While it must be said that I adore historical fiction and am as fascinated by the timeless rogue in the kilt as any other, I have never longed to live in any other time period than present—despite current events,
That being said, this is what Pandemic 2020 has taught me about potential time travel:
Let’s start with the toilet paper hoarding. Obviously, I could not travel back further than 1857 because that was year the cleaning sheets were created by a New York entrepreneur named Joseph Gayetty. He claimed his sheets prevented hemorrhoids. I guess no one cared whether that was fact or not. But it wasn’t until 1890 when the paper found the roll and took off as some may say.
And let’s be honest, the indoor water closet wasn’t a “thing” until mid last century at any rate, so I’d be limited to the last 75-years of time travel exploits.
But I digress…
Aside from modern convenience, I have no transferable skills. Let’s face it…I’m not going to be royalty or upper class, so where does that leave me … milking cows? I’d likely not even make it to the kitchen help.
What would we do with no internet? Certainly, without spellcheck, I’m likely illiterate. Never mind mathematical skills or basic map navigation. So, there’d I’d be walking in circles never able to reach my destination without Google Maps or Siri. You never find those time travel stones in the middle of city centre after all.
We’ve given up the ability to do for ourselves, growing our own food, raising chickens, etc. What no skip the dish? I’m out.
Just keeping a house would be fundamentally frustrating with no Windex or basic cleaning tools. Vinegar and water, eh. No scrubbing bubbles then? How about my washer and dryer? The dishwasher would be me, ouch. I guess that’s a no go for the leftovers in the microwave. And absolutely no complaining, because let’s not forget, women had no rights.
What on Earth would I do without my moisturizing soap, cream, wax strips. I am reminded of the bug population and would be lost without my Off spray.
Evenings by candlelight and no Netflix. I guess nighttime entertainment would be my trust butter churn and certainly no Apple tunes to keep me motivated and on task. I can just feel the tap of my foot fading away.
Think about how much time we spend writing on all our various platforms a day. If we could even find paper and quill, messing with the ink and blotter, we’d be lucky to share out a post a week IF we could get it to the printer between chores and the ability to find a mode of travel.
Yes, we may have gone through months of isolation and a big pity party, but we are still incredibly spoiled in comparison to our ancestral generations. We have more than one room to move around in, plenty to entertain and distract, and considerable convenience to make it all bareable.
The birds are singing in the trees, the geese are swimming with their young, the breeze blows lightly, the sun is shining, and its Father's Day.
What could be better than going fishing with dad?
As an aspiring cook, our youngest boy treats us daily to new creations which tantalize and satisfy the palette in equal measure. So, when he decides to go fishing with dad, well...there has to be luncheon to accompany trip. With lunch prepared and bait packed, rods, lures, all that was missing were the fish. Into the boat and off they go, puttering down the lake.
Much later, their laughter preceded the tut-tut of the motor as they came around the bend and returned to the dock.
First thing as he hops from the boat, a grin splitting his features ear to ear. "Wait 'til I tell you what the new foolproof bait is?"
Intrigued, I wait for the story that's sure to come.
Nothing was biting, for the first hour, but they were enjoying casting and telling stories. They paused for lunch and while eating, a pickle dropped out of the sandwich. There are no five-second rules on the floor of the fishing boat, so what to do with this pickle? Recycle of course. Not to go to waste, my son decides if it's good enough for a sandwich, it's good enough for a fish. Who is dad to disagree? Up comes the line and the bait is replaced by one bread and butter slice, carefully threaded into the hook.
The fish must have smelled it coming, he told me, because they landed the big one first cast!
I'm told future fishing trips will include extra pickle!
The best Facebook post by a friend of mine...
Romance novels written during COVID-19 will be like..."as she slowly slipped her mask down and removed her gloves..."
As I read this post, all I could think was "No, they haven't socially distanced."
This of course lead to considering that 1993 Sylvester Stallone movie with Sandra Bullock "Demolition Man". Stallone's character is frozen in 1996 and brought back in 2032 to a very different reality than the one he knew prior to being frozen. Taco Bell being the only remaining restaurant and physical intimacy is no more...as he knew it at least. Everything is social distanced.
