I have begun to long for home. By “home” I don’t mean my family or friends—who I wouldn’t be able to visit anyway—but my bed. For some reason, it symbolizes all that is familiar and safe and comfortable.
Not that I’m not safe and comfortable. In Scotland, at Lynn’s, I am more safe and comfortable than 95% of the world’s population. I have a spacious room with my own bathroom. There’s a library full of books. There is even a sauna! There is plenty of space for us to do our own thing. We come together at mealtimes or for a G&T on the patio or to watch a movie at night.
I have projects, like scraping and repainting a wrought-iron patio set. The more I scrape and paint, the more flakes of paint I discover. It’s a great way to kill the hours and medicate my obsessive compulsive tendencies.
I clear dead stuff out of the garden. This involves sitting on a foam mat, reaching in to grab a handful of dry twigs or grass, and yanking them out. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Then I gather it all up—being careful not to snag myself on any rose thorns—cram them into a bucket and haul them to the brush pile for burning. It’s very satisfying. One morning this classic Led Zeppelin album cover popped into my mind:
Why not do what all those cleaver people on social media are doing, and recreate this with found materials? So here I am, looking just like the album cover except I have a wheelbarrow, and I’m wearing a lime-green jumper and pink sunglasses, and I do not have a beard.
It was good for a laugh for a few minutes.
I go for long walks. This is the Clashindarroch Forest, where I hiked for two hours the other day. Even though it hadn’t rained for an unseasonable 10 days, the mossy path was still so springy it was like walking on a memory foam mattress.
So physically and socially I couldn’t be in a better place. But I think the pandemic and lockdown are taking a low-grade toll on my psyche. It’s subtle, but it’s probably cumulative. If I am feeling it, how much worse must it be for people living in precarious situations with no financial means, no internet, or no access to nature?
There are nagging worries, as there always are in life. I haven’t received my stimulus payment from Donald Trump yet due to an Internal Revenue Service foul up. I’m not too worried about it, yet.
It’s been a month since I tried to get cash from two cash machines in Oxford and was given the message, “We’re sorry but we cannot process your request at this time.” But they had processed it on their end, so I am out $260 until it gets resolved. I’m not too worried about it, yet.
This quote from the New York Times sums up my situation:
“Those who had assumed they could stay overseas, and wait for the pandemic to ebb, now face an unnerving choice: Either stick it out, and prepare for the possibility they will be infected with the virus and treated in foreign hospitals, or chance catching it on the way back home.”
I thought I had secured a small victory when I got through to Delta and re-booked my return flight from one stopover to as direct. One less airport, one less plane—this could reduce my risk. Then I got an email from the US State Department informing me that only three airlines are still flying from the UK to the US, and Delta is not one of them. So another call to an 800 number is in my future.
In the before times, I worked two part-time gigs and had a to-do list with 17 items on it every day. Now I feel like I am wading through thigh-deep pudding. I feel victorious if I manage to remember why I came into a room. This must be what dementia is like. Or maybe I am getting dementia, coincidentally at the same time as a global pandemic.
I hope you are well!