In this strange and rather bewildering hiatus of time, I have been unable to begin my new job. Instead we have regular zoom meetings in which I have to remember to regularly mute myself so the other participants cannot hear either the dog or my hubby bumbling around in the background. I also have to remember to at least try and wear a different top once a week, otherwise they will be organising a clothing fund for me.
Now the dog is very uncertain of all this. He is simply not used to us both being around quite so much. I think it has curtailed his own personal lifestyle of which we are blissfully unaware. This means he needs a new regime.
I sit at my laptop and watch him. Over to the patio doors- fair enough. He can see the garden and the cats marching saucily across the top of the fence. Then he comes to lie under the table. Again, perfectly valid behaviour as he has discovered that as the day wears on, there are often unexpected titbits which can rain down like manna from Heaven. Then he does the wall thing.
He will stand stock still, slightly behind me as though he is on the way to somewhere else and just stare. I look around, nothing that I can see. He will do this for a good minute or two, then comes to stand next to me and stares at the blank wall. I look across at him, he’s not moving, his ears aren’t twitching so he’s not listening. And then I begin to wonder- has he developed a new coping strategy for these unnerving times?
Perhaps we are all so distracted most of the time that we never get to do some “internal wall staring”, where we face down our own souls?
I believe very strongly in the validity of boredom. Although I grew up in a hot climate with a swimming pool, we were far away from various friends- it meant at least an hour’s drive across town for mum and there were buses only once a day. So I learnt to deal with boredom. I was an avid reader. I played the piano, I embarked on huge, knitting projects, sewed my own clothes and learnt how to self-entertain.
I was also often alone with just me and my thoughts and I believe this has stood me in good stead for now. I do not expect to be endlessly entertained and it worries me when I see young children playing a game on their parent’s phone as they are wheeled around a shop in their buggy. Look up, look out, observe and learn that sometimes, we are stuck in situations we don’t want to be in.
And that most of all, we can all learn a lot from a long hard stare at a wall with just ourselves for company.