Sunday, 17 April 2022

Doing things

 Spring and summer I had the new experience of coping with deep fatigue.  It went away, mostly, and after it did I didn't stop appreciating how much better it is to go around without feeling like dragged and listless and like you need to crumple to the floor. Maybe a post-covid thing, partly; I have had a low key (in the scheme of things) case of long covid to deal with; but certainly also anaemia, and maybe just the foul  climactic effects of La Nina and its gross humidity.  I had an iron infusion in February and started taking the contraceptive pill, and with time I gradually felt better. I haven't used the pill since the early 90s and was apprehensive, but I didn't notice much difference to the system chemistry. I did however forget to take a pill at the regular hour - took it a few hours later - and I began to bleed the same day. Light bleeding, but gosh I feel like a wrung out dishrag again, restless and glum. It's been nastily warm the last few days, which either has not helped or has made it worse. Anyway, while this sucks, I don't expect it to last very long.

Fatigue and disordered sleep, and a break from routine, brings out a restless irritable grumpiness in me. I feel overwhelmed by the urge to be doing something creative and overwhelmed by the prospect of the herculean effort required to narrow down the possibilities to one and get started. I have a kind of accidental break from work going on at the moment, having racked up several days of time in lieu. Between Easter and Anzac Day I'm only going to work two days. So I've had three days off work already. 

Yesterday was difficult, what with annoyances, weariness, and a foolish overestimate of what it's possible for me to actually do in a day; and because it was bad yesterday, today was better. I have a sort of crisis of personal shabbiness unfolding in slow motion - grubby worn-out shoes, run out of mascara and moisturiser, destroyed underwear, stains, sleep attire all got holes in it, not enough pairs of pants etc - so yesterday I went off to Fitzroy to buy some cloth to make new nighties and to buy a pair of shoes. Unfortunately both shops were closed so I went straight back to the tram stop. I sat down and started reading on my phone about how Albo is going to lose the election just like Bill Shorten before him, and I wasn't paying attention and a tram went past, so I got up and walked up Brunswick St and Gertrude St to the tram stop outside the Exhibition Buildings. It was hot and I felt waxy, like a piece of wax, in the sun. A tram came and I got on it. A familiar-looking man across the aisle gave me side-eye, which is really the worst of all the minor public transportation annoyances. I disembarked at Russell St and entered Mountfords the Shoe Specialist, where I walked around for a while hating all of the shoes, trying to remain true to myself and not forget and buy shoes I hated. Then I thought I had better go home empty handed, rather than die here angrily on the slippery and dirty bluestone pavement of Bourke St, so I walked down to Elizabeth St. There were some anti-vaxxers waving flags in the mall, with police cars parked at either end, across the tram tracks. One man carried a teddy bear, as large as himself, which he or some other person had dressed in a blue gingham school uniform. He had the bear sort of half in a headlock, half cuddled to his side and carrying it was making him slump and crazily lurch, at least, he was moving that way, I don't know if that's how he always moves even when not carrying a bear dressed to represent the innocent children of Victoria whose blood must not be polluted with vaccines. At least I think the person was a man. It doesn't matter what he was, not for present purposes; enough to say he was a massive jerk. There was an article in The Conversation the other day about how one of those lifetime cohort studies has determined that anti-vaxxers are that way because they had horrible damaging childhoods.

I've probably written about this before: when I have a stretch of free time ahead of me I often feel kind of cross about the fact that it's not long enough and also, that it's eventually going to end. If I don't feel cross it's often because I've persuaded myself that I'm going to be super-efficient today; I'll measure, cut, sew; I'll plan, sketch, colour; I'll gather the materials and I'll make the thing; I'll do the trial run and do the real one too. The odd thing is that as unreal as I understand this kind of thinking to be, it's more or less how I did use my free time before I became a mother. Back then I always had a room to mess about in, I suppose that helped. 

