Sunday, March 22, 2020

tales of quarantine and demon sex voyeurism

I'm not sure when exactly were the "days of wine and roses" but the days of quarantine and demon sex voyeurism are right now, in the latter days of March 2020. If you're not entirely sure how the two things go together, sit right back and let me tell you how my family and I are faring so far in our preparations for (ideally) surviving the Corona pandemic.

I am a young(ish) adult with autoimmune disease who is shacked up with two elderly parents - one in particular is very infirm and ticks every box for being at extra risk of COVID19. As someone who has worked from home for over ten years, and before that was unemployed from home, and the age difference in my family meant that even with two older brothers I was raised in the same conditions as an only child... I am uniquely qualified to enjoy time in my home as long as I have books, Netflix, and food.

Having explained to my parents the concept of social distancing and also voluntary isolation (different from required isolation or quarantine) and having my Mum say to me repeatedly "if Dad gets the corona virus he'll die" and with me sharing what I know from my overseas friends where the pandemic is more advanced than here (we will soon catch up to them at the rate we are going) I thought it was excellent when they agreed with my plan that we would go out one day a week to shop for food, and otherwise stay home except to attend necessary medical appointments.

I feel tremendous weight upon me to uphold this isolation, a pressure that is coming not just from family, friends, and neighbours but from total strangers (and celebrities) who are diligently choosing to stay home for our sake.

This is how the first week of that plan went down:

Day 1, Monday: Mum and I went to the mall to do our grocery shopping. We were lucky to get food and not encounter the feral bogan riff raff who you will have seen scrapping over toilet paper. There is a joke somewhere in there about this footage going viral on social media.

Day 2, Tuesday: My 88 year old father was taken by his volunteer (who we pay... long story) for his weekly one on one social outing. They went to an art gallery. While Mum went to a hall packed with old ladies for her weight loss meeting (she does not need to lose weight). I stayed home. I insisted that Dad's social outings be cancelled until after the Apocalypse. Mum's weight loss club has been suspended in the wake of more stringent social gathering rules so that helps me out tremendously, thank you Australian Government.

Day 3, Wednesday: Both parents attend the local GP and pharmacy. Okay, not ideal, but better they go now before too many people in our community have been exposed to COVID19.

Day 4, Thursday: Mum goes to have a hair trim. I begin to think I am in a losing battle.

Day 5, Friday: Dad wakes up with a limp arm, we have to check if he has had a TIA or stroke.

Day 6, Saturday: I think, wow, no one has any appointments on the weekend, maybe we will slide into this isolation gently over the weekend.... but no my mother decides she has to go to the petrol station to buy a newspaper because she absolutely has to have a TV guide. And when I ask her what happened to our plan she screams at me "I have to have something to do!" Well she won't be bored when we are measuring my Dad for his coffin.

Day 7, Sunday: I share with Mum the news I have from overseas friend about how people won't get permission to leave their home to attend hospital but have to stay home and die, and how fucking hard it is to get an ambulance. I discuss with mum what options we have for if we need to quarantine one of us from the others within the home. Mum emphatically states that if Dad gets sick she will still share his bed. I begin to think that I am going to be trapped in this house with two people who will not lift a finger to protect me... even though I've been a good little girl and stayed home. I'm pretty sure they intend to take me with them when they leave this mortal coil.

This is seriously beginning to undermine the enjoyment I had at the start of the week for a calm, orderly, and really quite leisurely period of living it up at home. I had a binge watch list, a to-read list, and social media to grow. What else can I do, no one wants me to try and sell them jewellery right now they are worried about finances. So it should be play time?

A nice day of reading on the bed with my sweet, cuddly boy dog should be just what the doctor ordered. Well now, there's just one thing: a book lover like me should not have to share quarantine with a bibliophile's kryptonite aka... My Dad.

I stopped buying books for my 88 year old father after he came into my office and shared his unsolicited review of the last book I got him for his birthday. I had chosen what I thought was a moderately nerdy book about the world's first chess tournament held in the Ottoman Empire in 1546.

