Today is Friday or you could call it Monday, Sunday, Wednesday… It really doesn’t matter since every day feels the same.
Courtesy of COVID, we all have zero idea when this will be over, zero places to be and absolutely zero chance of being late. Which for those of us who had time-management as a New Year’s resolution, well, we are killing it!
At first, I was rather nervous about staying at home. I thought that I would look back at this time like many of us, as a dark hole or a bruised eye with no memory of what occurred. But no; it turns out that that is the kind of the opposite of what happened. And I think I can’t be the only one who feels this way.
Yellow roses and orange dandelions blink at me from a screen.
It was a sensory-overload that was both kind of ugly, but also very brilliant. I hope it will remind my Aunty Phil to smile even though it requires more energy now. She likes to refer to me as her ‘blonde daughter.’ I visualize her saying this so I can click ‘process’ and momentarily forget the price-tag.
I repeat this action for an arrangement of soft pink roses peaking over Lillies.
These are for mum. She deserves something lovely for her new townhouse. It’s the first place she’s bought with (mostly) all her own money. She started her career at age 52 just last year, around the same time she was granted her second divorce. She asked for it instead of a birthday present. I figure she deserves something soft and easy to look at after a long day on her feet.
With the government paying us not to work, I’ve forgotten what a bra feels like. I can’t help but think the virus is curiously making us all imitate maternity leave. Self-isolating at home, spending long amounts of time off our feet and eating way too many carbs with the excuse of ‘What else is there to do?’ It’s kind of fitting since Mother’s Day is only two days away.
I’ve noticed since I was really young that flowers have this vivid effect on people, women especially. And no that is not a sexist comment but a fact.
No woman I’ve heard of has ever said no to flowers or (unlike an ostentatious gift) acted uncomfortable when receiving them.
Flowers work on women the way naked women work on men. Or how balloons work on children. When we receive them it kind of looks like an internal button has been pushed and we malfunction. Standing still as we process unexpected happiness that we can hold. Smell and continue to see.
Flowers fill us up with warmth that holds us somewhat better than a man. Ironic as flowers are temporary but perhaps that’s why they’re so beautiful. They don’t promise to last forever, they simply exist, and then they don’t. A metaphor. A pause from the crumbly complexity of life.
Flowers were there when we were kids and things were simple. They appear on special occasions, anniversaries, hospital visits, weddings. And they’ll be there for our funerals ( the ultimate test to show, you weren’t a total asswhole in life, is if someone buys you flowers when your not alive to see them. )
Gifted with the element of surprise, they evoke emotion even in the stiffest of women. Independence; a trait learned out of necessity suddenly becomes liquid.
Sad fact- women don’t often receive flowers.
Especially if they’ve been married a while. At sewing college where the median age is married and over 35, they tell me that after the first 10-20 anniversaries both parties give up on romance.
The last woman I gave flowers to was the first lady I’ve met who shares the same birthday as me. Gaylene, my sewing teacher.
She is always the most qualified woman in the room.
Despite working in fashion, her husband of 27 years wears only wife-beater singlets 365 days a year, she complains. She has 4 degrees and 0 kids and wears a black-stone on her wedding finger.
I gave her flowers as a thank you for opening her doors to me on her day off after I had a tight deadline and my machine broke under the pressure.
The roses I chose for her were the kind you would see be thrown at the feet of a ballerina after her performance. The shade of a porcelain doll’s face with the tips dipped a stronger, deeper pink.
When I gave them to her she just paused, asking me if they really were for her. She told me one late night when I was feeling exasperated by the whole love conundrum, that her husband was not the same person she married.
And at that moment I remembered, it was the way she was looking at them. Her husband was still a great man to be married to. A businessman who even over the age of 60 still kept his intimidating height and athletic stature. He was the efficient type, so much so I don’t think he would see the point in buying something with no value at all.
I decided from that day onwards, on our birthday I would buy her flowers. Because that look was worth it.
Thus, in conclusion, I spent all this week’s money on flowers.
So I think it’s safe to say COVID has definitely made me and the rest of the world see we have a bit of a problem with emotional spending. Perhaps the key is to sleep on it for two days, so rational thinking has a chance to kick in and save your bank account.
COVID has also made me realise a new dream of mine- owning a house in Normandy and hopefully living out my retired years there. Reconnecting with the grass and all the artistic pursuits I can find. The things I forgot about due to the peanut butter sandwich of career, city-living, and kids that bloat most of your life.
When you really think about it, childhood and retirement are the only times in life you get to be with yourself. To do things not for commercial interest but because life is worth living. And I think, now I know (from my dad’s weekly calls) that in the middle of the sandwich we get so caught up in it that we forget.
50 years of being temporarily distracted and then we’re back to being and stumbling across happiness on our own.
However, to finance this house in Normandy I will have to start saving now. So I really should cut back on the expensive flower diet…
But I do think it’s also important to remember that in all the Monotony of Monday, Thursdays and Fridays, it feels good to pause and be reminded that life is unexpectedly sweet sometimes.
In times of crisis like today, something a simple smile on the way home to an empty house or a tired-relationship could make all the difference. A small, somewhat insignificant act that could help someone know that even for just for a split second, they were seen by someone other than themselves.