“Sometimes the appropriate response to reality is to go insane.” – Philip K. Dick

Comic by Natalie Dee

I had a killer of a match with technology today. Technology: 5 – Colleen: 0. To be fair all five of Technology’s points came from own goals (I got the illumination wrong for a video; ran out of power mid-meeting; broke Liam’s camera tripod and then ran out of data on both my phone and tablet)

But it is the rematch tomorrow and I plan to win on goal difference.

Still, by the time the daylight faded, it became obvious I’d have to wait for better light in the morning to film my presidential address to my parents (sans sign language interpreter, because only Liam is able to do that, but he is not really camera-ready: Having avoided the holiday barber visit, he looks like a sort of New Romantic Wolverine, with his foppish hair and ginger beard. He says he prefers to see himself as brave Mr Tumnus, the Narnian faun, but still he’d need to shave to be my presidential sidekick) My anxiety levels rocketed, following my frustration, as did my asthmatic cough, and I felt my heart racing. I had to force myself to breathe deeply and lighten up, but I realized just how much angst we are all living with, during lockdown, and how easily that can spill over.

I gave birth to five children! I don’t generally scare easily, but I have to admit that lately, when even inconsequential things pile up, I start to feel really fretful.

I have heard from folk living on their own that they have experienced panic attacks, during this time, even though they are not usually the nervy type. I can believe it.

This virus may be an invisible threat, but so is stress and we should recognize that our cortisol levels are probably heightened at the moment. And we can’t fight (except with our family and that’s all rather blah now) and flight is not possible because we are stuck in lockdown. I read an article today about how people are recording raised levels of insomnia too right now.

So we all need to calm the farm, but I find myself worrying about so much all at once: how my four children who don’t live with us are doing; how my sister is coping on her own in her apartment; when and how we’ll return to school; how much or how little to involve parents in our remote learning; which parts of the curriculum to cull; planning for 2021; how to get through the scores of emails in my inbox; whether we’ve flattened the curve; what Bra Cyril will say tomorrow. Then my thoughts deteriorate into a panic about where the hell the ‘nasty hobbitses’ hid the chocolate; whether my tea bags will last if the lockdown is extended; whether The Maestro will notice that I illicitly washed his Bayern Munich top with all the other clothes; how many bananas Liam can consume in a day without popping; and oh hell did we put out the bin today, and other such weighty matters.

I need to take my own advice: exercise more (sigh); reach out to others; sleep more; be kind to myself. My aunt has always told us not to borrow tomorrow’s troubles, so I’m off to get that exercise going downstairs to hunt for the chocolate to eat before I go to bed for a good kip.

As that great philosopher Scarlett O’Hara said, ‘Tomorrow is another day.’

And I have blood pressure pills.

A Room with a View

Window dressing ideas for every style and budget | loveproperty.com

The dusk light is fading and I’ve put on my bedroom light in order to see to type. He comes in to hug me (well actually to nick my adaptor plug to charge his phone while he records a piano lesson) until he sees the street beyond in the gathering gloom below.

‘Close the curtains; everyone can see!’ yelps my husband, ‘We’re floodlit up here!’ This of course is rich coming from the exhibitionist who changes in clear view of passersby normally. (‘No one has complained yet,’ he declares every morning when I chide him for his flasher ways).

Of course the only passing traffic now consists of a rare police car or metro police, patrolling to ensure all citizens are home and adhering to lockdown, single roof light floating silently by like the whisper of a ghost . It is eerily quiet for a street that has at times been a racetrack for unsilenced motorbikes in the early hours, joggers, skateboarding youngsters and dog-walkers conducting the orchestra of protests from jailed canines at all hours, not to mention wandering Ubers, delivery vehicles and vibrating, wannabe-gangsta vehicles. Now the streets are empty. Quiet. Too still.

What I can see is the cute artwork of Mia, the littlun across the road who drew brightly coloured rainbows to festoon their wall – a sign of hope in these uncertain times. It rained today though so they droop melancholically damp on the wall and I hope… I hope she will draw again.

I hope her child’s eye foretells a joy I don’t feel when I see the statistics rising and fear for my staff who live so close to one another in overcrowded shanty towns around Cape Town.

It rained today (probably because I washed the windows last week because the achiever in me must!). I step out onto the balcony and breathe in the damp cool night air. I can hear the sea roar far away. A while back we argued about that sound, Andrew saying it was traffic. Now I know it’s the sea – so near and yet too far…

A siren breaks the stillness, screeching rudely, endlessly in the silence. Ambulance? Lockdown violator?

I hope Mia will paint the sea tomorrow.