In those first few days I was feeling a bit lost; I still am feeling a bit lost actually, but I was feeling lost and worrying that I might lose touch- with friends I hadn’t even made yet. And I wanted to do something like so many people making scrubs and face masks, I wanted to contribute right away before anything settled. We have this cardboard box full of plastic farmyard animals from the 70’s and it’s always lying around, and all the animals have been gnawed, most have had legs or noses or tails bitten off, and they’re grimy, visibly dirty from all the snot-nosed little tykes to have coveted them throughout history, in the manner of what we now refer to as the old ways. This archive of innocuous saliva seemed undeniably poignant.
Meanwhile Patti had asked the whole class to add our full addresses to an ‘incase of emergency’ pdf, and it struck me as so deeply personal to know exactly where everyone was. I could google your houses and find out how much rent you paid, walk down your street, and after all this was over I could knock on your real door.
I decided to send everyone an anonymous letter, with a farmyard animal to remember, a seed and some other bits and bobs- I tried to be personal where I could, and helpful. The objects were branded with hand-painted truisms, intended to be humorous and explanatory but no doubt having the opposite effect. Looking back the loose pasta was probably a bone of contention.
But truthfully I knew it was inappropriate- and potentially distressing. I was thinking about the strange new conflict we were all experiencing in wanting to help and spread love through our communities, and simultaneously suspecting everyone, judging their cleaning rituals, and allowing old ladies to stumble in to the road unaided.
I would do it again.
With thanks to Ines, Patti et al for the documentation