Saturday, May 02, 2020

Venturing forth

Yesterday I left the house. Ordinarily, that wouldn’t be worth mentioning, but now, under Covid-19 Lockdown Alert Level 3, we can go and collect stuff from stores, so for the first time in some five weeks, I had a reason to go out.

This past Tuesday, I mentioned placing online orders, and while the one from the supermarket arrived a little early, there was no word on the other one. They sent me an email Thursday evening, after I’d already shut down my laptop for the night.

When I saw the email the next morning, I followed the link to set up a collection time and chose between 2 and 2.30pm the same day, yesterday. I will admit that I had a little trouble working out where to go, and for a brief time I contemplated giving up, going home and re-scheduling, but I stopped, breathed, thought more carefully and rationally, and went back and put my car in the queue.

As it turned out, there’s a shift change at 2pm, and it took awhile for them to resume bringing orders out the waiting cars. Still, it was only a half hour, and I figured my car could use a little more running time, anyway, since I’d only started it a couple times since lockdown began. In fact, when I left the house to go get the order, I noticed there were cobwebs all around my car’s driver side tire; they were probably on the other wheels, too.

One of the main things I’d ordered was stones to complete the project out front that I’d started last weekend. The left side of the photo up above shows the spot I’d stopped (the base course is also visible), and the right side shows it after I was done. I ordered four bags of stones, and at first thought I’d only need two: I used all four. Despite all that, I’m still only just finished with the project.

Next, I’ll wait for it all to settle a bit and then I’ll top it all off using the next size up of river stones to add some texture and visual interest. It’s supposed to rain in the next couple days, and that’ll help the stones settle, so maybe next weekend I’ll put out the final stones. I have two bags of those stones. Will I need them all? This story will need another update when the dust—well, the stones—all settle.

Today, my brother-in-law and my sister-in-law picked up some takeaway coffee and brought me one. We stood outside—them near the bottom of the drive, me at the top—and visited a bit (and they could see the stones in person, which is always different than photos). Having no interaction with other human beings is the worst thing about being under lockdown while living alone, so I appreciated the chance to have an appropriately physically distanced visit with family.

Speaking of which, under Alert Level 3, we can now form an "expanded bubble" as long as we keep it small, so my "cousin-in-law" and I are forming an expanded bubble so we can hang out. Because we both live alone, the rules permit us to make this expanded bubble, but I have to admit: It'll be kinda weird spending actual time with another person, let alone someone in the family, when it's been nearly six weeks since I last did that! It also kind of feels naughty.

Actually, it felt weird just to be driving yesterday after all that time at home. As it happens, the very last place I drove to before lockdown was that same home centre, but that day there was a long queue waiting to get into the store, so I didn’t stop.

Alert Level 2, which will hopefully begin within a couple weeks, will ease things even more, and we should be able to get together for family again (rules for Level 2 haven't been announced yet). I probably still won’t be allowed to see my mother in law, but I won’t worry about that now, before the rules are announced.

I know that this lockdown has been hard on everyone, but I really do think it’s been particularly difficult for those of us living alone. It’s good to get the chance to have some human interaction, however limited and proscribed it may be.

It’s also good to (nearly) finish projects.

"Oh what a tangled web we cleave when at first we start to drive again". Or, something like that.

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