Operation Oysterhood: 5 July

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

— @HaggardHawks


It is difficult to take a reasonable selfie when you wake up with a cat on your back. After yesterday’s scuffle, Glinka decided to stake a claim early this morning. Or she might have wanted to prevent me from seeing the Kanye West news too early … She knows that there is just so much that a fragile soul can take.

In 2020, anything is possible though, so … President West, East, South or North. I will believe anything by now.

I am such a dinosaur that I had to look him up. I’d heard the name, of course, but there was very little I could attach to it apart from another famous name to which I could also attach nothing apart from insane wealth and influence – the kind that had no influence whatsoever on my little life. I missed that boat. Or that boat missed me. The first thing Mr Google revealed about Mr West was that he apologises a lot and seems to land himself repeatedly in situations that render apologies necessary. Oh well, at least he knows how to say ‘I am sorry.’ That’s already way ahead of the Tangerine Troll. And a psychotic break is nothing in comparison to permanent psychopathy. I am still considering whether I should educate myself about the music … Although I might be a lost cause to this particular campaign, too – the first video that came up on Google when I typed in ‘kanye west music video’ was “Follow God”. I already do, but I don’t think that Mr West had @TheTweetOfGod in mind …


Once Glinka allowed me to get up and make myself a cup of coffee, I sat in bed and thought about how small my world has become. And after reading about the billions and the baptisms and the apologies and and the psychotic breaks and the support from Mars (sigh!), I was relieved that I could just sit quietly in my own warm bed, have coffee and travel around the literary world in words on a rainy Sunday morning.

Poland’s contribution to the etymological journey had a heretic at the centre of the story. I can live with that! And because the real world outside looked like this …


… I decided to listen to the rain and stay in bed and read for as long as I wanted to. Harry kept me company for some of the time, but Salieri and I decided to move on to our latest acquisition: Becoming Men – Black Masculinities in a South African Township.


At Exclusive Books the other day, when the vet asked me what I was buying and I showed him the cover, he was surprised. I told him that I found it important to understand this topic in general, but specifically in the South African context. He just nodded. Today, after reading the first two chapters, Salieri decided that, despite her best efforts, she will never understand men, and that the feline matriarchy of our household was the best idea we’ve ever had. Agreed.


The afternoon was devoted to some work, a walk, a G&T and then more work after dinner.

Last night, again a gap around three a.m. – that is when I saw the latest infection numbers: nearly eleven thousand in one day. I also saw a Twitter thread and a video explaining Simpson’s Paradox. I had to watch the video again in the morning to understand it, but eventually it made perfect sense. Numbers, like words, know how to reveal and conceal things – both are always open to interpretation. What counts is the integrity of the writer and the reader dealing with them. And kindness. In the case of the Covid-19 numbers, we need hope. Tons of hope.

Today’s figures: nearly nine thousand new infections and one hundred and seventy-three deaths!

Be kind to yourself. Be kind to others. Stay at home. Right now, it is the easiest way to save a life – yours or someone else’s. Just imagine: an entire life.

Each one of us also has the potential to kill just by breathing right now. Please, please wear masks and …

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


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