How to survive a pandemic in the woods


13 Nov
13Nov

My heartfelt gratitudes to those who read my scribbles, enjoyed it and encouraged me to write more!  I applaud you for hacking your way through the proverbial thicket of overtly pretentious words.  My facetious sense of humour is not, seemingly, lost on everyone.  To the rest, I apologise for making you gag on the tongue in your cheek!  Our local pedantry quickly pointed a well-manicured finger at the myriad of grammatical and syntactical flaws.  To them I point a finger in return, the middle one!  
Pedantry, luckily was not the only reception I received as mentioned before.  Some people were quite curious to know how we fared and survived the recent mini-apocalypse.  I’d like to thank you all for your well-wishes, cigarettes and charity wine donations!  I think by all accounts 2020 is not a year we are likely to look back on with fondness or nostalgia. I certainly hope that all the babies that were made during lockdowns the world over, will turn into good human beings and show no traits of their birth year! The economic cardiac arrest especially the part that concerns us, hospitality, hit us perhaps a little harder than most.  Organic Origins is still very much in its infancy and a prolonged spate of no income, like for many hotels, restaurants, bars and brothels -was critically counterproductive.   I hope that our ethos of sustainable living has, at the very least, helped a little to fortify our resolve to seek more autonomous ways of going about this special thing called living.  
Here in South Africa, as in a few other faux-democracies, the sale of cigarettes and alcohol were banned.  Our intrepid leaders had no confidence in our ability to handle our opioids with the tough times they had planned! The banks in their benevolence said ‘We know you’re not allowed to work so we’ll give you a little discount but sell your children if you must!  Bills, like time, wait for no one.’  The mathematics of calculating how many face masks to knit at breakneck speed and sell to pay the mortgage is all the more stressful without a drink to steady your hand…
Some good fortune came quite timeous one day as the lack of nicotine and ethanol in my veins reached critical levels.  I had been prowling the house with shaky hands and twitching eyes, looking for something to drink, sniff or smoke.  I had started a near full-blown revolt in our local shop when the lady with the hand sanitiser refused, even though I initially asked politely, to spray the bottle into my mouth!   I still have no idea why Dayle had opened the cistern of the toilet that day.  We hadn’t had to drink from there since the days we moved in!  Nonetheless, she appeared from the bathroom, smiling and in her hand a full bottle of Gin!  My stoic resolve and naturally calm demeanour, the only things stopping me from dive-tackling her across the table and pouring the fiery elixir down my throat!   The sagely hero who had had the foresight to store such a special thing in such a clever place, obviously knowing of the hard times that were to come, has still not been found.  Needless to say, the lids of every toilet cistern in the neighbourhood were consequently ripped from its place with wild abandon, oft’ times while they were still in use.  Desperate times as they say, call for desperate measures. 
As the search for drugs and booze became more feral and futile, my hand began to steady again.  My wet brain became clear once more, my thoughts lucid and coherent.  Apart from the one time an elderly neighbour was spotted brazenly walking around her garden with a beer in her hand.  Suffice it to say I left her on a soft patch of clovers after I choked her out and raided her house for the rest of her ‘survival cache’. It occurred to me then, as she gargled and her eyes glazed over, how terribly unprepared we are, for times of true suffering and scarcity.  I mused at the idea of being a family on the rearguard of Poland during World War 2.  When instead of trading cigarettes and alcohol on the black market, we claw at each other over a few potatoes…
I hope you can discern the tongue-in-cheek humour by now and I thank you for reading.  All jokes aside, living sustainably may very soon be much more than just a fashionable holiday.  We all have traded old skills for cheap comforts.  When the commodity systems around us start failing us, it’s time to get back in the kitchen and back in the garden.  Here in Hogsback it was easy to see that community and connectedness are the bastions of resilience.  It makes me feel good to know that during tough times, people will help each other.  Even if only to make their own suffering more bearable.
And that is a good thing…

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