Not the way I expected

Looking at Dublin city from a distance

I had a post ready for March but I ended up leaving it in my drafts. It was stories about living in a hotel for 8 weeks this year, as I waded through the process of getting my home repaired. It was filled with petty irritations like only being able to wash clothes if I booked a 2 hour time slot in the laundry room (bizarre, covid-related rules). Against the background of horrific war in Ukraine, this is all very unimportant stuff and it seemed wrong to publish. It’s hard to make sense of the twists of life and I wonder if my ramblings matter. What I write here is already in the past and the last few weeks have been totally different (I’ll post an update soon). Thankfully I’m in good health again now.

I started 2022 sleep-deprived due to the home stuff. My fuel was outrage. I was outraged at poor customer service and simmering with anger, topped up every time I was put on hold. I had to-do lists and complaints procedures to follow. But in the end, I couldn’t keep the energy up. I closed the laptop after work each day and crawled under the duvet on my sofa at 6pm. I thought of all the exercise I should be doing and didn’t do it. It’s hard to describe the Herculean effort required to get my home back into order. Only a handful of people have seen the mess close up and kindly helped me piece things together. I still have a storage unit full of bits of furniture to sort out but that’s for another day. I’m pretty much through it I hope, but the feeling of being emotionally drained remains.

I planned a trip to Dublin to visit my colleagues and meet new people in the team who I’m very keen to get to know better. I had a number of objectives for this trip revolving around face-to-face conversations. One thing I’ve noticed about working remotely is you miss the casual chats, the more spontaneous and personal connection. These bond you together as a team and help you navigate challenges, so it’s really important to find ways to build this into the new world order.

And yet covid is still raging. After two years of masks, sanitising hands, inwardly panicking at anyone crossing my threshold or getting too close, I finally caught the virus after attending a conference. I sat with it for days in a hotel room in Dublin. The irony of going on a trip to spend time with people and yet being unable to do so was maddening.

As expected, covid is unpleasant. It started with a sore throat which I initially put down to being too chatty, blurting out words in a rush of enthusiasm at finally seeing people. It felt like when you wake up after an evening of raising your voice to be heard over music. But I knew to be suspicious. Cases were rising and a sore throat can be the gateway to Omnicron. Which indeed it was.

The sore throat was later accompanied by hot and cold feverish spells, headache, coughing, congestion and tiredness. There was an added element of misery in the isolation, the gnawing concern that you must stay away from others. Since I was away from home, it was harder to make simple comfort food like buttered toast. But there was room service, kind support messages and care packages from colleagues. Not all bad for a ‘covid experience’.

Each time I’m ill, I always crave being looked after like when I was a child. I’d get to lay on the sofa with duvets wrapped around me, stocked up with magazines and watching TV whilst Mum and Dad checked on me. Frequent cuddles, hugs and hand squeezes to cheer me up. I wanted that in Dublin, but nothing was more impossible as a covid sufferer alone in a foreign city. I was reminded of everything the pandemic took from us, the comfort of closeness and the difficulty of enforced solitude.

Expect the unexpected could be a mantra for our times. At least I could catch up on Netflix and write whilst I had this time. I binge-watched the second series of Bridgerton. I liked the first series, but was less fond of the Mr Darcy style character of Antony Bridgerton. He spent a lot of time bossing people about and exchanging meaningful glances with his love interest. Get on with it mate! It may be the lack of romance in reality that made it hard to stomach.

I was also watching dramatic documentaries Bad Vegan and The Missing Cryptocurrency CEO. This seems to be a new style of TV crafted for a generation who can’t pay attention to anything for long. It introduces a character who might be a victim or a villain, keeping us guessing as to the nature of their crimes. There will be a shocking reveal at some point – and then she disappeared! Now meet his ex-wife! That wasn’t his real name! And there is lots of speculation from random bystanders who only met the person once. In the crypto documentary, a man wears a giant fox head and uses voice distortion for anonymity. This is the point it felt much too surreal and very of our time. Was it reality or my fevered covid dreams?

Anyway…this too shall pass. 

2 thoughts on “Not the way I expected

  1. What a lot you’ve been through, Jessica! Feeling for you. I do hope you feel better and get your home back together soon. It is important to write. We need to express and share our feelings. Thank you so much for your comments on my post. It means a lot. Look after yourself in every possible way. With love

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