Thank you for all the good wishes

Beautifully illustrated by Kristin Oberholster from Sunshinegun

“How old are you turning, Mommy?”

“44.”

“44! That’s halfway to… death.”

From the mouths of babes. Or, in my case, a 14-year-old precocious teen.

My birthday came and went as birthdays do, and I expected it to pass with little fanfare due to the whole Covid-19 lockdown and the ever-increasing amount of candles. At this point, my cake would collapse under their combines weight.

But, thanks to social media and its handy little birthday alerts, I was inundated with wonderful messages and telephone calls. It was like that first experience of good champagne when it tickles your nostrils and you know that little fizzy bubbles are about to make you happy.

Even more surprising was the baked chocolate cheesecake my children cooked up in the middle of the night. At 2am. If that isn’t love, I don’t know what is.

The best gift of all was this little illustration done by the talented Kristin Oberholster at Sunshinegun. I laughed so hard it took me a while to really appreciate each nuance of my character she managed to capture. From the asshole cat that my husband loves more than me, to my indecent obsession with alien conspiracy theories fueled by deciliters of tea. Oh, and the hat. Can’t forget the hat.

Despite all the trials and tribulations that this horrible virus has wrought, this small display of love and friendship has meant all the world to me. It reminded me that small gestures, like small pebbles, can make big waves.

The Pandemic and the Pangolin

“Mummy, how did the world end?”

“Well darling. Some idiot ate a pangolin.”

Why on God’s green earth would you want to eat an animal as inedible looking as a pangolin? Is there even meat on a pangolin? Enough for a meal?

In short, some covidiot went to lunch and set off a pandemic that has wrecked the world. Well, that’s what they say. When the conspiracy theories sound far more credible than the actual story I’m tempted to go with the official story. Who on earth would make up a tale so bizarre?

What it has brought into stark reality for me (like the world in the morning when I put on glasses and see my sleep-mussed face in the mirror – horrifying clarity) – is just how little actual life skills I possess. Basically, I’m a bit of a dud in a global crisis. I’m not even a good gardener. I suppose I could write the spin? Not very helpful.

Now that my job has been torpedoed by a single-celled organism, I find myself having to look at my old world with new eyes. It’s at turns exhilarating and abjectly terrifying. I’m still in the free fall hoping to land on a bed of feathers but concerned that it may actually be very sharp rocks.

I can’t really tell because I’m too scared to put on my glasses and a blurry world seems less intimidating than the cold hard truth.

If only I knew who that pangolin-eating mofo was, I’d steal the TARDIS, go back a few months and sic a Dalek on him. (That’s a Doctor Who reference. My daughter kindly suggested that I add this note for those who don’t know the Doctor. So sad.)

It befuddles my brain that the world (and my world) has been brought to its knees by a takeaway lunch.