Places of dis-interest

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1 January 1970

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There’s nothing funny about the C word. Apparently our list of banned (or delicate) C words is growing daily.

The C word, in this case, is Covid. There is nothing funny about Covid, but I do find humous in the most awkward places and dark times. And so we arrive at my latest Covid test. Again, I emphasise the C word should not to be trivialised. However, I do live a trivial life.

I sat in the pre-waiting room to get another Covid test. The first one was months ago, necessitated after I hugged a close contact of a close contact. I wasn’t going to go for the test, but the Aussie nurse on the healthline scared the bejesus out of me. I believe her advice to me (with a strong Aussie accent and husky smoker’s voice) was, “If I were you, Polly, I wouldn’t leave the house until this plague is done. Give it a year or two.” I rather wished I hadn’t mentioned my mild asthma and low iron levels.

So, I sat in the pre-waiting room/holding area, fully masked, hands practically mummified from liberal lashings of sanitiser, and a patient form to fill out.

All the usual questions, including the standard “Name” and “Prefer to be called” section. Being me, I wrote down my given name, but paused over my preferred name. I’ve always written down in bold letters, and highlighted where possible “POLLY!!”, but for some reason, not even known to me, I considered writing, “Batman”, “Electra” and “Yuss Queen!”.

I’m a little curious as to whether they would have addressed me by any of those monikers, but after an appropriately muffled giggle to myself, I wrote “POLLY!!” with the standard two exclamation marks. I completed the form and, still waiting, decided to check out my Covid tracer app.

I’m sure I’m not alone when I say I always get a little judgy scanning people’s places of interest. It’s humiliating enough to have Ashley Bloomfield “out” each Covid carrier with a list of places that might have been contaminated, but it’s in black and white listed for all of us to study, dissect and create imaginary narratives about the persons movements.

“Were they trying to go to every café in the city?” Or, “How hungry can one man be? I wonder if he’s fat. I bet he’s hefty.” Then there’s, “What was with the motel and the gym and then the late night supper? Was she having an affair?”

I looked at my tracking. I felt alarmed. Alarmed at how boring my tracking and places of interest would read. Surely I was more interesting than I looked on the app. Should I scroll back a few days? Apparently not. This is what the places of interest in the last 48 hours would look like if my test came back positive: New World, Bunnings, Countdown, chiropractor, the same New World.

I cannot even begin to form a narrative about this person. This “me” (alias Batman, Electra, and Yuss Queen!). My places of interest suggested I was a supermarket cruiser with a stiff neck and a need for a couple of screws and a good drill – think about that as you will.

My places of interest suggested I was a supermarket cruiser with a stiff neck and a need for a couple of screws and a good drill

I may hold the record for the least interesting places of interest. Was my tracer app telling me I was sensible and considered, or that I really needed to get out more? Maybe go on a date or attend a cool live music event? Such a quandary. Was I boring, or just really, really boring?

The next part of this story will help you understand me a little better perhaps. I must first tell you that what follows occurred after receiving a negative test, and we were back in level one.

I got out my trusty journal and wrote a list. Then, with the demeanour of a woman on an important mission, I got into my wee car. With the list clenched in my hand, I checked in with my tracer app at a hipster café I had no right stepping in to – I don’t have mermaid hair or a nicely trimmed beard. On to an art gallery (for all of five minutes), a very chic and exclusive gym (I honestly had to enter speedily behind someone who had a swipe card – I’m such a creep), a skate apparel shop, and then the pièce de résistance, the adult store Peaches and Cream. Such a ridiculous human. Such a pointless, nonsensical series of brief encounters with a life more interesting.

Who am I? Oh, don’t be me. The thing is I do live a fairly simple life, except when I don’t. It’s either photo shoots and funerals, or the supermarket and hanging out washing. Maybe I should say yes to dates and attempt a trip to a movie theatre a little more often.

Confession: I stopped at New World on my way home. All that fake café life, artsy, exercising, creeping, hipster, naughty lingerie loving activity, does build up a hankering for bread, milk, and 300g of pork and chicken luncheon sausage.

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