I’m sad, despite having a very affectionate fluff dispenser. It comes in waves, doesn’t it? As we endlessly wait for nothing to happen it’s easy to start to hear the inside of our head screaming at us that something is wrong. Because something is wrong.
From the earliest times, we have gathered together in groups. We have shared the invisible comforts of touch and breath. Mao will frequently come up to me and put his catface in my face. I will feel his little huffy breaths on my stubble, he will filter my big sighs through his whiskers. It’s an instinctive connection thing for him, breathing on his friend. He does it without thought and it’s a moment of connection on a different level from the more obvious dynamic of “You stroke me and I purr”. Because it’s important. We need to be close to others, to share their germs as well as their pheromones. Midwives know this and advocate skin to skin contact as soon as possible. The more we retreat from each other, the less we share, the weaker we become. We need to be in touch. To touch. To be close to each other.
How can it have been a year and more? This hiatus. A pause on life. I’m like a teenager again. I had a Sunday lie in until noon and then I stroked a cat, cooked a steak and fannied about. At one point I moved the pheasant that is still hanging on the fire escape. I was momentarily worried when I opened the door because the sun looked bright until I realised it was basically sub-zero out there. Still, it’s in a shadier spot. Despite Tristan’s reservations, I think I’m going to get away with hanging the thing outside if the weather stays unseasonably cold like this. I hope so, as I’ll be going to all the bother of plucking the poor thing and if it’s no good when I’m done it’ll be a huge load of bother and mess for no reward but the learning and the feathers.
I want very much to be surrounded by people again. I want to be in a rehearsal room or on a set where you always end up so close to each other – even if you’ve just met. The beginning of summer is coming at the end of this natural pheasant-hanging week of cold. Normally there’d be a superabundance of parties and fun and humans and laughter. Nope. Just us in whatever home environment we’ve cooked up for ourselves. I like my home very much thankfully. And there’s still loads to do in here. I’m comfortable and happy and warm here, and it’s mine, unlike Hampstead with the six months notice and the acrimony and the huge amounts of rent spent over decades heading towards a dead stop.
There are some things that will change for the better, and some for the worse. We’ve already become so conditioned to distance – to the policing of touch. I wonder when we’ll be able to put a hand on a stranger’s shoulder to gently let them know we’re behind them with a full pint. Sure we will be able to have meetings without leaving the house. But the less we move the smaller our frame becomes, the narrower and bitterer and less kind we get. Travel broadens the mind. Community blunts the ego. We have to go places and see things or we turn into little selfish piggies who think we are oh so very clever. I don’t want any more piggies. This place was full of them before Covexit. It’s getting unmanageable…