Dating in the time of coronavirus

As if dating wasn’t fraught enough with insecurity and caution. Is the person who they say they are? Do they have a social media and/or digital footprint that can be verified? Are they juggling a multitude of potential recruits for the position of lover in their lives? Are they delusional or firmly grounded in truth and reality? Is that recent picture or…? And on it goes…..

Now there is the coronavirus to contend with. It is almost impossible to view a prospective partner through the lens of plastic goggles, face mask and disposable gloves, let alone be bold enough to hug on meeting for the first time.

Sexy?

Not!

For those of us, that need to be extra careful due to immune issues or health sensitivities, it is a hazardous contemplation to even meet, in an open space, a gale blowing or not.

But nothing it seems prevents people from trying. Ignorance and ostriches aside.

What is the rush?

End of the world sex?

Possibly yes. It is good for the immune system so Dr Oz says, though two letters before your name, doesn’t equate to being an internationally recognised virologist.

I know, cause I have two, a D and an R, on my Myers card.

Back to dating. Yes or No?

If a tick in the wrong box can be deadly for someone else, who needs a real doctor in an emergency, then dating without consideration of flattening the curve, social distancing and social isolation, just maybe the ultimate in risk-taking.

Many may have crossed that line already.

I prefer to sit in solitude and casually sip my Saturday ‘quarantini’ or chat on the phone, keeping one eye on the global pandemic numbers as they roll rapidly over.

Fear it seems maybe the ultimate in population control, as we become a world, locked down in home detention.

 

Photo by Daniel Tafjord on Unsplash

Let nothing steal your joy!

Those of us that walk the tightrope of fear, know only too well how provocative that taut wire can be. A gust of wind and we quiver like a plucked guitar string across a fret. In the current climate of the coronavirus, moments of joy are ever more vital.

Keeping fear at bay is the new challenge for everyone, in the whirlwind of media agitation.

When I was frightened as a child, I’d climb up the slightly opened drawers of my brother’s cupboard into the upper reaches of the top space, which housed the forgotten. That is what my mother called them, as she reacquainted herself with various items in a random spring clean.

I’d pull each drawer out a little less, shimming up, my simian toes clinging to the wooden edge. Several trips up and down, I’d go, hauling my supplies, when the coast was clear, my brother away on teenage business and my parents busy turning the soil in their garden.

I padded the base of the shelf with a patchwork quilt. A tower of neglected rugs was piled tightly in the opening of one of the sides of the sliding cupboard. The perfect camouflage, it squashed back as I squirrelled inside, returning to form, to conceal the entrance to my safe space.

I would retreat up into space, crack open the sliding door a fraction for air, lie against a small pillow, eat stolen biscuits and read until there was no daylight left or on a dull day, the batteries in my torch weakened to an ever-fading circle of light.

At times I was party to the dirty sniggers between my brother and his friends about the ‘chicks’ that floated across their minds when they were alone in the dark. On one occasion, I swear I was half baked, with the smoke trail of dope wafting up into the cupboard. I imagined what it was to feel like an emaciated tiger wedged high in a tree. I crept down slowly when the coast was clear, my head spinning, and my stomach racing towards the fridge.

My hidden place was discovered abruptly when I fell. Writhing in agony on the polished floor, I looked up into the bewildered faces of my mother and brother and our yapping dachshund. My father just shook his head, scooped me up and drove me to the local doctor. He was well experienced in my repertoire of shenanigans. A slight concussion and twisted ankle my punishment. My mother, a nurse, said it was a wasted trip, as I wasn’t sufficiently bleeding.

Since then, I have been drawn to alcoves, corners and created spaces that feel safe, with something secure against my back. I’ve tended to stay clear of treehouses, and elevated platforms. I did once abseil, and once was enough.

In the current climate of fear with the spread of the coronavirus, creating safe spaces seems to include sourcing mountains of toilet tissue, anti-bacterial gel, bags of rice and a variety of canned goods. 

