I’m typing this on the edge of my seat; not through suspense, but cos Sefi is nestled into my back. Behind us the ever industrious ML is sorting through a lifetime of photographs, wearing wireless headphones so as no to distract me, though every so often she passes one over: “Look at this!” and I go “Awww”. There is the whirring of a fan because it’s so warm up here in the attic. In April! Light pours through the velux windows. Outside, a lawnmower. Seagulls.
You could convince yourself everything else is make-believe: that the giant hospital being built into the Millennium Stadium “at breakneck speed” up the road, is a film set; the Corona Testing Centre now occupying Cardiff City Stadium, ten minutes in the other direction, is a hoax. After all, I started my day with ML’s homemade bread and a cup of coffee in the garden, nothing more troubling than the bees (which of course, are a blessing), circling Sefi as she rolled her back along the scratchy patio.
But then maybe you didn’t see my supermarket trip earlier this morning. Missed me steering the trolley, after wiping the handle with the disinfectant provided, through the area cordoned off into rows; like going through Customs at the airport except instead of being optimistically decked out in sunhat and glasses, I’m sporting white latex gloves and a spider mask. (No, not Spiderman mask, god knows, I felt ridiculous enough as it is, but a reinforced thing ML uses for DIY).
Once inside, we are supposed to follow the direction of the arrows on the floor, as instructed via a Tannoy. But people get so focused on products, they forget this and the two-metre distance, cut across each other. I worry for the staff: they seem so exposed; there’s barely a whiff of hand sanitiser around and they’re not wearing masks, and only some have gloves. Again, seems it’s low-paid workers putting their lives at risk and their families. For us to keep going. Can that be right?
I do the shopping trying to touch things with only one hand as one of my latex gloves splits within 5 minutes. But when I come out, I go and remove my mask with the ungloved hand, well and truly touching my face in the process. Jesus. Negotiating the manual dexterity required to try and avoid virus transition is quite tricky when you’re dyspraxic. But now I’m back at home and the pandemic seems like a dream again. At least for as many as hours as I can resist checking the news. Parallel reality reigns.