Then I lay awake for an hour trying not to think about it. As good sleep is necessary to keeping safe and healthy during the pandemic this was all unfortunate. However, the combination of a traditional religious culture, marital bad luck, and travel to Berlin made for a thoroughly absorbing story.
I noticed, though, that the heroine never witnesses a sane, fruitful heterosexual relationship in Berlin. There is a startling amount of homosexual cuddling, but then I suppose that would be the most startling aspect of contemporary life to a 19 year old from an isolated religious community. What I remember from my very first day of university, besides wearing the absolute wrong clothing, are posters of grainy black-and-white photos of same-sex couples snogging stapled on trees and taped to lamp-posts with the superscription: "Enjoying your orientation?" That was startling. It also made me feel that I did not belong. It was the era of the kiss-in, when people with same-sex attractions would make out with each other to make "the straights" feel uncomfortable, to make us stew in our revulsion. The posters belonged to that school of thought. Come to think of it, at least the heroine of Unorthodox was witnessing affection, not an "F.U., straight Catholic girl" demonstration.
Life on lockdown is getting more difficult. I saw, to my horror, that I made a lot of stupid mistakes in an article I finished yesterday, the worst of which an editor caught, but he didn't catch them all. I think I will request different hours of work, so that I can work during the mornings and knock off at 5 PM instead of 8 PM.
I miss the exercise club so much, I'm drinking coffee today. It's not just the physical and psychological benefits of spin class and barre: it's talking to other women. It's being just another ordinary woman among women, occasionally talking about non-political women stuff.
On International Women's Day (which admittedly is itself political) I was asked on my way out, just like everyone else, if I would read two lines of a poem about being a woman to a camera. I would. I didn't ask if only biological woman were being asked, or what the charities the project was supporting were. I just did it because I like the club and the women who work there. The benefit the fundraiser was offering to women being helped by those charities was free classes. At any rate, sometimes I just want to be a woman among other women doing something together because we are women.
Going for walks and digging up the dandelions is not a perfect substitute for being around other women. This is not to say there are no difficulties between women or among women in women's schools, clubs, etc. There is indeed such a thing as toxic femininity. However, if I could transport myself across the ocean by clicking my heels and saying "There's no place like home," I'd do it in a shot to have brunch with a female friend back in Toronto. As the brunch places are all shut, I'd risk the subway to get to her house. I've been self-distancing since mid-March, I haven't been on public transit or a mile from my house since St. Joseph's Day, and I've never had a symptom. My friend would be safe from me.
Anyway, what can I say? Yesterday was dedicated to the dandelions, the walk and trying to write about who said what about whom or what. I made a number of phone calls to New Mexico because not only democracy but faith dies in darkness. While I worked my mind veered between "We need to trust the bishops on this suspension of the sacraments" and "We need to call out the bishops on this suspension of the sacraments." I feel like one of the robot women on "Star Trek" who, being unable to cope with contradiction, conk out. And at the same time a virus floats about punishing both the "old with underlying health conditions" and the "young, fit and healthy."
Here is a photograph from our walk yesterday. The tide was out, farther out than I ever remember it being. The shellfish, sand and shingle seemed to stretch halfway to Fife. We counted three golf balls and a tyre.
CHEERFUL UPDATE: A 10 kilogram bag of potting soil has arrived. Tomorrow morning I will commence planting.
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