Operation Oysterhood: Day Thirty-Eight

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

@HaggardHawks

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Rain. The Rondebosch Common was mine this morning – the nearest people passing about fifty meters away, if not more. Only a few dedicated runners and cyclists. And the humans I saw in the distance on the Common were nearly all walking their dogs. I though, “Good for you, you really care for these animals, sunshine or rain.”

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Walking in these empty spaces, I remembered a thought I had when climbing the pyramids in the Yucatan jungle: perhaps they were build because they allowed people to experience vast spaces above the dense treetops; it was the only way to see beyond a few meters of forest. Being on top of a pyramid, I felt a freedom impossible to experience among the flora below. Remembering that sensation, it was great to walk carelessly in an empty space this morning, rain and all. I also recalled one of my grandfather’s sayings: “Karina, you are sweet, but not made out of sugar; you will not melt in the rain.”

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Nearly all alone in the middle of the Common, I encountered this area and sign and wanted a sign like this for myself: “Karina Rehab In Progress” – please do not disturb. It was soul-restoring.

After the liberating walk, I got back into bed with coffee and breakfast. Today, a real treat: honey bacon from Richard Bosman, fried egg sprinkled with my own coriander from the garden. Food heaven.

In bed, I read Getaway magazine (April issue features a place I have been dreaming of for months now…) and The Mermaid’s Call and many enlightening articles online. I also had a wonderful phone conversation with my HAIR anthology co-editor and dear friend, Joanne Hichens. We are hoping to work on another anthology together, and it was just freeing to dream and to talk books and the future.

And just when I thought that my breakfast would be the culinary highlight of my day, my lovely neighbours offered to share their Sunday lunch with me. It arrived over our wall, packaged in containers, hot and ready to enjoy. I sat alone at the table on my stoep, but with every mouthful I felt that I was part of a family Sunday lunch and it was impossible to feel lonely. I just adore my neighbours. They are the real deal: good people.

And they can cook! Ooooh, it was delicious. And the food care package included these divine biscuits that I dipped into coffee for dessert.

After lunch, inspired by my love who reported that he was in his domestic goddess mode in his own home this Sunday (the man cooks, cleans, washes up etc. without any prompting), I decided to tackle the “chaos room” in my house. For many, many months, I have been dumping just about anything that I couldn’t immediately deal with into one room at the back of the house. And eventually, I began to dread going in there. But for days now, I have been thinking that I need to clean it up and use it again like all the other spaces in the house and not as a garbage heap and storage room all rolled into one. It took a few hours, and maybe it wasn’t the best idea for my fragile back, but the room is an ordinary room again (and my garbage bin is full for tomorrow’s collection).

Throughout the day, however, Salieri decided that she will stick to her lazy Sunday routines… She just moved between the different beds, because she likes being close to me even when I am working around the house…

We had a Skype dinner date with our Domestic Goddess, Salieri on my lap and one of my partner’s Furry Ones on his. Love in the era of Covid-19.

The numbers are rising as we knew they would: 447 new confirmed infections (most of them in the Western Cape), eight new deaths. More level four businesses will open tomorrow. In my secular way, I pray that they will follow the safety regulations and consider the health of their employees and clients ahead of anything else. I also pray that all of us will support these efforts in responsible and caring ways.

Walking today, I was always far away from people, but every time I glimpsed a mask on someone’s face, I thought: thank you for caring for me, dear stranger.

Be kind to yourself. Be kind to others. Stay at home (unless you are a level four essential worker or can be safely outdoors for leisure between 6 and 9am).

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

— NICD

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