Before, that is before the World went Pandemic crazy, we all had connections. Work colleagues we would see every day, those we would have coffee with or sit and eat our lunch with. If not at work we had those people we knew that we would see in the Supermarket, the friendly till operator, or the woman who kept the vegetable shelves stacked. Whoever we were connected to, these connections have been severed or at the least changed.
My husband now sees his work colleagues on a screen in the home office. (That’s the spare room where the rubbish is dumped. It used to get binned but now I don’t have a chance to get in there to clear it out)
Things are changing, I wouldn’t say they are getting back to normal. In the last year and a half, the people I spent time with have all changed. They have each dealt with and had different experiences of the Pandemic. Isolation for some has been an eye opener or a time of despair. Me, I’ve changed, I’ve grown, I’ve found a new side of me, and I really like it.
We need to reconnect, I’ve started and it has been a good few days. I don’t mean getting back to the same routine, I mean taking this unprecedented experience and learning from it. Learning who meant so much to you that you contacted them daily, those that slipped out of sight only to reappear because it suits them. Then of course there are those who suffered with the isolation, that need to be reminded that they are missed.
I have four good friends, I wouldn’t say that I am their best friend, but they are all pretty special to me. This last couple of weeks has been about catching up, not by phone or messenger, but in person. Face to face, holding hands type of catching up. I’ve sung in the rain, shocked the life out a waitress because I told one friend to kill his girlfriend. Just kidding obviously. Had to explain to a lady that I was married ‘TO A MAN’ as she delightedly told me I was her ‘type of gal’. It has been a good time.
It wasn’t easy, getting out of the door, bypassing my agoraphobia which has plagued me since I was a child. I’ve been out, I worked through the Pandemic, but I hadn’t socialised. I’ve been to the gym, swimming, to bungee fitness. It’s a thing trust me. This was different.
It’s been an important development in my fresh start. You see I’m going back to college, not a distance learning course, a proper classroom-based Diploma. I’m going back to the choir, no more singing in my head to a screen as the music teacher plays to her camera not knowing if anyone is actually singing or watching Coronation Street.
If reconnecting is scary just remember that your friends may need a bit of encouragement as well. Not everyone has been standing by the front door for the last 12 months with their rave hat on waiting for the green light. A lot of us have been isolated in mind body and soul.
I started with the best person I knew, the one person who never judges me and just accepts that I’m a bit of a nutter. I booked a hotel that I’ve never been to, an afternoon tea, it was lush. We laughed and we told each other all the rubbish things we had been through, the drunk driver that totalled mine and my husband’s car in one pass. Her worry about the flat in Icmeler as the forest fires spread. We put the World to rights, I talked about David and she talked about work. We enjoyed good food and we spent three hours laughing, and being idiots. I thought it would make me feel better, but it didn’t.
I had been given a sweetie and then it was taken away. I wanted to be with everyone I knew, I realised just how much I had missed my friends. Physically hugging, the collapsing into each other as we laughed. It was the perfect afternoon.
I resolved to see everybody I could, this was going to be an expensive adventure. An adventure that would help with the repair of my mental health.
Roger, what can I say about Roger, the one person that I would run to when things get beyond tough. My confidante, my pain in the ar…. Seriously if there was ever a person that could be everything to one person it has to be him. Hell, even my husband gets on with him. We have had him and Nat over for dinner and we have been to theirs but that just isn’t the same as walking around the town being carefree and sitting and sharing a meal whilst talking psychology, murder (that’s where the killing the girlfriend came in, he’s writing a book) and food, after being dragged around the second-hand shops looking for books.
Roger thinks I should write my biography, but quite honestly no one would believe it.
My favourite connection of all is Vicky. She has become the best friend anyone could have. I will not describe her nor put her into a box. She is so far out of the box that I don’t think a box has ever been designs that would container her.
We went out on the wettest of days, we walked in the woods, hoods down and got soaking wet whilst singing, “It’s a Wonderful World” Yes it was sung in a Lois Armstrong voice. We had cheese on toast which for two women on a diet is a delight, and we finished the meal off with a blueberry and cream sponge cake. We talked about how we felt and what we wanted to do, we keep each other on our toes. We reconnected with friendship, it wasn’t about shopping, nor work nor who would look after whose pet, it was about us and it was a brilliant day.
I’ve reconnected with my family and I’m off next week to see my brother. Life is changing, and I’m changing with it.
I haven’t forgotten my husband, we have spent 18 months trying to get along in this house whilst he worked upstairs and I felt compelled to silently sit downstairs as he worked and had zoom meetings. We have had our rows and I have threatened to leave him more than once. He has been down to see the boys and I have been away with our daughter, but we haven’t started this new chapter yet, we are still in Pandemic mode. Something that is going to change.
David has been out with friends, he went Clay Pigeon shooting last week and he has had a chance to go to the War museum with our daughter and he has been to the Archery club. He has been in work a day a week for a month now and next week they will be in for three days. However, we haven’t had time to do “us”.
Today we are going to have an afternoon out, a pub lunch and time for us. The last time we tried I booked a canal cruise with a meal. It wasn’t a disaster but the night before our cars were written off in the drunk driving incident and the day didn’t quite go as I had planned.
Today we start a fresh new chapter in our lives. He will be retiring soon and has new projects he is itching to start. I’m going to train to be a Counsellor and we are going to have the whole afternoon to sit and enjoy good food, good company and good conversation. It’s time we reconnected.