Saturday, September 19, 2020

Even cold November rain

 Dear future hubster, 

it's been a while. Time is a social construct and it's perceived differently depending on the circumstances, and the circumstances this year, I don't need to tell you, have been all over the place. Yeah I also moved countries and started working remotely so now I have 3 very distant time zones to manage but that's just the kind of things I do. 

And yet. Something has been off, or maybe everything has been off. While rationally I very well understand why it's difficult for the fascinating but also somehow dumb human brain to deal with uncertainty of this depth, width, and length, I do not particularly enjoy the experience. At all. And I have a hunch that I'm not the only one. Maybe you, dear future hubster, live in one of those neighbourhoods where they organise collective screaming at 5 pm, and if you do, I both envy and applaud you. Assuming you do participate, otherwise I think our future marriage needs to be reconsidered. Or maybe you took up some serious home-workout routine like my infamous upper neighbour in Geneva, or you've become an excellent home cook or DIY guru, all of which will be deeply appreciated by your future wife (me) when the time comes. 

However. All of these coping mechanisms are exactly that - ways to make life bearable under the current, mostly unpleasant, and hopefully temporary conditions. Some of them might be good habits that we hope would stick, but even with those, most of us are using them to help us sit this out. And it feels like we've been sitting for an eternity now, that there is nothing left to look forward to, that the only things that do happen are bad things. 

I have been feeling that way too. At times more hopeless and helpless than others. It's hard to look further than tomorrow when there is so many things that we don't know, and continue not knowing. 

It's no big news to anybody who knows me a little that when I feel that way I turn to the wise words of others. Mostly somewhat established, somewhat tacky pop stars. Music is good for you, and you don't have to feel guilty for thinking and saying those tacky words, somebody with royalty rights does it for you. Some tell you to carry on, to fight till it's over, others that it's just a moment, and this too shall pass.

And when it feels like we're never getting out of this dark, no-perspective ditch of lockdowns and hurt and pain, there is one more thing to keep in mind. I'm sure he wasn't the first one to come up with this groundbreaking thought, but if there is one thing that we've learnt from good old Axl (other than the singular "they"!) then it's that nothing lasts forever. Even this nonsense will come to an end.

Sunday, July 12, 2020


Dear future hubster,
if you thought that my saying that I don't need anybody was but a lockdown-induced hissy fit that I didn't really mean and will take back, well, let me tell you that a hissy fit it might have been, but certainly one that results in action. The action being that I used the lockdown to learn how to fold a fitted sheet. All by myself. 
I'm getting more independent by the day. 

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Alors on danse

Dear future hubster,
when the weight of global uncertainty, the anxiety of the future, the grief of what should have been and now might never be, all the plans that ended in disaster, and the boredom of having to cook for yourself for 4+ months seem to get you down, and you wonder whether your future wife also has moments of feeling like garbage, worry not.
We all do.
I also happen to be dealing with mountains of bureaucracy as moving countries is a procedure you can practice many times and still never be prepared for what the next country or employer or bank has in store for you, under the Ridiculous Requirements tab. 
I'm also bored with my own cooking. Starting to get bored with Korean dramas and I'm worried about what comes after. My covid brain stops me from enjoying long reads, but entertains me with crazy dreams instead. 
And summer is here, which this year doesn't mean anything it used to mean. My European tour was cancelled before it could take shape, and I wary even of things and places I'm currently allowed to do or visit.
Sounds gloomy, doesn't it. I'm sure you've tried all the recommended methods to make it a little less gloomy. You've established and kept a schedule, eat well, exercise somewhat regularly, limit your news consumption, keep in touch with your loved ones (except me, don't think I didn't notice that), trying to hang in there.
I've been doing the same. It works to some extent. But you know what I rediscovered recently, that works beyond that extent?
Music. Good old music to dance to. Now that it's summer and hot to Swiss standards, I have an excuse to keep the blinds down most of the time, which means I can dance like nobody can see me, because they can't. Neither can they see what I do or do not wear. Lockdown has made an impact not only on the colour of my hair, but the length of it too, so it's not only ma booty that I get to shake. My neighbours try staying in rhythm with their drilling and elevator-door-slamming, and every now and again a police car adds their vocals too, probably in a desperate attempt to fade out mine.
It's an experience I almost forgot about: having music on not as background noise, but actually for the purpose of actively listening (and dancing) to it, and it's an experience I'm thoroughly enjoying. I might not have the moves like Jagger, but I certainly have a little more endorphin in my system, and in times like this, I want all the endorphin I can get. Maybe uptown funk gon' give it to me.

