Operation Oysterhood: Day Ninety-Five

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

— @HaggardHawks


A miserable day.

I had to go out briefly to pick up signed documents and had them scanned and sent to the relevant party. I couldn’t wait to get back home. The rest of the day was devoted to work.

Highlight of the day: afternoon tea leftovers for dessert after lunch.


It is still cold and wet and miserable outside, but now we have a fire and a glass of red wine to keep us warm. Simple but hearty pasta for dinner, eaten in front of the fire. An evening of reading and TV watching ahead.

I have been thinking about ordinary ‘engagement’ protocols during the pandemic, apart from shops and businesses. It is easy to discuss how to interact with people one knows well. For example: because it will require a lengthy conversation, a Cape Town-based author and I decided via lengthy emails that, even though we could possibly meet in an open space and safely discuss our project while walking or physical distancing in nature, we are going to opt for a meeting on Skype after all.

But what happens when you are supposed to engage in a certain, previously discussed, way during a supposedly short encounter, but then the other party suddenly asks you to act differently, in ways that make you feel uncomfortable. But you don’t know them well, and want to be respectful, and don’t know how to tell them: NO!

It is like my friend Helen said: the same way we need to practice safe, consensual sex, we need to practice safe, consensual meetings, personal and professional – when encountering people we know and love or when engaging with strangers.

I felt uncomfortable during a brief meeting with a near-stranger today, but did not know how to voice my misgivings. Afterwards, I promised myself to speak up for my safety and comfort next time, but I know that situations like these are never easy to negotiate.

No wonder my oysterhood drive was quite overwhelming today.

Be kind to yourself. Be kind to others. Stay at home. Remember the broom can be used as a social distancing tool – in the air and on the ground.


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


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