April 18. The day got off to an interesting start . I packed my Holly bag for our daily walk – treats, waste bags, water for both of us, paper towel for residual mess: the list does go on (I’ll stop here, I think) and prepared to put on her harness. She edged away from me in horror.
I’m not going.
Yes you are, Holly.
She did this to me yesterday. So I left her behind. I thought that when I got to the gate she would run after me and say,
Wait for me!
I walked the length of the fence, still expecting her to say,
Come back and get me. I was only joking.
But no. She sat and watched me go, with a look I’m sure was glee, and a paw I am convinced she was using to wave me goodbye.
Peace at last, she was thinking. Don’t come back in a hurry.
Well, sorry Holly. Not two days in a row. With a lot of grappling, lunging and the inevitable treats, she got strapped in and off we went.
As we walked, I was reminded of my childhood in the fifties, growing up in Johannesburg. Low or no walls, open gates or no gates at all, children kicking the ball in the garden, and some children playing in the streets. They can. Very few cars about.
How fortunate the people are here. Such open space, beautiful vegetation, wide streets, blue skies. No fences.
Holly is very clever. When she saw people coming towards us, she stopped (as I do) and waited for them to pass. If she can practise social distancing, then we all can surely! Interesting observation is that people are not greeting one another, or remembering their manners. A simple, thank you would do no harm.
There was no breeze, everything was still. Birds chattering. Out of one house came the sound of someone practicing the piano. Lovely. I stopped to listen. It was Jingle Bells.
The next thing, a man’s voice boomed out,
Will you stop with that racket!
I moved on.
You will not believe that down the next street, a teenage sounding daughter was giving her mother a load of words, and the mother was definitely responding in kind.
The next thing, a neighbour called out in not so very fifties fashion, Oh, shuddup, will ya!
Somehow these two episodes made me feel part of the real world again. With all the inspirational quotes and guidelines for a meaningful life (#Greater Purpose), which are often really hard to live out, these human moments that made me think of how difficult it must be for families during this time and how they must loathe the platitudes. There are only two of us in the house, so it’s not hard to have a routine, to do the garden when you feel like it, to read or sleep or bake, or whatever your design for the day is. The luxury of it. In some houses, they might be wondering at what point would they be able to access financial help for domestic abuse.
And it’s only 9 o’clock in the morning.