Tis’ the season to be lonely

Tra la la la la, la la, la la .  Actually turned out to be a good day.

I didn't want to go!  In addition to the extreme heightening of the traditional, seasonal loneliness, the most severe symptom of Covid 19 Social Isolationism is the widespread reluctance to leave the safety of our nest.  It is prevalent amongst the over thirties.  Not so much agrophobia as an inability to know how to handle being outside after such a long period of internment.  Not unlike the reluctance of long term convicted criminals fearing leaving the prison system.

On Xmas Eve / Xmas Day, I didn't put my head down until 4:00 am.  I could not relax.   I kept myself busy procrastinating, researching and experimenting with the CAD drawing problems.  I had already tried to back out of going to Newstead for Xmas dinner and seeing 'the other' grand children, my son's children.  I was bludgeoned into going, "I have just bought the roast!  You better be here."  How could I refuse such an impassioned plea.  I woke at 6:10 and worried about going back to sleep, fearful of my subconscious letting me sleep until after midday.  A common enough occurrence.  I woke again just before the morning drug's bell.  Dragged myself off the couch, took my doses, stripped and headed to the shower.  CLEAN, TWO DAYS IN A ROW!!!!!  AND FRESH CLOTHES!!!!

Even as I drove through Melbourne's outskirts, approaching the start of the main route to Central Victoria, I mused upon the idea of reporting car problems and returning to the safety of my shoe box.  What was stronger?  Was it the fear of being seen as a weak failure or the certain acknowledgement that I am a weak failure?  My vacillation and procrastination  saw me out of the city, past the airport and passing the last McDonald's until Bendigo.   Today finally saw the end of a much loved, 5 year tradition of breakfast at Caulder Maccas, on the road to Bendigo.  You will have to take my word for it.  That was a biggy!!

Thanks to the much denied climate change, the morning air was unseasonably chilly, even for me.  Up? Down? Up? Down?   That was a decision too far for me to make.  I just left the roof up.  I spent the next 90 minutes in that all too common state of  driver's reverie.  The 'tunnel vision, 90 yard stare', the state of 'automatic driving', the "How did I get here?" condition.  I pass the time fruitlessly revisiting the past, distant and recent, futilely reliving and rehashing conversations and events.  I don't remember the last time I 'lived in the present'.

My arrival at Newstead was an out-of-body experience.  My mind was miles away, in another time, with another family.  I cannot remember any similar experience, sober.  Was it odd?  Too bloody right it was odd!!  I had no idea what I was supposed to do.  The offer of coffee provided an anchor and focus point.  A little after my arrival we got a Face time from the girls in Sydney.  They were going to 'The Club' for Xmas lunch.  Something Grandma and Grandpa were supposed to be sharing.  Bloody Northern Shores Covid outbreak.  We had a lovely few minutes being shown a few Xmas presents and 'going out' clothes.

The other grandchildren live in Castlemaine now.  15 minutes away.  My son brought them for a 'pre-lunch' visit and we had a happy 45 minutes discussing the new home, school, transport and ideas for 3D printed gifts.  The highlight was the giving and receiving of long missed hugs.  After dropping the kids back at their mother's, Daniel returned and had lunch with us.  Roast 'Corned beef' (don't ask) and a wonderful mix of roast veggies.  Yummmmm.  My body needed that after a diet of porridge, muesli and tv dinners.  Daniel left and Laurel and I did the 'sit and chat' thing for a while.  At 3:00 I announced my departure.  I was going to take a chance and visit the parents of the ex.  They live in Bendigo, 35 minutes away and I had not seen them in over a year.  They are my adopted parents and I miss them terribly.

35 minutes of doubt later I crept up the gravel driveway.  The carport area had two other cars in it.  Oh shit!! Visitors.  This is so fucked up but I'll look even more stupid if I just turn around and drive out.  I was greeted by a surprised mother.  I got the hug I so badly needed.  The visitors were NDIS carers there to bathe Andrea.  Her screams ripped the air from the bathroom.  I have missed that lady.  It was good to be back.  Once the torture was finished and the inquisitors had been dismissed with a wave of Andrea's hand, peace descended.  Father completed the required afternoon tablet ritual and Andrea once again ruled supreme over her kingdom.  She is contrary and demanding and makes me smile.  It was a joy to sit and catch up.  I caught up with Andrea's latest medical condition and I extracted a promise that I would be kept informed of future developments.

The visit was topped off by the best Xmas present.  EVER!!  The last remaining bottle of Moccona Exotic coffee in captivity.  Kath always kept some in Bendigo for me and this bottle had been sitting in the cabinet for over two years waiting for my return.  Given that my visits would be most likely few and far between I was presented with the bottle as a parting gift.  Words fail me.  This will be as precious to me as the bottle of Welsh Toffoc that I recently finished.  I reluctantly forced myself to leave their home after a far too short hour.  I knew that if I stayed longer they would "have to" provide dinner and they do too much as it is.  I was not going to be the cause of extra work.

As I drove the quiet country road back to the highway, I acknowledged that I was happy.  It had been a good day and I was glad that I hadn't been able to come up with a suitable excuse that morning.

3 Comments

  1. Foxy Kerry30/12/2020

    So pleased to read this update! 👍🏻
    Tones you got your instant coffee that you have been hunting for…..it was a true Xmas miracle……and I am sad to hear your Toffoc is no more……when we come to Australia again I promise we shall bring you more…….✈️Once COVId does one and we feel safe flying again and the officials will let us back in of course! 😜

    Reply
  2. Kerry30/12/2020

    A very good facsimile of Christmas cheer.

    Reply
  3. Laurel+Freeland30/12/2020

    Mmm, glad you came to visit.

    Reply

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