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Panic is hovering. Reversing, I crunch brutally over the gutter and a “bad driver” warning beep sounds. Stamp on the brakes, wonder if it’s OK to leave the stupid thing sticking out from judgmental neater cars. It looks like a lot of other things in my life now: chaotic.
There’s the unbooked ultrasound, unpaid BAS instalment, unsaid things. The last ep of the Beckham doco to watch, the condolence card to Kerry to be written, the deadline looming for the book manuscript.
How does everyone feel about a post-races snap lockdown? Credit: SPECIALX CUP
The floors to wash, the summer doona to be found, the native flowers to send – shamefully late – to Maria in honour of her citizenship ceremony. Fabulous woman, welcome officially to Australia, where at least one coastal matron is battling.
Nursing five broken ribs, Dad’s finally out of hospital but Mum’s back in. Their toy poodle has to be dropped to the groomer, a mobility walker sourced. Blood pressure drugs are ready at the chemist, a fruit loaf sliced into a paper bag at the Belgian bakery for a convalescent afternoon tea.
I belt back and forwards between Geelong, their place and mine, arranging babysitters for our dogs on the fly, fielding calls from my sisters two states away. My husband is in the city, my heart is in turmoil about our daughter moving for work to the Gold Coast, my teeth hurt all day from grinding all night.
Thursday morning, and my mates Mia, Jayde and Flip jump on our group text. The opening gambit of “mushroom lady’s gorn – arrested” segues to reality TV disappointments and the sighting of a male mutual acquaintance rocking down Collins Street in elastic waisted shorts to how under the pump everyone’s feeling.
One of us has had COVID and a chest infection for 10 days (“The reverse kanga flu – starts in your throat, goes to your chest, then to your head, then back to your chest”) and another has a public service suggestion.
“I’d be rapt if Jacinta Allan called a snap two-week lockdown after Stakes Day. Just a quick break with curfew and five-kilometre limit to get organised and have a rest. There are so many bad viruses around and an Armadale nit plague that needs halting.”
It’s that time of the year when everything feels like its fraying at the edges. Credit: Darrian Traynor
Timing the proposed lockdown to let everyone recover from revelling in or reviling the Melbourne Cup carnival would suit Flip. A racing exec, she sends us her run sheet for the next week or so. Far out. Carbine Club lunch, Call of the Card, Government House reception, multiple hair and makeup sessions, the actual race days: “A little break after that would be a godsend.”
How does everyone else feel about a short, sharp return to lockdown days? Godsend or fresh hell?
Yeah, I know I’m just carrying on about everyday life responsibilities and should be able to cope and long lockdowns nearly sent us all mad and broke, but hey, we are in the grip of an eighth COVID-19 wave.
Last Friday, 1239 Australians were hospitalised with COVID, the highest number since July. Health officials are taking a “new business as usual” approach, dismantling the country’s emergency response, but maybe it wouldn’t be the worst thing to have Brett or Jeroen 2.0 step up and put us all in sick bay.
We could safeguard our sanity and vulnerable community members in one move. But we’d need an ironclad exit date, no homeschooling and definitely no cursed sourdough or Zoom trivia.
I ask Mia what she’d do with two weeks at her casa. “Sleep. Walk. Clean. Paint by numbers,” she says. “Not crawl to the end of the year. Have the energy to enjoy the summer holiday.”
We could all do useful things as well as regroup by lazing around. Research those $500 inflatable spas, work out where you stand on this year’s middle-class Christmas trend of two trees per household (one real, one fake but classy), read every word written by Don Winslow.
Be grateful for having parents to look after and love. Revisit reverse parking.
Kate Halfpenny is the founder of Bad Mother Media.
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