Monday, June 22, 2020


Dear future hubster,
I don't know if it's a good thing, but I wanted to let you know that this week is the first time since the lockdown started that my household doesn't have any pesto.
Why yes I like living dangerously. 

Monday, May 11, 2020

It's times like these

Dear future hubster,
there are a million theories about how the "new normal" will be like. Nobody knows, of course, and that's the most unnerving thing. We don't know what to prepare for. And we don't know what's socially acceptable anymore. For people like me, sticklers for rules and also super anxious about what everybody else thinks it's a special kind of not fun. 
BUT. Since "allowed" is no longer going to cut it, and we don't know what others are comfortable with, I expect some groundbreaking habit to creep up on us. 
We will have to ask people what kind of interaction and what closeness they are willing to engage in. Is it ok to hug? Can I sit here? Whispering ok, or is that too close? And don't even get me started on the "can I touch you" bits.
Basically, we will have to constantly be ASKING FOR CONSENT. 
And it only takes a global pandemic. 

Sunday, April 19, 2020

I'll tell you all about it when I see you again

Dear future hubster,
It's been a while. I've been hiding away, not just because it's strongly recommended to the point of mandatory, but also because I've been angry.
I've been angry with pretty much everybody, and you in particular. I took it very personally that I have to go this alone, got irritated at any advice on how to deal with being stuck inside with your family or significant other, snarkily commenting that yes it must be awful to be with the people you love, and I would snap at anybody who'd tell me to take care of myself. I don't want to, OK? There's supposed to be somebody else to take care of me, so in turn, I can take care of them. Where's my future hubster when I need him most, this is what we were supposed to tell our grandchildren, how grandma made spinach twice a week but also gorgeous garlic bread so grandpa couldn't really complain, and he thought it was funny that she kept bumping into the furniture well into the second month of the lockdown, but would also very kindly and gently apply the calendula cream on her bruises. This was supposed to be a fundamental bonding time, and we missed it.
So when this is over and you show up, I will have to ask you where the hell you've been, and I suspect you'll turn out to be one of those people who were, in fact, taking care of others. I bet you're a hero somewhere on the frontlines, so technically you're protecting me, my health and my sanity, by not being around. Well played. 
Meanwhile, I'm doing my own bonding. With my hula hoop and tiny hand weights, but also with myself, with what I want and what I have. I might still be considering slamming the door on anybody's face who tries walking into my life once we're allowed to do that again. I might still tell them "You weren't here. I don't need you now." But I'm also taking note of all that is here. I look around and register what it looks like living through a major historical event that I most certainly didn't choose. These are the books I read (or, more accurately, open and close). These are the series I watch and re-watch. This is the food I dream of, and then this is the food I cook. These are the people who keep me from losing it; the people who protect my sanity by actually being around. 
These are the stories I will tell our grandchildren, and you will bring your own. 

Monday, March 30, 2020

Stay on these roads

Dear future hubster,
I hope you're well. I really do. I never put this line in emails because honestly, why would the other person not be well, but right now, all I want to know first thing of everybody is whether they are ok. 
I hope you have enough food even if it's getting boring, and toilet paper, or replacement. I hope you're safe, don't need medical attention, but would have access to it if you did. And I hope you have people to talk to, since we weren't smart enough to exchange numbers before this happened.
I know there's this poem out there about the people staying home and reading and listening and exercising and healing. I know we're all trying to make sense of this all, put some meaning where there isn't any, because otherwise we might go crazy much faster. I know we're looking on the bright side and trying to make the best of a difficult situation.
I just hope you know, hope we all know and don't forget to acknowledge that that's what this is. A difficult situation. It's scary, it's sad, it's hard. And there's no shame in saying that. There's no shame in admitting that we're worried about pretty much everybody we ever met (and occasionally about future spouses we haven't met), that we are sick of being part of a major historical event, that we are personally offended by all cancelled plans, even though we understand that it is for the better. It's okay to feel the loss we're experiencing.
You know what else is okay? Not doing more. More of anything. I know we're getting the impression that this is a great time to reinvent ourselves and do everything we normally don't have time for, and bring out Our Real Selves, and frankly I don't know whom that is directed to. Most of us either work full time from home, or have children to take care of, or both, and those who don't probably have just lost their source of income so they might not be in the mood for taking up online pottery classes right now. Anxiety is tiring, not knowing how much longer we have to worry even more so, and not knowing what the future will look like can be downright terrifying. If you don't have the energy to learn Arabic now, don't. This is not a study leave we decided to take. This is a lockdown to save us from things that are worse than this lockdown. Best we can do is to sit it out. Actually, quite literally that's sort of the only thing we can do. And there's no recipe on how to do it well: we will only know how we've done when we're after it. Once it's over.