I took a break. You might not have noticed. You probably have enough going on at the moment. And that’s just how I felt. I had enough going on. I needed to do some reading, some thinking, some general slowing down. Then, the slight relaxation of lockdown (funny how these words are just everyday expressions now) was as if someone had run on with a klaxon shouting “DON’T PANIC” to anyone who needed to listen. Suddenly all the things that were in the “planning for when we come back” stage ran hysterically into the “you could do with taking this forward very quickly now” stage.
I am working half from home at the moment, which is working better than I expected. I did think there was a chance that I would spend half the day lying on my bed eating digestives and listening to Woman’s Hour and the rest playing Two Point Hospital on Playstation but that has not happened at all. I would not like you to misjudge my tone here and think that I am disappointed by the way this has turned out.
I know only too well that my home working is only possible because I am either alone here or, if HOH is in the flat (HOH – “apartment”!), he is happy to make himself scarce and spend a morning bidding on records on the Internet that no-one else had heard of and I can get on with my work. I can’t imagine working from home with children around. These people have my utmost admiration.
Like the rest of the world, I am getting quite good at Webinars etc. now. I have developed a few strategies to help though. They are for my use but experience has taught me that a few other people could take these on board as well.
One. If you can turn your camera off then do so. If it’s not a discussion, then no-one needs to see you and all they will do is watch you staring disconsolately at the screen and make silent judgements about your wallpaper and your double chin(s). Also, if the washing machine finishes its cycle, you can put your washing on the maiden while still listening and not upset the speaker who may think you look like you are not paying attention.
Two. If you need to turn your camera on then, it’s probably best to make a bit of an effort. Have a shower, that kind of thing. Also, do your snacking before you start. I have watched a woman eat an entire jam doughnut with all the general messiness that goes with it and found the whole experience quite disconcerting. Certainly distracting enough to take my mind off “delivery strategies during a pandemic”. (Although watching paint dry could do that as well)
Three. I have found it helpful to face the light source in the house rather than have it behind me. If you get this wrong, it can look like your discussion on social distancing on a 9 seater minibus has been crashed by a Dementor – no features – just a terrifying dark outline.
Four. Try and remember not to wave as the meeting finishes. When was the last time you left a physical meeting, backing out of the door, waving and shouting…”Bye”. Once you think about this you can’t forget it and it becomes embarrassing every time you do it.
We have been to see Aged Parent several times now – done a bit of cleaning that kind of thing but tried not to stay too long. We have both been fully masked but she is struggling to get the hang of Social Distancing as many others are, I suspect and we have to keep shooing her away. The whole thing is still very confusing. We managed to have a stand-up row with a member of the caring team who insisted that only one of us should have been in. I wouldn’t have minded but we had rung up before we set off to check on the rules. Said carer then came in while I was changing the bed and apologised profusely because she had got the rules wrong. We were very gracious about it – partly because we are still not 100% sure that we had it right either. It is all very complicated.
This weekend also brought a reminder that we should all be grateful that Aged Parent did not go into the nursing and caring professions. She went to a birthday party in the garden for her friend. Halfway through the party (crucially, before the cake was cut) the lady keeled over and an ambulance was called.
Me……….How is your friend?
AP……….Oh it’s a stroke apparently.
Me………..Oh no! How is she do you know?
AP……….Oh, she’s ok, it’s only a slight stroke. It certainly spoiled the party and that was an expensive cake that no-one got to have a slice of.