It’s strange now to think that Tesco Delivery Men have hugged me, got up close and leaned in when I’ve been doing a selfie with them. That feels such a long time ago now. I’m not isolating alone, in fact much of the week there are four or six of us (my husband and I both have two children we share a home), but I am acutely aware how isolation is hitting.
My 92-year-old uncle contracted the virus Polio, age 18. He was in the Army, doing his national service. He told me recently it was a strange thing, like coronavirus, you couldn’t really tell where you contracted it, and why did my Uncle get it but no-one else who had been around him? He knew only one old school friend who contracted it and died. That was then and this is now. My Uncle said he felt this was worse for the kids than the Second World War, schools were still open then. “It’s the isolation” he said. God, I miss the schools and the teachers, and my friends and my family. (You may have read from my last blog what a shite home tutor I am, it causes me huge stress and highlights my own failings, I have so much to learn with all this, without having to face the trauma from my 1970’s education again).
Nevertheless, we are all actually doing really well. Each day we survive another day, we ARE doing really well, my glass of wine has turned into a gin and tonic, my yo-yo life of coronavirus, one minute I’m performing a comedy song in our communal garden, or clapping our NHS with neighbours, the next I am working or on the phone chatting and supporting friends and family who are struggling with different issues to me. Somehow all our struggles collide. This trauma is still, and always will be, everyone’s trauma.
As per my previous blog, the deaths I am hearing about are more from suicide or accidental death. My niece who is training to be a paramedic (training put on hold, she is now front line), is dealing with the trauma of suicide attempts. I start back work this week supervising student services staff at Lewisham College, I am bracing myself for more trauma, we had enough before coronavirus.
Self-care is very difficult for anyone during this time; self-care is different for everyone, it may be a bath or reading a book, my self-care is a gin and tonic to get me though, is that self-care? I’m drinking it now. It is the first blog I have written under the influence of a gin and tonic. Is that ok? Am I blurring my boundaries? Is it better? Am I more honest? In my last blog, I wrote about my computer playing up while I was trying to have my own therapy session, my last session I forgot I even had a therapy session. In 25 years of having therapy, a lot of the time, I have never forgotten a session. That’s how it is, I forgot! And I rarely use exclamation marks, and there is one. I forgot my therapy session, my self-care. Watch out Bentley, big note to self. And this is where creativity comes in.
What can we laugh about now?
During a spontaneous gig in my communal garden with some Perverse Verse neighbour fans, I read out this poem I wrote probably 20 years ago. I had won money from an MS Society Millennium award to run a writing as therapy group in one of the pods in the amazing brand new (then) Peckham Library. We were a group of disabled writers, some with MS, some with ME and one carer. During the 12-week group there was a fireman’s strike, meaning lifts couldn’t be used in public buildings. This became a nightmare for my group. The poem/song (and the second bit of the poem can be sung in Aled Jones-style ‘I’m walking in the Air’ – yes I know it wasn’t him but I can’t be arsed to research and I like Aled) is about a fart, and I was thinking that Coronovirus is like a fart, you can’t see it, you never really know how it travels, and it really can be deadly…however, there is hope, and we all need a bit of hope right now, so read ’til the end and keep up the hope…
The Lost Fart
Wafting fart, waft away, through the trees, through the clouds, up to the sky
Up to mars, where water has been found
A fire was found in Peckham, but alas, the fire brigade were on strike
I felt sad
Lifts can’t be used during fireman’s strikes. This strike went on for some weeks during which time I took tea and biscuits and coffee and sugar and sold them to the people who were waiting by the lift at the bottom of the stairs of Peckham library
Each day of the fire brigades strike I made more money
Each day the our library debts increased
I felt sadder
It’s cold, there’s a draft
The lost fart wafts through the doors, into the library, slips up to the fourth floor, reads a book, and is found again
I’m wafting in the air
I’m wafting up the library stairs
A light brown film surrounds me
Some say I look like a tree
I’m wafting in the air
I’m wafting in the sea of life
Was lost but now am found
High above the ground – in the library
Who is this?
Who is he?
I cannot see
But he is reading porn
I’m wafting in the air
I’m wafting by a man’s wheelchair
He smiles at me with grace
I poof right in his face – in the library
He lights a cigarette
He puffs out so much smoke it hurts
He lifts it high above
And stabs me in the heart
I’m a dieing fart
(BTW in those days you could smoke most places)