Operation Oysterhood: Day Thirty-Six

OYSTERHOOD is reclusiveness or solitude, or an overwhelming desire to stay at home.



Fog. It was almost as if this side of the Mountain was saying, “There’s nothing to see here, go back home. Stay safe.”


I should have known that Rondebosch Common would not be a good idea. The few steps I attempted felt like walking an obstacle course. I started counting people in the street the moment I left home, but I soon lost count.

I have always found Cape Town a very walkable city. So I know my neighbourhood well. In the olden days, I had even walked from my home to faraway places like the Book Lounge for a launch, or to the Avis office in town to pick up a rental, or to Cavendish to shop, or the Vineyard Hotel to meet a friend for a drink in the afternoon. I love walking, and it was relatively easy this morning after the initial stumble to find more secluded streets to enjoy at least part of my excursion without having to deal with the masses out there. I was grateful for every single g’morning, side-step, mask, smiling pair of eyes. And I was delighted for the happy doggies. But. But…

Seeing all these people carelessly interact with one another (often without masks and/or distance) as if there was no tomorrow, I felt that I want it – the tomorrow. I want my tomorrow. And the day after. And the many years that will hopefully follow. I will be selfish this way. I love my life; I want to have the opportunity to live it for a long time to come. And I repeat after Pakora: “We really love you, mate. Maybe you should reconsider. This looks really dangerous.”

There is so much we do not know about Covid-19 yet, but we know that there is one sure way of not spreading or getting it, possibly becoming really ill, ending up in ICU (sans vibrators), and never returning home. So forgive me, but I am staying in my egg tray for as much as I possibly can.

I saw this quote by Naguib Mahfouz today: “Home is not where you were born. Home is where all your attempts to escape cease.” I have no need to escape.

The last time someone carelessly endangered my life and my health suffered irreparably, I promised myself that I would never knowingly put myself in a position where this could happen again. And I refuse to do to others what was done to me.

I also don’t want to face the death of a loved one once more if there is something, anything!, I can do about it. I just can’t do this again. Not if I can help it!

The layers of loss, grief, trauma, illness, violation are too deeply embedded under my skin to allow me to take the pandemic lightly. I understand the frustration of others who have had different experiences and have to confront different realities, but I also know what it means to be at the end of careless and willful disregard of personal agreements and, on a much larger scale, social contracts. Someone gets hurt. I don’t want it to be me again.

This time, I’d rather err on the side of caution and take the responsibilities I have towards myself and others seriously. My trust has been broken too often.

165 new infections in the Western Cape alone over the past 24h. I don’t want to be part of this particular statistic. Thank you, but no thank you. No official NICD figures for the entire country yet tonight.

There were many things that I have missed in the last five weeks, but even during level five a lot was possible via delivery that gave me joy and made this strange new reality more bearable. Like my favourite coffee. I understand my privilege, and it allows me to stay in the egg tray as much as possible and by this simple act I might be saving a life.


Nespresso in an Austrian porcelain cup my friend Charlotte brought for me from Vienna.

No takeaway coffee can match this – sorry – even if I have to make it myself.

Because of safe and excellent delivery services, a lot can be enjoyed in the comfort of one’s home in level four. And if one is already privileged enough to be able to make use of such possibilities, then why not simply do it? I want to concentrate on what is responsibly possible, support other businesses and institutions that are not open to the public in whatever way I can, and wait – patiently.

The last time I was at a restaurant, my love invited me for a romantic dinner at FYN. It was mid-March and we had an incredibly memorable feast.

When I heard that restaurants would open for home deliveries in level four, I thought immediately of FYN because of that unforgettable meal, and of my favourite restaurant close to home, HARU. I couldn’t get hold of HARU, nor find out whether they have survived the lockdown, but I will continue trying to find out on Monday. For tonight, I managed to order from FYN… Another professional, safe and punctual delivery. With the super easy instructions provided, within twenty minutes I had a FYN FROM HOME feast that tasted like heaven.

I can happily return to pasta and baked beans for a while again now :)

Be kind to yourself. Be kind to others. Stay at home. Keep calm and wear a mask.


“Physical distancing remains one of the key strategies to curb this pandemic.”


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