Another week in the new normal and it has been surprisingly productive, mostly in terms of unasked for insight into situations that have so far been purely hypothetical.
Life as a film
We had to venture out of the village this week, to stock up on non-perishables in larger quantities than are available at the village shop and, you know, to move around a bit. There’s a Metro Cash & Carry by the road to the city and as far as Big C remembered, it was before the checkpoint (we have checkpoints at cities. No one goes in or out without a good reason supported by a document). It turned out he was wrong. The checkpoint was before Metro.
We’ve all seen such plots: freedom fighters/terrorists/random people trying to get through a checkpoint set up because of dictatorship/apocalypse/alien invasion. And now we got to live it, to experience the full spectrum of emotions. Lucky, right?
I started fretting the moment I saw the checkpoint. What if they didn’t let us through? That was relatively all right, we would just do a U-turn and go back to the village. But what if they let us through and then didn’t let us go back? All our stuff was at the house. We could not just turn tail and run back to Sofia without our, well, everything.
They let us through after we said we’re only going to Metro and right back to the village afterwards. I continued fretting, naturally, because we now faced the much bigger danger of not being let go back. This was the worst shopping experience I’ve ever had and no amount of assurances from the rest of the family that of course they’ll let us through, they saw us and remembered us, and they will see where we’re coming from was enough to calm me down. When I worry, I worry 110%.
Half an hour and the biggest bill I’ve ever seen in a grocery shop later we were ready to go and I was ready to cry, plead, and raise hell if they didn’t let us through. They did, with barely a glance. This was one major bout of anxiety wasted but I’m not complaining. I’m already actively preparing for the next challenge: going back to Sofia and then coming back from Sofia. We have the documents. We have masks. And yet you never know.
It’s a little bit similar to going through customs at the airport. You know (at least, I know) you’re not carrying anything illegal or anything to declare that you don’t plan on declaring and yet there is this uneasiness that you are a criminal. It’s probably some inherent sense of guilt, a feeling that because you’ve lived for more than five years you must have done something illegal and even if you’ve forgotten about it, they will remember, they being law enforcement. Or it could be the weirdness of having to go through checkpoints when there’s no war, I don’t know. It’s good there’s no war, though, so that’s all right.
The many faces of fear
While you’re young, you worry about your parents dying, which is natural. You think you know what fear is. Then your pet gets ill, you fear the worst and you think you know what fear is. And then you make a new human being and, hey, that’s a whole new universe of fear that you could not have imagined (I did. To a degree. That’s why I didn’t want to have children before I had one.). Now, you think, you definitely know what fear is. Until one day you feel something crawl up your leg, you shake the leg and what drops from it on the floor is small, black, and round, and it has eight legs but it’s not a spider.
Big C had a close encounter with a tick last summer. The freak latched onto his abdomen and Big C spent an exciting four weeks after it was removed, watching for symptoms of any of the many interesting diseases these freaks carry.
Me? I broke the world record in fast undressing, experienced a sudden and deep loss of interest in all gardening activities up to and including walking through the garden and could not stop scratching myself all day. Oh, I also killed the freak. With a hand hoe. Because after two minutes of stomping on it, it was still alive and wriggling its disgusting legs. It no longer wriggles. It is in pieces. So is my gardening enthusiasm but those pieces I will put back together.
We’re spraying for ticks as soon as we gain access to a DIY shop. Also, from now on, I’m only going into the garden in light (as in, light-coloured) leggings, long socks, and a hat. I’m sure ticks have their place in the great cycle of nature although I doubt they serve a purpose other than being vectors for all those exciting viruses and bacteria. I respect their right to exist. But I would have been happier if they had chosen a less parasitic vector.
All in all, it has been a very insightful week. We also got a new pet. It’s a caterpillar. I guess once you get a taste of keeping pets, you can never stop, even when there’s a shortage of the more usual ones, the shortage resulting from the loss of our last cat two years ago. The caterpillar is large, fluffy, and has black and brown stripes. I’ve no idea what insect it will become if it survives Little C’s care but it will be interesting to watch. Interesting is the word of the season.