Remember laughing at the absurdity of this notion?
Some say the context was based loosely on Aldouse Huxley's dystopian novel "Brave New World". Though I can't say I was ever a fan of the novel, certainly the COVID experience has caused me to reference many of the 1932 novels ideas.
BUT as we return to a more interactive life, I thought I would share a small snippet from my current work and hope you like it:
Sweat slicks our entwined legs. My heart races and his pulse pumps a similar rhythm beneath my ear. With his arm under my neck, I snuggle my cheek into the crook beneath his chin, along his collar bone.
I’m as snug and content as I’ve ever been. Lazily, I stroke the hair encircling his nipple. I feel his smile on the top of my head.
“It’s been too long,” he says into my hair.
I reach to cup his cheek, casting my gaze upward and recognize a face I haven’t seen in years. I return his smile. “I’ve come home.”
He rolls me over, his knee between my willing thighs, and heat flushes across my skin. His elbow supports his weight next to my ear, where he decides to trace his tongue along the contours. The gesture both tickles and excites. Butterfly wings flutter in my stomach and takes flight, drawing my breath with the beat of its tiny movements.
His lips embrace my ear and he whispers, “I’ve been waiting.”
I wake with a start, panting, embarrassed that I was dreaming. And so intimately of Ben. Ben? My skin is coated in perspiration. A part of me is disappointed. I would have liked to finish that encounter. But with Ben? I could understand if I had dreamed of my husband—correction, ex-husband, Matt, but Ben. How many years has it been? Another lifetime.
I’m confused. Then I realize someone is knocking on the car window and I draw the thin blanket closer around my fully clothed frame. I had cracked the windows when I pulled over to the rest stop to not only provide airflow, but to stifle the late spring heat. The bright light from the flashlight blinds me, but I can hear a male voice.
The man knocks again. “Madam?” He points the beam into my face. “Je suis un officier de police. Est-ce que, ca va, s’il vous plait?”I scoot up as best I can between the suitcases. I’ve had enough French in school to understand, but not enough to converse. I cough and run my fingers through my cropped hair, knowing it’s stuck out like a porcupine. “Anglais, s’il vous plait?”
“Qui, Madam.” He tilts the beam so he can scan the inside of the vehicle piled with boxes and whatever else constitutes my life worth keeping. “You drink?”
I know he is not asking me out. I lean forward to glance out the windscreen and see the dawn mist shrouding the sides of the road.
I yawn so deeply my jaw cracks. “I’m fine, officer.” With a quick movement, I confirming my keys are still in the pocket of my jean shorts and glance around to see that the doors are locked. I run my hands across my eyes and focus away from the torch beam. “Just road weary.”
In our quest to keep up with the COVIDs, the new reality show we call LIFE, while in lakeside isolation at maximum social distance, we have learned a few tricks for coping.
COVID-19 Proof is what we have now in the constantly stocked up liquor cabinet purchased from the "essential" service liquor store. Because of this global pandemic, we know it is 3 o'clock somewhere and places where we can cross the international date line, so we need only ZOOM to the location, so we can get a head start on the weekend.
Since we have no need of Taxi's, Ubers, or driving of any sort while drinking, we have partaken of the latest ZOOM drinking game... watch the news and every time an announcer says "isolation" we click the screen and bottom's up. It's a two-finger catch for "social distancing".
Case Cluster now represents how like new-born blossoms thawing from the long winter, fellow isolators emerge, roots showing through scraggly, uncut hair, in the baggiest clothes they can find, to stand across the street and cheer one another as fellow survivors. It's like we're all extras from the movie "Call of the Wild".
The COVID-13 variation is the weight epidemic sidecar of the pandemic. This is the average extra poundage we've gained during our time at home.
With spring in the air and not being able to button our jeans, Flatten the Curve, has come to mean the new exercise regime we'll have to pull ourselves away from the tv to start so we'll have clothes to wear when finally we can get back to work.
Forget about watching sports. This new "reality" comes with its own brand of excitement. The harrowing trip to the grocery store. Keeping track of the arrows on the floor, while remembering the social distance rule is two and half lengths of the cart, means it's a wonder anything gets purchased. By the time I get the protocol down, remember not to scratch or touch my face with the list tucked under my glove, I've forgotten what I had to come in for...
