- Posted by Stefan
- On 12. April 2021
UNUSUAL DELIGHTS OF SELF-ISOLATION
Now into the fifth week (or is it the sixth, seventh? I’ve lost track) of isolation, where one day is remarkably like the next. Initially, a void of wonderful nothingness, a vacuum of nihility but now filled with activities we never knew existed or accomplishments that we wouldn’t have believed possible.
My inhouse promotion to Barber came unexpectedly last week. Mr. E. is living proof, with a head of few hairs shorn to even less. The tools for the trade appeared as if by magic from the back of an unused cupboard, dusted down and laid out as though in a Pagan ritual. But my client came willingly, albeit with some trepidation. ‚You will mind my ears, won’t you‘ – no guarantee there; ‚don’t take too much off the front‘ – is that possible; ‚ouch!‘ – not uttered once, so consider job well done. A clean cut, almost Hipster hairstyle took years off his age but we’re not going to grow the beard to match. We don’t actually don’t know what a Hipster is so no fear of that, come to think of it. Much gazing in the mirror and pulling on remaining hair followed before the final harrumph was taken to mean it would do for the time being. No tip for the worker, though. I think it wise not to go into business.
Some may recall the ambition of resident student son to build a hen coop. Thankfully, this was abandoned in favour of Project Bird House. Plans are drawn up in a late-night tête-à-tête with would-be carpenters off at sunrise to queue up at the local Bauhaus. Even being 30th in line did not deter their enthusiasm. They return with wood, new electric saw, new electric screwdriver, clamps, screws, varnish and a bill that would have enabled the purchase of at least two if not three decent Bauhaus style bird houses. Their determination is exemplary although student son becomes noticeably more absent as project proceeds and Meister Schreiner has to take over. Resulting bird house now stands proud in front of kitchen window, a masterpiece of structural engineering, even having a detachable roof, no less, in order to remove unwanted food morsels left by many happy visiting birds. Of which there are none to date. We assume they disapprove of the varnish used and wait in hope.
In spite of the triumphs, though, rejections have also come in equal measures. Embarking on the world of online Bridge and making up a foursome with the ever enthusiastic BWC Bridge ladies, with registration complete and stage names chosen, Willow96, Jackpat, MarySJ and Auruthie enter the virtual play arena. Sadly, though, and within seconds, I turn into a robot and am cruelly ousted from the game with not a bat of an eyelid from anyone. The Evans Wi-Fi has chosen just this moment to have a low (the dreaded whirring blue circle) rendering mouse clicks on the playing cards impossible. A terrible blow to a Bridge addict sensing the ultimate isolation kick is within grasp. Not to be defeated by a circle the size of a gnat, I find a solution; connect computer to an ethernet lan cable and all should be well. Bridge is now firmly on the calendar several times a week and, short of the computer crashing mid-game, long may the addiction continue.
Next on the schedule of achievements never thought possible is online Pilates, expertly led by our very own, and very patient, Catherine. Here again, a first attempt to join is thwarted by technical problems akin to launching a rocket. Too long and wearisome to explain in detail, it is, in a nutshell, all down to Mr E.’s little Devolo hidden somewhere deep in his study and above the bedroom where I think it best to exercise. If in doubt, blame the man and his Devolo. My tablet and his Devolo have yet to become acquainted and, were they on Tinder, it’s a definite swipe left judging by the difficulty experienced in coupling up. Password in capitals, password in lower case, trialling WPS (whatever that might be), resetting the Devolo. Nothing works. And this under duress of the lesson about to begin, plus Mr. E. being summoned in haste (Mr. E. does nothing in haste) from his multitudinous gardening activities at the far end of the estate. An hour later, lesson over, but success achieved, after trying a million alternatives, by a mere press of the tiniest of buttons on the Devolo. Ah well, all’s well that ends well. Connection complete and many lessons since much enjoyed. Grateful thanks to Catherine on behalf of all regular Pilatees. Amazing how such minimalist movements can create a mass of aching muscles the following day.
Another isolation battle is online purchasing. Not my idea of fun and rarely done as it’s so frustratingly maddening. But needs must these days and so begins the fight to dispatch a box of chocolates from A to B. Preferred website, used once in the past and classed as usable, is unable to process orders until after Easter (too late); second choice has an abundance of goods and happy to supply. Just come along to Chocolate Paradise and see how difficult we can make your morning pan out (should be the headline on the website).
We begin and I am asked: Choose delivery country. I choose. I click ‚Shop Now‘. I am asked: choose delivery country (what, again?). I oblige. Most Popular Products selection appears, I feel I’m on to a winner here. I spy Large Signature Assortment to fit bill. Click ‚Buy Now‘ but purchase does not ‚go to trolley‘. Instead, choose delivery country. No! But I oblige. Again. Website then refreshes itself – why? – and introduces a new section, ‚Trending‘. Much scrolling but Large Signature Assortment relocated. I ‚Buy Now‘ again but confusion sets in, where is planned purchase? No sign of trolley. Webpage refreshes itself again and asks whether I’d like to order more goods. Hold on, I haven’t even bought ‚one‘ goods, let alone wanting more. Where is my first box? Or second one, for that matter. Or maybe I even have a third…?
I start again, scrolling now through a multitude of chocolate Easter bunnies not seen previously until chosen box is found again. But wait, chosen box has increased in price! Of all the cheek! I expect at this point that frustration hits a high and unsuspecting victim, obviously being so harassed, becomes click-happy (or unhappy), now desperate to just order anything. Ha, fortunately not this victim. I keep my cool, delete the browser chronic and decide to start this fun game all over again, even if it might take all day. A (mere) whole morning spent (wasted) before chosen box is pinned firmly down in trolley but at least I pay the original price! How chocs got to trolley is still unknown, so no using that website again.
Subsequent delivery does not arrive on time and I am told by prospective, parental recipients to investigate. Not asked, you note. Told. Ha, you were foolish enough to ordered them online, you go find out where they are. I listen, in dutiful father-daughter mode, whilst being remanded and told how, next time, to let recipient father know of said intentions and he would purchase Large Signature Assortment (or similar) for me. No need for all ‚this online stuff‘.