My father shuffled up to me when I was at my desk working and said, "I finished that book you got me" Oh yes? "It had lots of sex in it" Oh Dear God! Then he leaned in, delicately grasped the excess fabric of my sleeve, checked left and right for potential eavesdroppers before mock whispering "and FORNICATION"

I have no Earthly idea what my Dad thinks fornication is but I could tell from his voice that it is a great deal worse than sex and that is enough for me. Anyway that is the day I stopped buying books for my Dad. It did not stop him from constantly asking me if I had anything to read, and, Heaven help us all, he recently came home with his latest book choice.

He returned from buying lotto tickets at the mall with a discounted book called Eternal Flame with the book blurb "passion like this will scorch you to the very soul"

A quick scan of the back cover synopsis has me ready to take drastic self preservation measures, and that is why it is time for me to pluck out my eyes, cut off my ears, and incinerate my brain. Oh to be anywhere else when my Dad reads a scorching book about a hybrid demon and a girl who is used to playing dirty.

Yeah I just vomited a little bit in my mouth. Debate in our family raged: people who don't live with us giggle and suggest he is now into erotica. Mum and I are more exposed to his declining cognitive ability and suspect he simply did not understand the words "hybrid demon" on the back cover, and may not even be able to read the back cover as his eye sight is also pretty terrible these days.

It was two weeks ago that he bought the book and very quickly discarded it as "the worst kind of rubbish" which lead to me victoriously emailing family saying "see, I knew he wasn't a demon sex voyeur!" But he has now picked it back up and is ploughing through it whether or not he understands a word of it and God I hope I have heard the last of this book that I look forward to burning when we run short of fire wood this winter if we are still here, in quarantine, in our house of questionable repute.

So in these days of uncertainty and financial strain, I hope it gives you a giggle to think of me, with my 83 and 88 year old children and their sex books in this: our time of Quarantine and Demon Sex Voyeurism. And may God have mercy on our souls.

Monday, March 2, 2020

To Eleanor Oliphant with love - reexamining my empty life

this would be my classified ad, if I were to run one

This post is a follow up on a vintage post I wrote called How's My Love Life? which contains quite possibly the most embarrassing thing about myself I've ever published (although this post comes in a tight second) 
Here we are in March 2020 and Valentine's Day came and went - just a day on the calendar for someone who is single but not really motivated to change that status. Neither a lonely or a painful day, nor one to be rushed through and hidden away from. I don't know what is wrong with me, or if indeed anything is wrong with me. On the surface each day I am doing things that I want to be doing, I have a very solid, consistent contentment in life and I am both cheerful and wickedly funny about the really bizarre moments that life throws my way.

However.... it seems to me, and this certainly occurred to me for the first time when I was reading "Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine" by Gail Honeyman that I am coasting through life not unlike Eleanor, she had her little routines and I have mine. I mean I am choosing to run a creative small business from home for not much money and little impact on the world, choosing to stay home with the dog and watch Netflix or devour a book + snacks. I get excited about online purchases I make and new music I add to my playlists. I like having friends I don't see too often because I have more time to just chill and be me and put my plantar fasciitis wracked foot up while lounging in my not-very-active-wear.

But then I realised that years have gone by with absolutely nothing to show for them. Where are the life adventures? God knows I don't have any money, so I must have really lived on all that dime, right? But not. It gets frittered away on books, and clothes, and food and that's what I've done... I've consumed time and money and built nothing lasting.

I'm doing what I want to do every day.... but not what I want to do every decade or for a lifetime. The individual moments are all very enjoyable, but the life..... where is the life? Have I published my book? Have I really travelled anywhere? I chose not to marry or have kids - though I am a little bit afraid of being home alone one day when I have my heart attack (because that's the other thing, I'm pretty sure that's only a matter of time too), and after my Mum dies I will have a loneliness that cuts me even now just thinking about how I will be the last person who remembers her family - they are all dead and gone, and when Mum goes I'll only have my Dad's family.

I'm maybe only semi-okay now.

But Eleanor began to expand her horizons and develop meaningful relationships and so can I. Even if I'm not quite convinced I want a love life, I am convinced I need to stop wasting so much time and actually do some real stuff. I might be okay staying single - if there is such a thing as a Spinster Gene it definitely runs in my Mum's family (and some of those ladies were total babes in their day) but I definitely need to allow life to change up on me and stop going with the flow.

So I am saying a massive thank you to Eleanor Oliphant and taking a leaf out of her book, no more coasting, no more wastage, if I can't fulfil my promise to Diane to find love, I promise to find LIFE.