And, with nothing better to do, and no new shows to choose from, the soon to come Baby Boom will spring a new generational reference CORONIALS.
So fellow COVID-19inites, please remember this is simply intended to give you a bit of a laugh, a lightening of mood, and remind you, YOU are not alone. We are in this together. Be well, stay safe, and more importantly, healthy!
There is no question COVID-19 is taking it's toll on all of us.
With all the hearts and flowers consistent with February, here's a little something fun I recently read...
Lovers like underwear ???
Some crawl up your arse,
Some snap under pressure,
Some don't have the strength to hold you up,
Some get a little twisted,
Some are your favourites,
Some you can see right through,
Some are cheap and just plain nasty,
Some actually cover your arse when you need them to.
Having to be at the airport so early now to clear security and all the various check points, leaves a lot of time for people watching.
From the moment you walk through the airport revolving doors, check in at the counter or kiosk, you are then listed as being present for your flight … then there are at least two, if not three checks through security, all before you arrive at your departing gate. So, we’re waiting for our flight and the intercom buzzes with missing people from various flights. “So and so is requested at gate X, your flight is fully boarded and awaiting your arrival.”
I think whatever happened to the days when the flight just left. So sorry, but if you didn’t arrive on time, why should everyone else have to delay their flight time because of you.
The first list goes by and Garry’s name is listed. Few minutes later, only Garry is called. Then along comes the oversized golf cart pausing within every crowd and asking, “Does anyone know Garry, he’s late for his flight?”
I think, man this Garry must be a VIP or something, we’re twenty minutes into this.
Then she backtracks through the departures area, same request in reverse. One more announcement and then quiet for about ten minutes. THEN…I know unbelievable, the intercom crackles with the search for Garry…again. “Your flight is boarded and waiting your arrival.”
Who is this guy? I want to be Garry…or at least meet him.
The oversized golf cart makes it way down again…everyone’s on the hunt for Garry. They know he’s there somewhere. He’s made it through all the check points so far, so he’s here. Apparently the airport staff were in the mood for hide and seek, they were all sporting to find Garry.
And lo and behold, they do!
Along comes that golf cart, the driver frazzled looking, but smiling and Garry in the back looking like he just came off a bender and was topping up for the flight.
We couldn’t help but wave as Garry went by. I almost wished I were on his flight so I could get the full story…
The snow pact was perfect. The hint of damp in the air. Temperatures a smidge above zero with the threat of more fluffy flakes to come.
The kids dressed warm but didn’t need to guard against the cold as they set to work right away. Each assumed the burden of rolling a ball—one—two—three. The youngest, of course, in charge of the head. After the exchange of several snowballs and giggles layered the air above them like the low cloud cover, they set to work in earnest.
When the largest of the snowballs could be pushed no farther, it stayed where the last heave failed, close to the edge of the grass line, buried deep beneath the snow, not far from the start of the frozen lake. Working as a team, the three pushed and failed, pushed and failed again with the second ball, which had grown almost as large, if not bigger than the first. Finally the stopped to consider the situation and how to assemble the great snowman.
Someone came up with the idea of using the toboggan. Together, rolled the ball up the sled and levered the body into place. Eager to finish, the oldest lifted the youngest high into the air, the last of the mighty balls clutched in the mittened hands and the head was placed upon the board body of snow with a kiss. The dressing finished quickly, complete with hat, twig arms, scarf and a lopsided facial expression. Happy with their creation, the children fell exhausted to the sides of the troughs they had previously groomed and made snow angles, blessing their new friend.
Later, while the children slept, the Snowman set to guard the home, the family. Each day the kids played around him and he absorbed their merriment as the season played on. Mirth and their constant amusements filled him as his round bulges thinned with the growing warmth of temperatures. The days lengthened. Snow and rain coated his diminished body While he melted during the day, ice crystals formed at night. Like diamonds, the icicle’s glistened in the warmth of the sun blushing him with joy.
