Operation Oysterhood: 12 October

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

— @HaggardHawks

I have lost count (somewhere along the lockdown). And my marbles (somewhere along the day).

They say that today is the two hundredth day of lockdown. They are probably right.

Monday. One of those days … At some stage, it had me eating peanut butter out of the jar with a table spoon. At another, sitting in desperation under a lamppost outside my house, waiting for Godot. I did not cry, but I was on the verge of tears for most of today.

I will blame it on the hormones. And bad luck.

I woke up just after four full of anxieties and couldn’t get back to sleep.

Topolino had to go in for his annual service. In order to meet the commitments of the day, I borrowed a car. An old car. With a tired battery. It died on me right in the middle of it all. The main reason I needed a car during the day, a professional meeting, was cancelled because of Covid-19 exposure, but I was informed about the cancellation only after I’d sat around a coffee shop for half an hour, hoping that the person would show up (those kind of messages never get to you on time, not on a day like today). I had to take a deep breath and reshuffle the busy schedule.

Picking up proofs printouts from my local printer, I encountered my postman (despite everything, one of two highlights of the day). By then, I had already seen the postcard he’d dropped into my postbox (with a picture of a cow on an Austrian Alm – from my brother, sent in June!) and thanked him for it. We spoke a bit about the post office and both despaired a little bit, but it was just so nice to talk to him.

The professionals I phoned to help me with the dead car battery let me down. When I finally got Topolino back, I tried to revive the battery myself, but Topolino is small, with a small battery, and we just couldn’t manage on our own. Eventually, my Lovely Neighbours came to the rescue, with their powerful car that got the dead one at least into my garage. I don’t know what I would do without these amazing people living next door. I just adore them – the perfect neighbours!

But they have had some sad news, and thinking about it is not easy. These are crazy times. And many of us are vulnerable in ways that are difficult to articulate.

There was more sad news from another dear friend. She is hardly coping with the situation that life has dished up for her. And there isn’t much I can do to help, but I will try to visit her during the weekend. We will go for a walk.

In all of this strange chaos, I bumped into a woman I met a few times a long time ago. She said that she’d read The Fifth Mrs Brink during a very difficult time in her life and the book made her think of love and what she wanted for herself in her life. Reading the book was like a catalyst for change. She is now in a new relationship and a completely different space in her life and she said that my book played a role in the transition. That’s the power of books. And it makes me tear up (in a good way) to think that something I wrote had such a positive impact on a near-stranger. Literature works in mysterious ways.

I am monstrual, beyond tired, and all I want is a bath, my next Bosch novel and a glass of pink wine. I will have to search my empty fridge for proper food, because one can’t live on peanut butter alone.

Be kind. Wear a mask. Support local.

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


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