Operation Oysterhood: 7 August

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

— @HaggardHawks


Mr Mozart is in the house.

It’s not that they are bad, but my nights haven’t been great for a while. And I am running out of John Oliver videos to watch. I watched The Wax and the Furious at about four a.m. last night, and laughed myself silly. Sleep returned eventually, but opening my eyes in the morning took a long time.

And during the day, I burst into tears out of sheer relief today. After picking up some more rusk from the Alma Café, I went to the small shopping centre near my home to buy more cat food. I hadn’t been to that particular centre for a while, and the two or three times I had been there during lockdown, I found it quite depressing because of a particular reason. Outside that centre, before the lockdown, there had always been two traders who I spoke to regularly whenever I was there. One of them had sold flowers, the other bead artwork. I had always loved buying things from them and even when I wasn’t buying anything we still shared smiles and hellos and occasional longer conversations. Just before the lockdown, I had gone to see them and bought flowers and a a bead cat, paid more than they were asking and wished them well. I remember I had tears in my eyes when I was walking away because none of us knew what lay ahead.

The flowers lasted a long time and the bead cat is still with me, guarding the fireplace. During lockdown, both reminded me of these two strangers I did not know well – not at all, really – but for many, many years they’d always managed to make me feel better about any day when I had a chance to talk to them or to buy flowers or bead gifts for myself or others from them.

I had hoped they would be all right.

Today, I found out that they had been – are – all right. They were back outside the centre, presenting their beautiful artworks and flowers to the public for sale again. I asked after their health and their families and how they had coped and they said that they’d had no illness in their families and “because of people who supported us, like you,” the man said, “we are okay and back at work again.” I was so happy to see them both! I promised to return after the weekend and bring cash to buy more flowers and a friend for my bead cat. I waved goodbye and turned to leave, and a few steps away from Topolino, I burst into tears. It was sheer relief. I hadn’t realised how worried I had been about these kind, hard-working people, who bring so much warmth, beauty and colour into my world. And we don’t even know one another, not really – and yet …

Despite all the work that had to be done today, the rest of the day was simply filled with lightness.

And the day ended with another treat from my love, a home feast from FYN Restaurant.

The pandemic has resulted in so many losses that they are impossible to count or comprehend. The world is reinventing itself and everyone is trying to survive, somehow. None of this is easy, no matter who you are. But almost every day I am reminded how much kindness there is out there and how even a stranger’s smiling eyes can save one from despair.

And some of these strangers come into our lives with bunches of flowers in their arms and they can make even a desolate heart sing.

Thank you.

Be kind. Wear a mask.

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


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