Then a small ice crystal on his shoulder morphed and assumed a new shape—a butterfly. A beautiful, perfect winged creature. White and glistening, sparkling in the new dawn. When the Snowman smiled, the icy wings fluttered. A spectrum of colour glistened across their surface.
Soon, spring launched its warmth upon the Earth and the lake began to melt. The children found new pass times and Snowman’s hat fell askew. Even when his arms fell to the ground, he wasn’t sad. He knew he would be rebuilt when Jack Frost returned from the North. And before Snowman finally drifted into a final puddle, he watched as the butterfly launched from its roost, circled his head like a wreath, and took flight and danced on the breeze into the sky.
Comparatively speaking, the day dawned bright and cheery for Halloween. Earlier in the week, temperatures had dipped. Along with abundant frost and the lake thickening toward its eventual feet of ice, there’d been the light skiff of snow. But for now, sunny and clear blue skies greeted the morning, making one forget the months of snow and freezing temperatures which would soon be upon them.
The threat of trick-or-treaters offered a remote afterthought this far out from town and with the opening of hunting season the next day, the opportunity to get out in the bush while it remained relatively quiet had me reaching for my heavy clothes and packing my kit before I could change my mind or get distracted by other chores.
Bared of most of their leaves, the limbs of the trees seemed to sway and wave as I passed adding to the spritely atmosphere. Further in, the bogs and marshes offered up their tangy scent of fallen vegetation over ripe and decaying into the ground, returning nourishment previously granted. Birds skittered overhead. The more stubborn of the ducks and geese remained resolute on the lake, seeming to be intent to delay their long flight until they had to. The occasional partridge thrummed as I passed and ran in circles, flapping its wings only to hover slightly.
These were the sights and smells to absorb the attention. Taking away from noticing the darkening sky, the passage of time, the lifting of the wind, and the cooling of temperatures. I only felt the increasing chill after stopping for a bite and enjoying the still hot coffee in my thermos. I was in a clearing and the grey of sooty clouds seemed to march across the sun reminding anyone in any other doubt what day it was. Old Hallows Eve. The night when the dead woke to roam freely with the living.
An eerie shudder coursed across my shoulders, the down my spine. I shook off the feeling. Obviously, I was letting my imagination get the better of me. Still, the roll of darkness made me realize it was time to get back. Gone were the endless daylight hours of summer. Now was the season of a warm fire and a hot meal.
Yet as I walked the creaks of the cooling branches echoed loudly. The shuffle of crisp autumn leaves made me glance back along the trail. A sudden flight and squawk from a startled blue jay set my blood pounding.
Foolish, I said and laughed out loud Yet the more I chastised myself, the more my thoughts ventured to the supernatural. To the time of my youth in English class when grandfather was very ill. Everyone had paid their respects, knowing time was short. Then in the middle of the teacher’s lecture, the board, where he jotted his notes, faded to black and in its place I saw the cardiac monitor with its blinking blue line—up and down—in a heart’s regular rhythm, until the flattened line squealed. Like fingernails on a chalk board, the sound reached the depth of my soul and stole my breath.
I remembered how I pushed my chair back and started to pack my books. The teacher paused mid-sentence to look at me quizzically, but never had the opportunity to speak. At that very moment, the class phone rang, and I was summoned to the office. My grandfather had died.
The intense feeling of loss weighted my heart. Still, the logical side of my brain shouted, that was long ago and the memory of supernatural merely a kid’s fancy. Nothing more.
Now thoughts of my grandparents and those who’d gone on before drifted in and out of my consciousness. The lives they lived. The adventures they’d had.
All the while, the clouds had folded in on themselves until the thick carpet of gray balanced just above the treeline. The evergreens stood as bush sentinels, protecting and guarding its inhabitants. The creeks from the bare branches no longer waved cheerily, now they scorned and warned me off, chased me, quickened my steps back along the trail toward my own home. A home which had belonged to my parents and before them, my grandparents, passed down generation to generation. A safe haven...always.
Tendrils of fog laced along trunks to snake across my path and the dusk enveloped everything like a hungry shadow devouring the very essence of light.
