Home from Jersey

So nice to be back at home. The bed is smaller but I know it well. It stewards my dreams. It’s a safe launch point. There’s no woodburner, but I’ve got control over the heating. I have cranked it up to 20 and left it there which is likely madness considering the price of fuel these days. But right now, having just come from delightful gainful employment, I would rather be poor than cold, so I’m cranking it up.

I’m glad and surprised we made it through the Jersey run of Carol without everything exploding around Covid. The ferry was a messy and crowded experience with air conditioning. And now I’m back in London and there’s a sense that this place is a nightmare. I’m gonna be home a day or so and then maybe go to Brighton for New Year’s, or maybe just go somewhere else. But I’ve ordered a PCR test to come to my flat because one of the guys I was working with has lateral flow tested positive. So far, mine have only had the single line. Hopefully that won’t change…

What a world we live in suddenly. People think nothing of sticking a swab up their nose daily. When I did Wind in the Willows the swab was so thin I thought it was designed to go through the little hole at the end of my inner nostril at my sinuses. “These tests go so deep it’s weird!” I commented to a friend. “Yeah, it’s horrible,” they replied referencing the tiny tiny distance to the little hole that leads to… Who knows.

I sat very still every morning in my car and I inevitably and diligently pushed that swab through the membraneous resistance, so I could swab whatever is through that hole. I brainswabbed myself every day for a month. It was even more uncomfortable on the way out. As it came out I would have to say “uuuuuurrrrrrr” and I’d feel the edges of the swab pulling at the little hole that leads into my sinus. I assumed it was the way it had to be, as I’d heard people bitterly complaining about how unpleasant swabbing was. I just got on with it. But now the memory of doing it puts my teeth on edge. It’s still unpleasant, swabbing. And fuck me this is the new source of plastic waste for the modern world. This pandemic has made things so much worse. All the packaging… And the wooden stirrers at the Costa machines, which are almost certainly made of wood because of some sort of a conversation about the environment… They are individually wrapped in a sort of plastic paper. For some idea of safety. Twaddle.

But these new tests… Yeah they are fatter at the end and clearly not designed to go that far into my head. Now I just have to make myself mildly uncomfortable. What a joy. But that’s the weirdness. It used to be we tried to avoid putting things up our noses unless we worked in the city. Now we do it daily.

I’m not gonna be going anywhere or working anywhere for a day or so. I’ll just chill out here and read and tidy and stick things up my schnozz and do the things I’ve needed to do and haven’t.

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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