Lifestyle changes

“Incessant company is as bad as solitary confinement.”

–Virginia Woolf’s diary, 10 August 1940

My sister and her fiancé went to Hawaii last week, and they brought my mom and me beautiful leis made from flowers from his grandmother’s yard (maybe a tuberose?). I’ve never worn a real lei before, and I was blown away by what an incredible sensory experience it was. The delicate weight of the flowers, their amazing fragrance, and the coolness of the petals against the back of my neck… it was delicious, like being in a cloud of flowers. I couldn’t help but feel more relaxed!


Life is going to be a little different around here for the next few months. Both Erik and I are accustomed to working from home all day, but now he’s started a consulting gig that requires him to work in Palo Alto.* Because we only have one car, this necessitates some maneuvering. We’re still trying to figure out all our options, but long story short, if I have to go out during the day, at least one of us will be highly inconvenienced that day.**

Yesterday was such a day. Erik dropped me off at the train station and I rode to Berkeley for breakfast, then to El Cerrito for yoga and lunch. After that I parked myself at the El Cerrito Library for the next five-plus hours until Erik was able to return from the peninsula. I enjoyed the walking about, but it was rainy and my parcels weighed me down, so that I felt sore and tired by the time I got to the library. I was displeased at having to eat out for all three meals. And I’ve noticed from past experience that I have trouble remaining in one place for longer than a few hours; after that I get antsy and have trouble concentrating. So it was, yesterday.

I seem calmly adaptable at times, but at other times I think I am really a picky, neurotic creature of habit. Why else should sitting at the library all afternoon make me so fidgety and irritable? I brought plenty of work, but after a point I just couldn’t focus on it. I was cold, hungry, tired, sore, thirsty, and bored, and feeling very grubby. And I started to really hate kids. My maternal instincts were much stronger when I was younger; isn’t that weird? These days, set me down in a group of kids when I’m trying to get something done, and I just want them to go away and cloister themselves in their homes or schools and leave us grown-ups in peace. Perhaps the screaming baby two tables away at breakfast ill-disposed me toward young ‘uns for the rest of the day.

Anyway, I’m at home today, but I’ll probably have to spend another day or two out this week when I go to yoga. So the challenge of working in public places is not over yet! As I say, I can do it easily for a few hours, but after that I lose focus and start hating everything. So it’s that fractious feeling I will have to learn to overcome.

*Palo Alto is an hour away from where we live, one-way, but in traffic it can take much longer than that.

**Our house is a pain to get to without a car. You can take a slow combination of public transit options to the bottom of the hill, but from there you have to walk about .7 miles up a steep slope, and there are no sidewalks. I won’t do it because drivers tend to take those curves really fast, and we ourselves have nearly hit pedestrians several times, through no fault of ours (and sometimes no fault of theirs). So unless I’m feeling quite awake, the weather is nice, and I’m not carrying much, I don’t believe it’s worth the risk.