Operation Oysterhood: 12 April

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

— @HaggardHawks

A mystery about to be revealed …

By tomorrow, I will know the colour of one of my rescue orchids which is going to bloom for the first time in my care.

In the early morning, I met a friend at Kirstenbosch for a walk, but we ended up sitting on the grass near a stream and catching up while her son was fishing for tadpoles. We haven’t seen each other for over a year because of diverse lockdown circumstances. And in a while, we won’t be able to see each other at all, or very seldom: she and her family have decided to emigrate. I know way too many SA families who have either already emigrated in the last year or are about to. I look at my Austrian passport and I hear the word ‘Sauerkraut’ on TV and can’t help asking myself, who am I to think that I know where I belong?

It was wonderful to see her. And deeply distressing to think about the reasons they are leaving. Because I agree with all of them.

The mountains of loss are accumulating. There is no way to process any of this.

Otherwise, a day of manuscript/book proofs pick ups/deliveries and discussions. And a day of having to communicate on a different front: ‘thus far, and no further’. Sometimes I feel that I am too kind, too understanding, too patient and I get punished for it by people taking advantage of my time and expertise. A young writer thinks that he has the right to dump all his frustrations on my doorstep, offend me, and then tell me what is wrong with my dreams. Another writer asks me for assistance on a project and then completely misrepresents everything I have tried to explain and gets me into serious trouble with other people I have professional relationships with. A creative person working on a project I am involved in ignores all communication begging him to deliver his part of the job for months and has no decency to explain or apologise for the impossible delays. But he does send an invoice.

The last twenty-four hours have made me think of something I once heard: “I am like a landmine. I lie there, patiently, sometimes for years … It’s fine, I can take it … But don’t step on me.”

Eventually, pink wine was had in the late afternoon just to take off the edge of the tension and to celebrate the lovely achievement of the day: the first proofs of the beautiful photo sections of a book we will be publishing soon. The book is stunning. One of the pure joy projects of the last year.

I cooked supper at my love’s place, because I have had no water (again) since mid-afternoon. Old municipal pipes, no new solutions. The cooking did not go entirely as planned either, but luckily there was enough salad and cheese to forget about the disastrous main dish. There was also wine.

The part of dinner that was not a disaster.

The latest episode of Last Week Tonight has become available. I am off to watch it. I might have a sponge bath in the five litres of drinking water I got at my love’s place, or wait for a swim in the pool tomorrow morning to ‘clean up’ … Good night.

Be kind. Wear a mask. Support local.

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

— NICD

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