I’m in the attic room, as the evening turns to night. It’s 8pm and bed is already calling. We were going to go to The Ashmolean or take in some sort of culture, but it’s the first week of the school holidays and I’m not in the headspace for crowds. I went and said hello to an old friend instead. On and off I’ve known her since I was 8. But we don’t see one another so often. Sitting together outside The Fishes we realised that nobody really does see one another nowadays. We all know what we are all doing because the social meejah tells us all about it. But it’s rarer and rarer to be in the same space with each other.
She’s a nurse. She’s been on the Covid wards. Unsurprisingly she’s thinking of shifting to research, and who can blame her? 9 patients per nurse now, so 2 nurses on a ward with 18 patients. It’s impossible for her to properly do the job she trained for. Everything is cut back, and it’s all very well to call them angels but we all know that decent pay is a motivator, and that seems to be like getting blood from a stone. It’s a tired and disillusioned workforce trying to stop us from dying.
We went for a walk through the meadows near hers in Oxford. Lots of empty space and the occasional tent springing up. “No camping” say the signs, so it’s obviously started to be noticed. Nothing like the canals and parks in LA, but there are a few people settling for the moment in these meadows. Better than sleeping in a doorway.
She has a delightful huge dalmatian. Dogs are too much for my lifestyle – I can’t manage Mao without Lou. But the physical nature of the dog, flolloping and bounding, it reminds me of all the things we are starved of. We need to be able to run around outside together and to paw each other and try to lick each other’s faces. But without ending up on her ward.
I went home, played some games, strolled in the early evening. Now I’m here, with my skylight and my comfy bed, between Oxford and the meadow, looking out.
It’s been a lovely day off. I feel rested, and I reckon I’ll be asleep in an hour. Twelve shows next week, but at least we get to connect with the audience one on one in an outdoor space and take them on a journey.