Operation Oysterhood: 28 July

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

— @HaggardHawks


To all of you who have been wondering: the frogs are fine. They have both survived my pool ministrations. And a creature has moved into my bedroom wall, and another one lives under my study’s floor. More szczureks? Maybe … The Cats and I are certainly never alone. (It might also be that I am beginning to hear things …)

I don’t want to be reading manuscripts during this time because the odds are stacked completely against them, but I understand that authors need answers, so I am pulling up my sleeves and returning to the manuscript piles. This morning was thus spent reading, and trying not to dream.

I had too much coffee and forgot to eat my breakfast. I only remembered when my stomach started making strange noises while I was driving to town to pick up some books from the Protea Bookshop and the Book Lounge. On the way back, I stopped at Frankie Fenner to buy something for a braai.

The rest of the day was spent at the computer. At the end of it all, it was wonderful to light the fire and just wait for the sun to set. I had my wine out of a wine glass, but I just love the story of restaurants apparently offering their red, white and pink tea menus to customers and serving ‘tea’ in tea cups. I understand that there is an alcohol problem in the Cape, and beyond – I am Polish after all! – but there are ways of enjoying alcohol responsibly, and there are ways of making sure that there is enough joy in people’s lives so that they don’t have to drown their sorrows in pink tea. Instead of banning tea, how about making sure that no one wants to forget their miserable lives by drinking it …?

Last night’s numbers were quite disturbing again, fewer cases, but only because of fewer tests conducted; and the death toll close to three hundred. Over seven thousand people all together. And that’s only the official number. What about those who don’t get counted as Covid-19-related deaths, but clearly are? Tonight’s numbers different again, less official deaths, but hundred and ninety are so many people – and what about their families and friends …

Every day, I repeat to myself: be careful, wear your mask and visor, sanitise everything you can, wash hands, think and think again. Be rather paranoid than sick. And there are moments when I think that I might get through it all unharmed, last long enough for a vaccine to arrive or a Covid-19-proof cure to be mastered by the medics taking care of our lives … Sometimes, I think that maybe I have already had it, with no symptoms and no lasting effects whatsoever. Although, can anyone who has lived through this collective trauma claim that they have suffered no lasting effects of this pandemic-lockdown-madness? And there are moments when I forget that all if this is happening – for a few blissful seconds, I don’t think about death …

Be kind. Stay at home. Wear a mask everywhere else.

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


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