Wednesday, April 07, 2021

The shape of the day

Dave says all kinds of things that brighten my day. Take what he said this morning as I was eating my breakfast: 'What's happened to Vim? It used to be a demi-god of kitchen cleansers. Has it fallen from its pedestal?'

He has, however, a recurrent question, and it gets on my nerves: 'What are you going to do now?' 

Under pandemic circs we spend nearly all of every day together, or at least we're at home at the same time, unless one of us is out on our bike. We get on very well, and I feel lucky to be sharing living space in lockdown with Dave. 

Even so, there are times I yearn to be left alone and to not have to account for my every minute to someone else. This irritation obviously shows, because yesterday when Dave popped the question I sighed, and he responded 'Sometimes I feel as though I am something you're trying to get off your shoe.'

Hepworths have always said first thing after breakfast 'What's the shape of the day?' It's a given. And this question was originally framed and employed by Dave. He is a very organised person, and also, it has to be said, his aspergers makes him dislike surprises and sudden changes of plan.

I like spontaneity. (Yes, Dave - as long as it suits me.) These days when I set off on my bike ride Dave wants to know where I am going so he knows where to send the search party when I don't return, as death lurks round every corner.

Me: "When I go out for a walk and I'm longer than you expect me to be, you're always anxious."

Dave: "Only because I've been worrying how far I'm going to have to carry the cadaver back.") 

So I tell him my route, and then when I get to the end of our lane I get a yen to go somewhere else, and I dither - should I go back and tell him I have changed my route? should I just stick to what I told him? or do I think Oh sucks, I'm not going further than a ten mile radius so what's the fuss about?

In lockdown, when most days are the same, the anodyne question 'What are you going to do now?' has become particularly irksome. What are the options? - cycling, walking, painting, reading, gardening, cooking, facetiming a friend, writing the blog, ringing the bank - apart from the first two they are all home based. 

But they are how I am spending my life right now, with the occasional delightful blip such as when friends or family call to sit in the garden with us, to chat, drink coffee and shiver. 

Here's an Annie Dillard quote I thought apposite for this post:

"How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing. A schedule defends from chaos and whim. It is a net for catching days. It is a scaffolding on which a worker can stand and labor with both hands at sections of time. A schedule is a mock-up of reason and order—willed, faked, and so brought into being; it is a peace and a haven set into the wreck of time; it is a lifeboat on which you find yourself, decades later, still living. Each day is the same, so you remember the series afterward as a blurred and powerful pattern."

I wonder how we will remember these days.

We may be largely housebound but we have beautiful views.

Here is the view from the east bedroom window on Easter morning:

And here are two from the front door:

We're lucky. And I don't take it for granted.


Anonymous said...

I think lockdown has delivered irritations where none existed before!

My husband too...'what are you going to do now/later/some other time?' being my particular bugbear.
I too like to make things up as I go along - as do most women I know!

I usually cheerfully and unhelpfully answer 'er, whatever I want.'

We both know that I really mean 'whatever I damn well please' and STOP ASKING...

But he's a pal and we have largely come through the 13 months enforced incarceration together - amazingly well.

Sue Hepworth said...

Thank you for this - it makes me feel so much better.

Anonymous said...

I’m mostly the opposite - my husband has his head in his latest project so much that he just bumbles along assuming that I will too. Last time I commented that he never asks me if I would like a hot drink when he puts the kettle on, his reply was: “you usually don’t, so I don’t ask” Same with going off for his daily exercise,.... off he goes on his own, sometime without telling me he has left the house and the clue sometimes is that the car has gone!!! If I comment, then I get asked randomly ( when I am in the middle of something ) if I would like to go for a walk NOW, I have to either down tools and go, or yet again decline, proving his point.
However, if we have actually planned something together and the timing doesn’t occur as expected or I actually want to do something else, I am aware that he feels put out, out of kilter, and so I do too, and I feel guilty, which can affect the whole atmosphere of the event what ever it is.
The main thing I have realised from this lockdown is that my husband does not do lingering. He does not linger to just keep me company in the kitchen for the last 10 minutes while lunch finalises, he will return to whatever he was doing before, or turn the tv on for just 10 minutes more of something. He does not stay the course with a film he doesnt enjoy even if I am, to keep me company. Hes either in the thing or hes off out of it. Just as well I have found my own obsessions. Jenetta

Sue Hepworth said...

This sounds tough, Jenetta.

On a trivial note.. In terms of watching films, I would rather watch one on my own than with someone who is really not enjoying it, His silent disaffection spoils my enjoyment.