How Long Can You Stew For, Before You Fall Apart? (3)
By Jane Hyphen
I love Joanne, sometimes she can be insightful and clever especially when it comes to people, she is intuitive and capable of picking apart people’s behaviours and motivations almost to a forensic level. However she can also be really thick (can’t we all). I’ve known her since primary school and felt that I had to touch base with her, make sure she was okay.
‘So do you have enough food in the house?’
‘Yeah, I was quite clever actually, I got loads and loads of ready-made sauces, pasta sauces and curry sauces.’
‘Oh good. Have you got stuff to go in the sauces though?’
‘Ha ha (laughs) loads actually, loads of tinned beans, butter beans, pinto beans, cannellini beans, some frozen chicken strips. It’s a good job I got the sauces though because otherwise all that stuff would be really bland, you know, tasteless - and you have to be careful coz that’s one of the first symptoms innit.’
‘Losing your sense of taste.’
‘Yes, apparently it is - but eating bland food can’t give you the virus Joanne.’
‘Oh….yeah I suppose but it’s better to be safe than sorry eh and when the sauces run out I will just use seasoning, basic salt and pepper, lots of it, just to be safe.’
‘Yeah.’ Sometimes it’s easier to agree.
‘Hey, it would be weird if this all turned out to be a hoax wouldn’t it?’
‘I don’t think it can be a hoax, given the statistics.’
‘Yeah but we just don’t know do we.’
‘Hmm I guess. How’s your toilet paper supply?’
‘Oh that’s fine. I’m doing half measures. It’s funny though isn’t it, all those people rushing out to panic buy it, diarrhea’s not even meant to be a symptom is it. I don’t know who spread that rumour. Andrex probably.’
‘Aaaah (sighs) I just feel like I’m not achieving anything, that’s the worst….’
I ended the conversation shortly after this. I’ve learned that it’s very important to be strong with Joanne once you’ve decided it’s time to terminate the call otherwise she just keeps talking. To be honest she just keeps talking anyway and I think she was still talking when I put the phone down. She might still be talking now but I had to put the phone down because I needed to put my bread in the oven.
Since the flour incident and the abstenation of unessential shopping I have been partaking in an almost Amish level of home cooking. It’s actually more exhausting than being at work. I’ve become a bit like a “tradwife”, I don’t mean that in a derogatory way, it’s a personal choice to be such a thing (finances permitting); not that I’ve ever been anyone’s wife but that’s a personal choice too. If I was single and very wealthy, I would choose to be a sort of tradwife to myself and my animal friends who live with me. That’s kind of my dream actually.
There was a shout from upstairs, ‘What’s the ETA on the bread?’
‘Err, can you not talk shop to me please!’
‘It’s not, it means estimated time of…’
‘I know what it means, but why do you have to pervert the air with corporate jingo!!’
The bread dough was committed to a hot oven and I felt the need to put space between me and other residents of my house who chose to bring the dark world of big business into our nest site. It’s big business that’s paying our bills at the moment but I prefer not to think about that so I escaped into my small garden.
My garden is a sacred place and I am very very lucky to be the custodian of thirty square feet of land. I often ponder the question, do I own the land all the way down through the sub layers, the upper mantle, transitional zone, lower mantle, right down to the earth’s core, perhaps to Hell itself? I tried to find this out and apparently the question involves something about owning the mineral rights. Apparently in the UK the royal family have rights over whatever lies beneath. I find this hard to believe and Hell will freeze over before Prince Andrew gets his dirty hands on anything mined from the underpants of my little plot of land. I also found out the earth’s core is allegedly leaking molten metal. I’m not sure how anyone knows this but that’s what is claimed by geologists.
Now that I have all this time on my hands since the BBC iplayer withdrew Storyville OJ An American Crime Story; I watched part one (an hour and a half) not knowing there were four more parts, then I watched part two, and three and was gripped by the ripple effects of the whole saga. Anyway the bloody BBC have withdrawn it before I could finish it, not that I don’t know the ending but I was fully engaged with the details of the story. It’s a bit like the chicken and the egg. What came first, his genius or his sociopathic tendencies? Perhaps it was those tendencies that made him a sporting genius or maybe it was all the adulation that obliterated his moral compass.
So with all this time and the pre-programmed impulse to “achieve”, I thought I could perhaps start digging, maybe I could look into fixing the leaking core with my Gorilla Glue. I wondered what was down there, lots of hot stuff, a labyrinth, maybe I would find David Bowie in a wig. There are several theories as to what is inside the core of our earth. Some people believe there are advanced civilisations living there and that the entrance points are located at the two poles.
If you google “advanced civilisations” you will find many illustrations and they all, without exception show a sterile cityscape of very high skyscrapers. Do we really think the main criteria of being advanced is building and living in extremely tall buildings, in a sterile environment with very little in the way of trees and nature.
Do we want to obliterate nature in our quest for advancement? Do we think we can beat nature, I doubt it, we don’t really have a true grasp on the complexities of nature yet. Perhaps we see our future away from nature, we’ll let nature do its thing and move elsewhere so that we can’t mess it up anymore but that would be bad for our own wellbeing. These conceptualised “advanced civilisations” appear to be based on somewhere which resembles Dubai. I’m not sure what that tells you but I’ve never wanted to go there and I can’t anyway since I’m not married.
Anyway I started digging but my soil is sandy clay with a high percentage of very large flints, spades have been broken, hands have been bruised as metal and flint ricochet off each other. Sometimes when it’s been hot and dry, it can take half an hour to dig a small hole. So very soon I gave up on achieving and sat in a chair instead.
I pondered on the luxury of time within the context of self-isolation. It’s bland, tasteless time that is dangerous. Surely it’s a case of seasoning your time, you may do this with a ready-made sauce in the form of television, x-box, internet or alternatively, you will find that if you rattle your own head it’s full of peppercorns. If you stay still you may access the whole peppercorns of imagination inside your mind’s eye and work at grinding them into something tasty.
Warning you may encounter hot, bitter and unpalatable flavours but generally your own seasoning will make time easier to swallow.