Greetings From My Galaxy

The thing I’ve noticed most since this lockdown has began, is that people want to talk more and when I say more, I don’t refer to the number of words. Maybe I’ve misphrased that completely… as I also notice that people are lapsing into silences and sitting there without feeling compelled to fill every second with chitter chattering smalltalk. 

Coming to the end of yesterday evening’s night shift and driving the last Carer on my list home, I laughed as she let forth an expletive laden rant about &*$%£ £”£$$ management!! I laughed more as she tried to rein herself in and apologise for using language she NEVER usually uses, I encoraged her to let it flow and taught her a few of my own personal favourite cusses. We turned the air blue, laughed a little more and slid into silence…

I’m not sure how the conversation restarted again but I found myself listening to her wondering why she’d given up on art and design and if she’d ever return to it. I wondered if it was a lockdown effect or whether there’s something inherently confessional that seeps out when talking side by side without having direct eye contact… 

We found ourselves singing along to the radio… She said to me “I like happy songs! Don’t you? Oh forget it! That’s a stupid question!” I replied “Hmm, yeah but for some reason, sad songs seem easier to sing…” She gasped “Oh! You’re so right there! Whenever I sing karaoke, I always pick the sad ones, oh wow, I guess people must think that I get dumped every other week! Why are those songs so good to sing?!” We poured over the question and thought it may be nostalgia, maybe a certain peacefulness… who knows? Whatever it is, there’s a kind of transcendence going on… 

We finished the journey, both sat with our own thoughts and just as she goes to leave the car, she points to my dashboard and quizzes me “Why does it say “Karen’s wagon” on your display?” I explain “Oh that! Ah, yeah, it links to my phone and puts up the device name and I got tired of seeing Vodaphone blah blah blah so I changed my handle whilst I was sat waiting for someone to come out”

“How long has it been like that?”

“A couple of weeks? I don’t really know… “

“How come I never saw it before now?”

“You weren’t looking? Nobody else has mentioned it… Ha! I might change it every day”

“Oh yes! You should do that!” 

Carot Card for the day…

This morning, I decide that yes, I will change it and so now my phone has been given the name which seems to be the 2nd question on everybody’s lips these days – “What day is it?”

A different day, a different carer and this morning I am treated to tales of life on Portugese Islands, of an old Mercedes painted brown and black, and fond memories of a much loved grandmother’s eccentricities…

Driving solo back to base, I consider the first question on everybody’s lips – “How are you coping with lockdown?”

Other than the whole horrific exponential death count, I’m probably the happiest I’ve ever been. This societal clipping of wings leaves me relatively unfettered. I’m lucky that I have a job that comes with a permit to be out, but between shifts I’m more than content to be at home. I guess that it feels better than when I was laid up with my back injury… knowing you can’t physically do something feels worse than being told you’re not allowed to do something until further notice… I also guess that the frequent voyages in my imagination throughout that time have tooled me up well for this chapter…

I asked myself if I was actually missing anything? People? No, all the people I care about have one way or another been in touch. I decided that there was one thing, just one thing – the swimming baths… It’s hard to recreate the blissful feeling of moving through water. An hour in the bath is close but no real substitute… Oh… wait… two things… I remembered that I used to write. I used to write a lot… So, in a world  flipped upside down, with very little within my control, in a world where now the bank rings me and begs for my business blah blah blah… yeah one thing I can control is – I can put fingers to keys and work them… I can be a keyworker in and out of home.

Yesterday there was a knock at the door, I was in the middle of writing up a year ahead reading for someone (and NO! it did not read April – Hermit, May -Hermit, June- Hermit…) and even though I have two writer’s bureaus, when it comes to writing anything of any great length, I much prefer to drag out my foldaway artist’s table. Why am I telling you that? Well it’s a big table and so I set myself up to be stationed there for a few hours and I have anything I may need to hand in a haphazard semi-circle of organised chaos. The door knocks and Ohh… I’ve inadvertantly barricaded myself into the writer’s equivalent of a blanket fort! I’m not getting out of there easily without either climbing over and under, or possibly smashing through things…

But not a problem! There’s four other people in the household…

“Woohoo Door!”

“HEY! Door! Postman!”

“OI!!! DOOR!”


Three bodies upstairs, two reply “NO! I’m busy!”. There’s no reply from number 3 as he’s happily headphoned and missing everything… A fourth voice from the garden as Mr S asks “Why can’t you do it?”

I tell him that I could do it but I’d sooner not as it’s going to take me a while to dig myself out and then rearrange myself back in there…

He agrees to go. I hear the postman’s voice “Lockdown eh?”

Mr S, eternally dry, retorts “What lockdown?”

So these are the thoughts rolling through my head as my wheels roll towards the carpark… I think to myself that the lockdown question is not the true question being asked…

Parking up I glance at the dashboard and a new song arrives… Huey Lewis – “Stuck With You”

Oh… THAT’S  where the real question is… 

Cool! I’m very happy to be stuck with me!

How happy are you to be stuck with you?



6 thoughts on “Greetings From My Galaxy

  1. Wow Karen… you’re not just the driver, you’re helping your passengers stay grounded and sane during this awful, difficult time!

    Like you, I’m happy to be at home with my partner, cat, tarot decks, and art materials. It’s the growing number of deaths that stresses me out. I’m not stressed for myself, it’s that my eyes tear up and my heart aches for those who are confined in hospital, and for the families who have lost people.

    Love, love, love your reference to Huey Lewis and the News! I bet a lot of people are learning things about themselves that they didn’t know before. There’s an Alana Morissette song that has a similar theme – Jagged Little Pill, “Why are you so petrified of silence.”

    Anyhoo… I’m happy to be stuck with me. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Lol that’s funny! Before I started this job, staff used to get moved by taxi but that was exploding the budget so they got a car and divvied up the work between various managers. That wasn’t a hit with anyone! I started and as I met staff, they greeted me with caution thinking I must be management, they’d ask which home I was from and I’d tell them I was homeless, I live in the car. They’d all then say oh! You’re just a driver! Now when new staff start they’ve already been told my name and where to find me and I greet them with – hey! Hop in, don’t worry, I’m just the driver 🤣.
      Yeah, I think tarot heads have a big mental advantage in all of this. On the whole, we do all very much prefer our own company and own space.
      Loving the “Why are you so petrified of silence.” 👍🏻

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m happy to be stuck with me, and my dog, as well, though stuck doesn’t embrace it. My allergy to boredom is having a FIELD DAY in the evenings and weekends when I’m not working. I’m fortunate. I was able to retrieve my workstation and files from the office several weeks ago, and used a week of the 5 weeks of vacation I had the 1st week into it. So, I started off the “what lockdown?” on vacation instead of scrambling myself like eggs. Meetings during the week are virtual, and I’m a pea in a pod in this, actually even calmed down. No more hour+ commute each way twice a day.

    “Why are you petrified of silence?” I full-on dig that. It’s ok to just be, let the chaff of chatter blow off naturally unsaid in the wind, and keep to the jewels of the kernels, and listen more deeply to people.

    Karen’s wagon. What a hoot! That’s great.

    I throughly enjoyed this post.

    Liked by 1 person

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