In Elizabeth St I dragged myself through David Jones, an ordeal nobody should ever have to endure. I bought a new tube of tinted beeswax lip balm to replace one that got ruined in the washing machine. When I moved into this flat I sold my fridge and washing machine as the flat came with those appliances. The washing machine I have here now does not have a cold water input so everything gets boiled. I used to have two tubes, one in a shade called Cherry (warm red) and one called Rhubarb (cool red); Cherry got completely used up in the 2021 lockdown and Rhubarb was almost all gone too before it became hot boiled liquid wax and spread pink stains on Leonard's tile-print bedspread. In the shop the little stand with these tubes in it was three-quarters empty, like the shelves at the pet supplies warehouse, and the only tube they had left which wasn't a glossy pearlised apricot or mauve was the tester tube of Rhubarb, so I picked off the tester label and bought it. I had seen a bottle green beret in the shop window as I came in, and even thought it was 28 degrees and humid, even though climate change means there's really no meaningful use for woolen hats in Australia, even though I was there to buy shoes, I trudged up the escalators to the fourth floor in pursuit of a green woolen beret. As I approached the hat section I saw a delighted woman buying a green beret, which of course turned out to be the last one in the benighted shop. I walked up to a pair of boots standing on a circular plinth and lifted one to look at the price label underneath: $649. A woman dressed in black approached and said, Those are made in Canada and they're rainproof. I said What? and she repeated, louder, They're rainproof and they're made in Canada. 

On emerging from David Jones I felt a new and different kind of retail anger and instead of going to the tram stop I turned and went into Cos. As I went in the door, a woman came out who I used to work with at La Trobe and whose dress sense I had fiercely admired, except for her to my eyes jarring preference for very dark wraparound sunglasses. She was wearing similar sunglasses yesterday and I'm not sure if they were the reason I didn't recognise her straight off, or were they the reason I did recogniser her eventually?

I walked without hope around the shop for a while and then I remembered that the disposals shop across the street sold work boots. So I went over there and tried on work boots for a while eventually buying a pair. I feel moderately ok about this having happened.  I thought I had better go home and I tried to buy a drink in a shop, but the two girls at the checkout could not make it work so I stood there limply while they giggled and whispered to each other in Arabic. Eventually the taller one looked at me and said, I will have to shut it down and start it again and it's going ot take five minutes. So I thought it was okay to leave.

Now comes the part which I am least proud of, and I am zero proud of everything that happened up to this point so do your own research, as they say, less and less often do they say it these days but it's always on the tip of their tongue you just know it. Because I knew all the being in shops and so forth was going to be exactly like it was, I wanted to go shopping on my own and so at least the ignominy, the shame, the horror of it was endurable because unseen. But David was returning from a journey to the south-east in pursuit of pickles and there he was in Elizabeth St with a 3kg tin of them plus some other things; evidently having conducted a successful, non-humiliating shopping expedition. So we got onto a tram and I was cross and said nothing the whole trip.  

Today has been better. I went to Preston for a piano lesson at midday, then I went to Bunnings to get some things to try to cure the two different kinds of sickliness which have come over some of my house plants. On leaving Bunnings I felt so weak and tired that I thought I had better go very slow and gentle for the next part of the day, which was going to the supermarket to but the pantry items I now buy in large quantities every six weeks or so. The supermarket made me tired and at the checkout I decided in future I'll just pay the extra costs and always order this infrequent big shop. I started doing that when recovering from being sick and stopped out of guilt at how pained the delivery guys always look when they've finished hauling my goods up the three flights of stairs to my front door.

I went home, unpacked my shopping (three heavily laden trips upstairs, downward trips conducted carrying things to go into my storage box in the basement) and did a couple of small, frivolous jobs around the house. Then Lenny arrived, always a real mood-booster, and we watched tv and ate dinner. And then I did the thing I'm most proud of; I got a scrapbook and a pencil and a rubber and drew a picture of Lenny while he sat on the couch reading comics on his Kindle. I want to get better at drawing and when I want to get better at doing something, practicing it feels so much better than wanting. I didn't do a good drawing but I will do a few things different next time. It was that twenty minutes drawing which made the day alright. It quietened all the grumpy cross feelings about wasting time and being too scattered to settle down and do things.

I rashly offered to take Lenny to see Sonic the Hedgehog 2 tomorrow - just writing that I feel triggered by remembering the excruciating, interminable boredom of taking him to see Sonic the Hedgehog 1. I hope tomorrow I can have another day of doing things, Sonic notwithstanding. 


David said...

This could be a movie

lucy tartan said...

But a movie of Chanticleer falling in the bath would be nicer