Fuck the style of curtains, the finish of the door handles and carpet swatches. In light of recent events, things that mattered to me a few weeks ago, fade into insignificance. We are lucky to have a healthy family and a roof over our heads (though a few weeks ago, mid-attic conversion. the rain pissed into our living room through a holey tarp). This broad-reaching pandemic has given us some perspective. Recent events have required that we reconsider what is really important.
We moved out of our home for renovations right before the pandemic. Myself, my wife and our three children moved from an Airbnb, to a serviced apartment and then to my mother’s place. Life in lockdown made relocating has been more challenging than usual. First world problems. Each time we relocated, I felt like Ray Liotta in the final scenes of Goodfellas (without the cocaine).
Frenetically, I would drive my black van around the city to our next abode, with our belongings packed in a myriad of boxes and suitcases. Are those helicoptors watching me from above? Supermarket, studio, Airbnb. I wondered whether the police would see through the darkened windows and deem my trans-city family removals an essential service?
Recently, I was standing on a pile of rubble in our demolished backyard, which vaguely resembles a war zone, when neighbour Matt wandered by. Matt is the owner and head chef at local restaurant Kindred, and as he looked through the wire construction fence, he cheerfully announced ‘Toby, I am delivering your family a Kindred takeaway meal tonight’.
That evening Matt brought over takeaway containers of his sublime lamb ragu and freshly baked bread, as a gift to my family. Along with countless businesses throughout Australia and around the globe, Kindred has closed its dining room until further notice due to Covid-19. Matt has since adjusted his service to takeaway and delivery, an option which my family will no doubt be frequenting in the months to come. We love what local businesses bring to the neighbourhood and how essential they are to keeping up the community spirit.
Thanks for the home-baking Amy (no, not that type). Thank you for the beer Andy. Thanks for the scrabble board. Thank you for the twin pack of hand sanitizer that I found under the sink. Thank you for the community spirit that seems to have been awakened. Thank you to all of our health workers. I am so uplifted by the kindness that I have seen through this adversity.
Yesterday I spoke on the phone with an old friend, to see that she was doing okay in her retirement home, and hear her thoughts on these recents pandemic events. Eileen Kramer, 105 years young, who has lived through a century of change and challenges, tells me "we will wake up to a brighter world." I for one, most certainly agree.