I am acclimatising to my confinement. I only have two meetings in my diary today, and I miss them both. The first is at 8am, but I wake at 8.30am, with a shrug. I neglected to set my alarm last night. Then, I simply forget the 1pm meeting. I take some comfort from this neglect and forgetfulness. I appear to be slowing down a little – filtering out the noise of the non-essential, taking the important at a decent pace, rather than running madly after the urgent. Neither meeting needed me, and I didn’t need them. Instead I am catching up on my agenda, rather than someone else’s. Being proactive rather than reactive – yeah !
After cooking my porridge, my wife decides to go out today from 9.30am to 2pm, visiting her parents. I spend the morning at home all alone. I try to strike up a conversation with the guy delivering gymnastics badges, but he has somewhere else to go.
I don’t think I speak out loud to anyone else, except myself, for 5 hours. When she comes home, I smile, rediscover my voice and offer to take her out for coffee and cake. Its a decent offer.
She laughs, “you must be joking”. Call me sensitive, but I feel that is a little harsh. “Not today darling” might have been kinder. I put on my well-practised, less than subtle hurt and rejected look. She goes on to explain that she would love to but that she is going out again in an hour. Nice recovery. But why is she going out AGAIN ?
She is going out to work apparently. Strange concept that – going out to work. I am forgetting what that is like. She tells me as she leaves that she will be back at 6pm, and “there is no tea”. I make a note.
Now, I really need to go out. My step count is embarrassingly low. I keep forgetting to walk around the house. I do five tours of the upstairs bedrooms, but I am still only in three figures and I need to get to five. So, I plot a circuitous walk to the post-box, through town to the shops and back. The hunter-gatherer in me shall provide tea, plus soup ingredients, for the rest of my week.
As I walk the streets of the town and parade the aisles of Asda, I almost feel like I live here. I don’t see anyone I know – but then I hardly know anyone in England anymore, never mind my home town. However, I am mixing it with the locals. I try to strike up a conversation with the woman on the checkout – she has nowhere else to go – she is a captive audience. She simply smiles, and asks me whether I need help with the packing.
I provide tea – Asda make a decent Chinese microwave selection. My wife looks like she is delighted. Even my son turns up to eat – he has been “out to work” too. She goes out again at 7pm for a couple more hours. I will never again feel guilty for being away from home on a Wednesday. Later we watch another episode of The Crown, and have half a conversation.
I could get used to this. I am definitely more relaxed. My steps may be low, but so is my cortisone level. I am getting things done, calmly and properly. I feel a little guilty that I am not over-worked. But I think I might just get over it.
BEING GROUNDED – The first 2 days
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