Fear can drive humans to behave like wild caged animals, with little regard for whom they harm in the process of escaping to find a safer space. Social media has captured fights in the toilet paper aisles of supermarkets, with no care for the frail elderly woman who wanted a single pack for herself.

The irony of the transmitting of this virus between caged wild animals in wet markets, to our self-inflicted isolation pods to contain the spread, is almost comical if it wasn’t lethal and just plain stupid and completely avoidable with some common sense.

In the midst of this state of hypervigilance, I refuse to let fear, steal my joy. I’m just going to sing happy birthday twice every time I wash my hands with soap, which will be I assure you, often.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fancy a little light relief? RomCom anyone?

Humans are genetically programmed for growth and survival. How else do you explain our wanton domination and destruction of other species? If you have watched someone dying, you have witnessed the greatest fight of all, first hand. A battle that can continue, after consciousness is lost and a vegetative state settles in, and before the finality of death silences, the most ardent protestor in a war that simply, in the end, cannot be won.

The majority of the ‘civilised’ first world populace of our blue planet, regularly swallows opiates of projected brave new worlds, via a variety of competing subscriber and free to air media platforms. The normalisation of the destruction of the planet is being streamed directly into our lounge-rooms. We lap up well-crafted fiction that feels uncomfortably real.

Are we being programmed for acceptance of the inevitable?

Any savvy business decision is based on the certainty of the outcome, so instead of actively promoting change, a plethora of dystopian post-apocalyptic landscapes are offered, both on our dying planet and in other unknown galaxies.

Thousands are already waiting in a cryogenic state to be reconnected to new forms, to extend their conscious experience. I know who I’d surrender first, in the choice of refrigerated goods, on our rapidly heating planet.

Very few admit to being 100% comfortable with change. The human experience is a metronome rocking between avoidance, adjustment and acceptance. Somewhat like our attitude towards dying. Anything dying, and perhaps that is where the problem lies. Mortality is not a dirty word, but it may well be the filthiest one unspoken. So how comfortable are we in accepting that the planet is in palliative care?

What level of discomfort are we willing to undergo, to save the planet for future generations? This is the unanswered question. What type of personal sacrifice will it take? More than the personal shopping bags and plastic bottles?

Instead of ballot boxes against political parties, future voting should consist of a questionnaire. A snappy algorithm can determine the importance the population of the world places upon having a planet to live on, but would we trust it or prefer human error to dark web intervention? It is hard to know what is fake and real in a world that prides itself on manufacturing deception and illusion.

There is so much to relinquish: ideological superiority, capitalistic control, the tangle of financial gossamer, to name a few, and the overwhelming fear, that it will all collapse like a stack of cards.

Perhaps it is simply too late and Australia has sold out like the rest of the globe. Are we merely, a global race of rainbow-coloured lemmings occupying a planet on fire? We seem to be collectively in an unholy rush to the edge, grabbing pleasure and useless things, before the enviable predictable long drop into nothingness.

Now, now….that is far too bleak…settle down….After all, we humans are equally creative and resourceful, as we are destructive. What about art, culture, music and all that representative stuff, that we are known for?

There are empirical studies that prove the symbiotic relationship between creative expression and business innovation. Surely all these bright minds and wise elders, can’t all be hysterical climate activists?

Must we wait until civil unrest becomes the gauge? Not in Australia, we are a tinder box in flames.

Clever corporations have kept us busy, promoting self-expression, individuality and experimentation as a channel to productivity and performance and possibly the Holy Grail: happiness.

It is in our nature as humans, to solve tricky puzzles, and what is more tricky than the current one, the salvation of the planet?

The definition of happiness and where to find it is, of course, is open to conjecture, however, I imagine having access to a living planet to dwell upon would be number one on everyone’s happiness list.

For many right now in Australia, it will be a roof over their head, while they count the cost of environmental warfare.

How different it could have been, without leaders in absentia.

While time itself could be argued as an unquantifiable state. Focus on our country for the preservation of the people, is the exchange expected by the democratic process of voting a team for the top job.

Is it impossible to expect politicians to spend their time representing the common good?

