surgery. While doing so I had time to pair my mobile phone to the GT’s audio system. I get very few calls in the car, so going through these steps hadn’t been high on my to-do list (which was why I’d left it until this morning). Incidentally, using a phone while driving has been found a significant driver distraction, even using hands-free. Apparently it adds a hazard factor equivalent to drink-driving. I reasoned, though, that having the mobile paired up would at least allow me to quickly reject a call by pressing the red phone icon on the dashboard. 

I was duly called and entered the surgery. I had been expecting to see a crowded waiting room full of people sneezing and hacking in all directions. There was no-one in there at all. The reception staff were all gowned up, with those transparent shields around their faces. I saw my GP, obtained most of my prescriptions, and got a flu shot as well. This was a pleasant surprise — we had been told the practice had none in stock. (This was not quite correct: they had no freebies for over 65s, but they did have some for which they were charging a small sum.) They were definitely out of the pneumonia vaccine, though, free or otherwise, and I was added to the existing queue for that.

I headed home, where I had a coffee and the rest of my breakfast. Then my beloved and I headed out to get a rather intimidating list of groceries. I waited in the car like the last time, but used the time to make a phone call and send an email, then listened to ABC Classic for a while. My beloved appeared steering the trolley; I assisted with transferring the contents thereof to the car, then took the trolley back. (Loo paper seems to have returned to the shelves, incidentally.)

It is remarkable how the previously mundane act of food shopping has come to require so much of her and my energy. This is a surprisingly complex phenomenon: when I look at it closely, I can see three factors behind it. The first is that I can’t do the food shopping myself, as I used to. I therefore need to involve my beloved in these outings as well; this means in turn that the shopping expeditions need to be fitted around her work. The second is that doing the regular food shop is a concrete task that can, for a while, restore normality. The pandemic has become such an attention sink, and has brought so many changes to so many people’s lives, everyone is getting change fatigue. So it is a relief to focus on something familiar and mundane. The process needs to be done a bit differently for a time, but we still get to fill the cupboard and fridge at the end of it. There is an atavistic reassurance in knowing that, for the next few days at least, we have food and drink. The third may not be a factor for households where no-one was in the paid workforce. For us, however, there is just a bigger volume of food involved now. We are now preparing and consuming three meals a day at home, seven days a week. More meals means more food, more prepping, and more cleaning up. As I posted previously, the dishwasher fills up, and the compost bin needs emptying, just about each day

Anyway, when we got home, I made some lunch. While we had that we watched another episode of Deutschland 83 on Stan. We had somehow missed watching this on SBS free to air; there is now a second series, Deutschland 85. Deutschland 83 is well worth catching up on. The episodes are beautifully filmed and art directed; the East German households are chock full of chunky ceramics, patterned wallpaper, busy light fittings, velvet couches, mid-century wall units, and so on. Performances and scripts are all strong. Afterwards we went for a walk up to and around the park, in the lovely sun. With all these outings I racked up over 7,500 steps for the day, around 5.5 kilometres.

Theoretically next week is my last of isolation. I wouldn’t be surprised, however, if it lasted for longer than that. We are somewhat getting the hang of it now.

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