I paused my trek and pulled deep gulps of air into my lungs. I must get a grip. I shrugged my pack into a more comfortable position and pulled my pen light from my pocket. I wasn’t far from home, yet the distance seemed insurmountable if I were to continue to let my fantasies rule.
In the moments I had stopped, so too had all sound. Like being sandwiched between two pillows, even the creeks and rustle of the forest dimmed with the fleeing light. The click of the flashlight and its brightness brought necessary order to re-establish my purpose. This was my woods. I'd grown up here. Soon, I would be home before a comfy fire, eating the soup left warming in the slow cooker. Halloween or no, this was just another day.
The glare from the light arched across the path. The yellow moon-like beam through the thickening fog. Chill seeped through my clothing with the icy mist and I pulled my scarf tighter.
I glanced down briefly and when I returned my vision to the path, movement caught my eye. Shadows within shadows shimmered and swayed in the murk. A mirage. A figment of overactive thoughts.
Slender like a sapling, not quite as dark as the enveloping gloom. So close, yet still a great distance away to make out any distinguishable features. The apparition remained.
I approached with caution. I wasn't scared, just curious. I placed each foot precisely to avoid unnecessary noise. My ears were keenly attuned, but a cushioned stillness blanketed everything.
Now another stood close to the first specter, their shapes merging and separating with the roll of the fog against the glare of my light. I had the feeling they were walking hand and hand. Then they seemed to stop and glance back at me their features still offering nothing discernible. After a long pause where I continued toward them, they walked off the trail.
I marked their location next to a gnarled and broken trunk of a tree where a wall of fog bracketed the location as well.
Within seconds, I’d reach the spot and stopped, searching for the couple for I had no doubt they were a couple, but they were gone. I shone my light into the forest, piercing the vapor, blinking the midst from my vision. But whatever had been was no more. As I turned back to the trail, light blinked back at me like a stray sunbeam caught unaware from when it had been so vibrant in the sky only a few hours earlier. I stepped back, arched the beam across the matt of leaves and mud searching for the source. And there it was again, twinkling at me as though waiting to be found.
It was so tiny, nestled next to a fallen branch and rotting foliage. I wondered how I had noticed it. A ring…in all this undergrowth, vegetation, fog, and mist. A diamond ring.
I wiped the grime from the gem and its brilliance against the light showed its antique setting in a integrate band sculped like vines, twined together to protect the precious stone.
I look around then, half expecting to hand the jewel to the couple. I peered up and down the trail for as far as the shadows allowed, but there was nothing. What had been had now passed and within a few steps I had reached the border of my property now in possession of a ring I knew had been lost my grandmother more than seventy-years previous. A ring my grandfather brought back from France when he returned from the war to propose.
Attracted by the bit of sun glinting off the bay window, the Blue Jay lands on the metal railing.
Upon seeing his reflection, he prances back and forth along the rail, his sky-blue feathers crown majestically, while he lifts his beak and narrows his gaze to the likeness. Taking his own measure, he twists his head one way, then the other as though scrutinizing the horseshoe tattoo of blue, black and white.
Seems to his liking. Not bad for an old guy, his expression suggests.
First one way, then the other, he uses the balustrade like a runway, strutting his stuff. His claws are unable to gain purchase on the metal, but that doesn’t stop him from raising his rump high in the air for further examination in the window’s reflection.
Up come the tail feathers. The zebra-like stripes, different hues from the navy of his face, standing out starkly against the snow white of his breast and this contrast seems to catch his attention. He twists so his back is to the window and he gazes at his mirror over his shoulder.
All of a sudden, he flares his wings, tucks one then the other back into position and looks over the other shoulder while he repeats the performance.
His claws tap-tap-tap along the railing, adding background percussion to his natural singing voice. He’s really getting into this now. His head goes from side to side. He prances first one way then the other. Tail feathers up, crown in position, wings at the ready, beak pursed and--
Opps, there it is. The fate of all supermodels. The misstep. The trip. The glide right off the runway. He loses his mark and slides off the railing. Catching himself before the fall, he swoops back up to land briefly on the fence, gives his reflection a telling glare, juts his beak before emitting a low craw.
Then he’s off again, a glint of blue in the overcast sky.