Hard to pin anyone down to their promises, like the fleeting Monarch blue butterfly. You remember those, right?

Surely we can bring ourselves back from the brink? Yes? No? Maybe?

Too hard basket already?  Fancy a little light relief? Romcom anyone?

Ash

Gather ribbons of regret

Burn them high upon the pyre

Watch them snake and twist

Gasping trying to revive

Love that is exhausted

 

Jealously dressed in silence

Cloaked in resentment and rote

Gas-lighted and relinquished

Misogyny wrapped in promises

Independence traded for trust

 

Silent thoughts of resolution

Forgiveness too fresh to bind

Cruelty woven between ignorance

Hope unworthy of redemption

Discarded, diminished to ash.

 

 

Domino

I ache to find forgiveness, for you have wronged me so.

You slither by, box brimming with shoe polish and parables,

face flushed with embarrassment, you claim, too heavy to carry.

We both know that it is far lighter than the weight of your shame.

 

It is incongruous that you once lay in love with me,

this stranger with the spring of freedom in his step.

A stench of cowardice hangs in your absence,

alongside the power tools, you abandoned in the shed.

 

Pulling the pin, heading off in another direction, you rationalise,

no need to flog a dead horse, you said.

These phrases like a worn gate, ugly with rust and neglect,

too exhausted to salvage and I, beyond wounded to care.

 

I stumbled in the rut carved deep by used lovers,

and bore witness to your weakness in the company of men.

Time to collect another, your sly firstborn had said.

Sniggering like an awkward adolescent, you did not defend.

A replica of you, the other acorn, tight-fisted and arrogant.

The die of your deceit, cast by his fly blown ignorance.

 

Te Roberts 2020

Gravity (for Jay – 2018)

Soft has moved in wearing fluffy slippers and refuses to leave. I remain unaccustomed to this spongy emotional self.

Hollowness was my closest companion for most of the early years.

In the driest place on Earth, where rootless mould has no purchase, between the last incident and then, the emptiness swallowed me.

I trusted no one, even myself.

Grief, I knew too clearly. The boomerang of trauma relived.

Unable to out run it or prize away the clawing fingers of childhood abuse, I chose the comfort of the dry.

In the firm flesh days of womanhood, I started to interrogate myself, whispering ‘how do you feel?’ A death star ‘fuck you’ glare and a single word echo.

Nothing.

I persisted, tapping at my temples, drilling for feeling, until God was let back in.

Time tumbled-weeded by, rocking the scales of struggle and gain.

And then your first-born innocence saved me.

Kicking back against the dryness, I toed the weak spot.

It crumbled dust-like and scattered on the wind.

The days of the long dry, are gone.

Forever more, at the slightest display of human kindness, I leak tears.

Like a busted suitcase, my private grief in jumbled exposure.

I cry for lost innocence. I cry for the power of hope. I cry in pain.

There are fleeting moments, when I yearn for the hollowness.

It is what it is.

Space cold. Pitch black.

It promises nothing and delivers the same.

Fear has carved a permanent scar, for cruelty is truly learned.

We do as we see, often bruised by what has been done to us, especially that which is done, so wrongfully.

I hold fast to the reins of forgiveness, forgiving myself first, then others.

Vanquishing swirling thoughts of deep shame, I remind my inconsequential self, that being human, means to learn, by trial and error.

I wear the crown of worthiness as my divine right.

I have loved some people too deeply. Some not enough. Some didn’t deserve my devotion and some I have short-changed.

Now I love only those that embrace the imperfect fragile me, and who act with loving kind intent. I place a firm boundary around the rest.

They are brumbies. Too wild, to truly trust.

I have let go.

Let go of the constructed ego, let go of competing for acceptance in a world that values coin and perishable things, for this illusion is the siren song of the shallow.

Peel back the silky film of truth about this too, too simple life.

Love is all that truly matters.

Seek it, give it, receive it. Repeat.

Seek it, give it, accept it. Repeat.

First and always first, love your imperfect self.

This is God’s gravity.