Transition, You'd Better Work!

Ground Floor: Perfumery, Stationery & Leather Goods, Wigs & Haberdashery, Kitchenware & Food. Going Up.

When you live in the top floor flat (apartment for USA folk) of your building, you get used to a certain amount of privacy and your life is largely protected from prying eyes. That’s something I’ve really grown accustomed to over the last 16 years in my current home. Especially during Covid 19 when being home has been somewhat the default position. It’s something I’d maybe come to take for granted, as I sipped my morning coffee in mismatched underwear. Superman is just too much of a boy scout to ever be a peeping tom. And living 30 feet from the street has consequently always felt really secure to me.

Until Wednesday. I perhaps do dimly remember half hearted conversations about how our building factor (Read Superintendant in USA) was going to clear the guttering around the roof. The gutters themselves, some errant plants that had appeared and just a general tidy-up of the front face of our building. I found the topic as exciting as all of it sounds and just casually sat back awaiting an obligatory bill. The joys of communal living laid bare. But then I forgot entirely. As you do.

And then on Wednesday morning, I hauled myself out of bed in time to log on for work at 9am. Generally been using a WhatsApp group to confirm my attendance and availability for the daily grind. So clothing has been very much optional. Or so I genuinely believed. Until sometime around my second breakfast (it’s a pandemic, don’t judge me), I caught something in my peripheral view.

That something was two lovely gentlemen inching past my living room in an entirely surreal but relatively unhurried motion. From my eyrie, I had never prepared for this eventuality. As I sat uncomfortably in my greyest bra, spluttering coffee and looking for cover, I wasn’t quite sure what was unfolding. Their ascent was the slowest thing I have probably ever witnessed with my own eyes. Turns out a cherry picker does not have an impressive top speed at all. But then, excruciatingly slowly and all too inevitably, our eyes finally met. And I was frozen in place.

Really wasn’t too sure what to do with myself at that point. Tapping out the “In The Air Tonight” drum solo on my lockdown belly was briefly considered but I’m not really musically minded. So brazening it out seemed like the best option on my limited table. I remain kind of grateful to my two unexpected visitors. Without words and to their credit as gentlemen, they both agreed to survey a point somewhere above my windows studiously until we parted ways. I will never forget their faces, nor they mine. But I have learned there is wisdom in “Expect the unexpected”. And ultimately, the true value of really nice knickers to your confidence. Every day is indeed a school day.

Relatively Speaking, Transition

Freedom Of Movement

I wasn’t sure that I was ever coming back here. Life changed, time moved on and my need to share completely abated as things stutteringly started to get on track for me. My life currently has actually been better than I ever thought it could be. So I got fairly lazy with the updates whilst enjoying everything the world had to give me. And then the whole Coronavirus thing happened and the notion of ever writing another word here had also disappeared for a while. Somewhat unluckily for you, that’s about to change, although the regularity of the blog might not entirely. But forewarned is always forearmed.

It’s always been a stream of consciousness sort of affair here. There was never a huge deal of planning in my posts. It just kind of meandered along based on what I was maybe feeling or what mattered to me at the time. The biggest obstacle to picking it back up again was having no really pressing concerns and consequently not ever knowing where to start. Until I decided it didn’t really matter, as long as I started. So here goes. Bear with me.

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Living La Vida Lockdown

The latter part of my maternal Grandmother’s life was a seemingly endless procession of entirely homogenous days within her own home, which I remember she always bore with a steady grace. The future prospect of a similar fate filled my own Mother with existential dread. My Gran’s softly sanguine advice to her was usually “One day you will just have to content yourself at home”. Neither my Mother or I subscribed to this advice all that much at the time.

But a quarter of a century later, it turns out the Grand Old Duchess of our family knew what she was talking about. It’s taken a worldwide pandemic and the associated lockdown we have all had to endure, for me to find the wisdom in her words. Our lives just now are distant strangers to the ones we brought in the bells with. Full of expectant hopes. We couldn’t then see the rocks we were heading for.

And yet, I’m still pretty happy with my lot. I’ve been very lucky. I have a job I love which has continued to pay me as normal throughout lockdown. Few I know can say the same. I have good friends who have kept in touch and checked in on me. I have to acknowledge I’ve not always been as good at that as I attempted to batten down the hatches. And besides being confined to my own home for the most part, I really don’t have much to complain about at all. I’ve not ever really suffered because of lockdown. I’ve lost no-one. I’ve never gone hungry. I’ve slept in a beautifully comfortable bed. There’s a future beyond this. And my Gran’s advice has always rung loudly in my ears. Contenting myself was the only option available. All of this and still being in contact with my brothers makes me feel I’ve gotten off lightly.

Being in lockdown is still the most surreal thing I have ever experienced though. But definitely far from the worst. Losing my Mum by increments makes this seem like a minor inconvenience. Because of her I’m trying to stay positive and recognising how lucky I am has become my new mantra. Although the official mantra of this blog has definitely always been “There is always tomorrow”. This also remains true. Lockdown will end and life will somehow eventually start to resemble the sort of normality we took for granted. But at that point, I genuinely wish that lockdown will have changed me enough for the better. I constantly look forward to seeing the people I care about. I look forward to going to them, hugging and kissing them and admitting how much I missed them. Something a parochial Scot doesn’t offer easily. FFS! I look forward to seeing the flimsiest of acquaintances and hearing every little detail about how their week has been. And appreciating all of it with real gratitude. Lockdown has actually allowed me to go to other, better places, within myself and I’ve hopefully moved forward because of it. I hope I’m not so shortsighted as to forget all of that at the very first scent of real freedom when it comes . Enough for today though. We will get our lives back. It will take time, patience and money no doubt. But we still shall. Stay safe and be well.