Posted in Life and Family, Notepad Conversations

Keeping Track

We sat outside today — nice and sunny. It’s strange how the great outdoors has a cheering effect on a person — must be all that Vitamin D streaming down. My sister has been hard at work getting the garden neat and tidy, whereas I tend to do the indoor chores. I told Mum one of the things that drives me nuts is putting a thousand-and-one bits of cutlery into the dishwasher, then putting them all away again when they’re clean. She said it used to drive her bats as well. It helps to leave the cutlery basket out and put cutlery straight in while waiting for the dishwasher to fill up, but then everything collects again on plates and in dishes when the dishwasher is running, so it’s not something we can do all the time. Maybe I can get a spare cutlery basket from somewhere and exhort people to put their own cutlery in.

Just when everybody was saying lockdown would be a great time to start keeping a diary, I stopped writing mine. I’m not a consistent blogger either but could try to combine the two for a while. I’d like to write a little every other day.

I was saying in my last blog post how we haven’t been out, but when people from another household were allowed to visit if they kept their distance and preferably if we sat outside, we had a friend over for coffee in the garden — not today; a little while ago. Like the one who died, she took us out for coffee sometimes before the lockdown, and wrote conversations with me. I enjoyed these because we have similar political views and she has a good sense of humour. I had a notepad with me at the patio table but mostly kept quiet and let them talk. Joyce wrote a note to say they were talking about how easy it is to lose track of the days during lockdown. I sat and thought about this for a while, then wrote that if Death in Paradise wasn’t on TV, it was probably Saturday. She smiled and went on talking with Mum, and after a while I wrote on the pad that if there was a bucketload of Columbo on television, it was more likely to be Sunday. We smiled, then laughed a little, then disintegrated and laughed a lot. I didn’t intend it to be that funny, but we got a little hysterical. Probably anything would seem amusing when we finally got company!

Sometimes I worry I live too much in my own head — for instance, if there is a group of people online and a few people talk while others read and remain silent, you think maybe everyone agrees with those who are speaking. You think if they didn’t agree, they would say so. I don’t think that is true, though, and we have to keep alternative realities in our heads as we go along. Perhaps the people speaking are the only ones who think something while everybody else is just ignoring it and letting things pan out. I found myself wondering about this in the empire-building game today. A few people were being quite outspoken about how things should be arranged in the group. I thought the leaders might object, but they said very little. One person left without a word, but I suspect he was planning to go somewhere else anyway. Did he leave because of what the other people said, or did it have nothing to do with it? Lacking any kind of feedback, we can’t make assumptions, but I have a bad habit of constructing narratives of what might be going on. Perhaps we can’t help but do that in trying to make sense of our world, but we stumble through the fog and make wrong turnings.

I used to wonder why people would listen to things they didn’t agree with and say nothing whatsoever, but one of the reasons could be that they wish to avoid it turning into a slanging match. Debate rarely seems to work and people never change their minds — at least not when others are looking! Actually, I’d be wrong — people do change their minds, but only if they find new information that they trust.

The game developers brought in a new feature that was unpopular. The very first day it appeared, I called it a hamster wheel, saying it was too much work to be fun. One of the group leaders sounded a bit cold, saying more advanced players needed something extra to do, and the feature was optional — we didn’t have to do it if we didn’t want to. I had to acknowledge that was true, though secretly I was disappointed by the unfriendly response. I kept quiet for several days, then suddenly the same person accepted a bunch of my trades. He’s been a bit absent and hasn’t been playing the game much, so I wasn’t expecting it — wondered if it was an olive branch. I don’t know. I’m probably guilty again of sketching out a narrative that isn’t true! Maybe we all do, all the time. Maybe he didn’t mean to sound cold just as I didn’t mean to sound grumpy, and maybe he needed these goods for something.

It’s just a game anyway; I don’t take it that seriously. It just interests me how it shadows real life, causing me to think about human interactions.

Time to sleep.


I live in the UK with two cats -- Samson and Delilah.

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