Christmas Lights

It’s Thursday night and I’m sitting on the balcony, surrounded by Christmas lights.

A few of us in my apartment block have dragged out our lights (one neighbour admitted she hadn’t actually taken them down) in an effort to brighten up our lives in the midst of the lockdown.

I’ve been working from home for over four weeks, and the balcony has become one of my favourite places in the apartment. My apartment is reasonably small, and so getting out of bed, having a shower and then heading into my “home office” is a reasonably short commute. Whenever I receive a phone call, I’ll head to the balcony, as it’s a lovely place to have a conversation. I’ve also done a few video conference calls from the balcony. Right now, it’s a lovely place, as the trees in the street are still covered in leaves. That won’t be the case in a few weeks time, as winter arrives.

At my end of the Crown Street, Surry Hills, things are very quiet, both during the day and at night. The supermarket (which is only a short walk away) remains open, along with a few restaurants doing take-away.

I love that the normally very busy Italian restaurant, Via Napoli has transformed itself into a supermarket.

At night, the only activity you see on Crown Street is from the cyclists delivering food. With their single bicycle lights on a darkened street, my mind has gone to European gothic film noir. “Bring out your dead, bring out your dead” has been the refrain going through my mind.

Things, of course, aren’t anywhere near as bad as that in Australia. Though most of the media attention has been on reactions in Europe and the United States, I remain more concerned about other parts of the world where the health system isn’t anywhere near as good. I worry about places in Southern Africa. In common with them, we’re in the Southern Hemisphere where the flu season generally arrives around six months later than in the Northern Hemisphere. Although I know the conventional wisdom seems to be that we’re passing the peak of the problem here in Australia, I wonder if things might actually get worse. As winter arrives, our immune systems weaken. 

I have been getting out and about a bit, with a few “big walks”, providing welcome distractions from being at home all the time. I’ve also been catching up with friends via the phone and video conference, and am probably seeing and talking to them more often than I would otherwise.

Centennial Park was lovely. It was great to see people (safely) enjoying the park, getting some exercise, playing with frisbees and footies, and even some nearby tennis (singles, not doubles). And, as you can see, there was some lovely late afternoon light.
I also went for a big walk on Good Friday, all the way to Circular Quay, and then came back via a combination of train and tram.

The line between work and life remains blurred. When you’re working at home, I know you’re supposed to clearly define the lines by arriving at  desk, sitting down and doing you’re work and then turning off. But the reality, for me at least, is that work, I’ll meet people face to face, go to different offices and buildings, and go out for lunch. The idea of sitting at a desk from 9-5 doesn’t match the reality of my normal working life. 

After four weeks of staying at home, I started to feel a little down and depressed earlier in the week. I went to bed for a day, and I’m feeling much better now. Hopefully not much longer like this, though I’m not too hopeful.

3 Replies to “Christmas Lights”

  1. We have to keep reminding ourselves how much better off we are than so many in the world. Doesn’t really seem to make it any less hard though.

  2. I love the idea of Christmas lights on the balcony. There are lots of teddies in windows and rainbows around here. These small gestures to community are so delightful and heartwarming.

    I really hear you on being stuck at a desk all day, my “usual” work days never look like that either. I miss the random face-to-face human interaction being in the office brings. I thought this article ( really nailed the challenges with video conferencing – likening it to trying to watch 10 tv shows, while simultaneously looking in the mirror and attempting to follow along with a document.

    Well done on taking to the bed for the day – it’s really important to practice immense self care right now!

    1. Going to bed for the day? I had a cousin write to me saying she was also feeling a little overwhelmed, and was planning to do the very same thing. Re video conferencing, mostly we’re now using video only as a default, both for the bandwidth issue, as well as the exhaustion of it all.

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