JUST TALKING – Marilyn Armstrong

Today I got an item from Amazon. It was a “spray bidet” and I got a discount by accepting minimum packing. What I got was a product that was not the one advertised, that had clearly been opened and repacked in small plastic baggies — just like the ones I use to pack food into my refrigerator. It was missing the rubber gaskets and the pipe tape.

I know it wasn’t what I ordered because its instructions were for a different product.

This was what I ordered but it isn’t what I got.

The item was similar to what we ordered, so we installed it. The first time I tried to use it, the hose exploded and there was water everywhere. I found the biggest towel I could and mostly dried up the water. My socks were wet. My pants were wet. The floor was very wet. I was seriously pissed off.

They wanted it returned and we are in isolation. We have been warned by our doctor to not go out. Not me, not Garry. By age we are vulnerable and I’ve got asthma and had major heart surgery. Massachusetts is in surge mode on the Coronavirus. So we are not going anywhere. I eventually managed to get someone from Amazon on the phone. It’s more complicated than it used to be.

The woman who answered was working from home in Charleston, South Carolina where the temperature has dropped in the forties. Normally, she told me, they’d be up in the eighties. She hasn’t been out of the house in weeks. And she’s wondering how will we know when the virus is gone? They don’t have tests either. Owen asked his doctor the other day if he could get tested and she laughed. A lot. There are no tests in this county. There are no tests in her county.

Answer? We have no idea how we’ll know when it’s really over until they come up with a viable, tested vaccine and most people have gotten vaccinated.

We talked for almost an hour. She is in her 60s, lives alone and really needed to talk. Just talk. Laugh, chat, be human for a little while. Eventually. I had to end the conversation. Not only were my socks wet, but my pants were wet too.

Conversation in progress

But this isn’t about Amazon or the company that sent me the wrong item that was also broken. It was about how desperate we get for a simple conversation with a stranger. Normally, our world is full of little conversations with strangers, or folks we know only slightly. It’s not just our good friends or family. We have little chats with all kinds of people. It’s part of how our lives stay lively.

The lady, whose name is Annabelle, was lonely. I realized that I’m lonely too, even though I have Garry and Owen to talk to. Because our world isn’t just our friends. It’s our community and now, we have no community and we don’t know when — or how — we’ll get our community back.  Until we get enough tests to see who has had it, who currently has it, we can’t know. No matter how much bullshit we get from Trump, we are unready. The tests have not arrived and have not been distributed. We aren’t ready to go back out there. I think we all know it too.

We really need a new president and a complete redo of our government. Now, all we need to do is figure out how to get it done without spiking the virus anew.

Categories: Marilyn Armstrong, Photography

Tags: , , ,

17 replies

  1. I’m about ready to start giving my phone number out to my blogging friends, just so I can have someone other than my husband and Puppy Cody to talk to. And I’m one of those severely anti-social people who’s never been into long conversations. But you’re right; I miss the daily short interactions with other people, whether it be co-workers, store clerks, restaurant workers, etc.


  2. what I’m wondering is if you did have the test and you were negative would you be the one to set free? Or if you tested positive, then would you be the one to allow out because you already had it. Obviously, they not only don’t have testing kits, they don’t have any protocol in place.


  3. Wait. Didn’t our president say that anyone who wants a test can get a test and that the U.S. is testing more people than any other country? He’s not lying, is he?


  4. Going to the store and wearing masks–you can’t even see anyone to know if they are smiling or scowling at you. When I was paying for my groceries yesterday, the cashier asked how I was doing. I told her she can’t see, but behind my mask I was smiling. Lonely, much?


  5. I’m a firm believer that there’s a difference between alone and lonely — I have for many years been quite happy being alone, with the many daily contacts that occur in ‘normal’ life. I’m realizing that spending 3 hours in the evening on the phone with 2 different callers is perhaps an indication that I and my friends are having attacks of the lonelies!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I can relate to this. Until I moved to Sisters Beach most of my days were full of those little interactions. My co-workers at the Op Shop and all the customers that came in, the staff at the post office and supermarket and the two cafes I visited most often. I lived in Geeveston for a long time so I rarely went into town without running into someone I knew. If I went to Hobart I might chat with the bus driver or other passengers or people waiting at the bus stop. Now my interactions are mainly with the people who run the local shop. Those “good mornings” that I exchange with fellow dog walkers are the only other times I talk to anyone. I wouldn’t say I was lonely but I do miss having the freedom to come and go. The trips to Wynyard and Burnie and my new volunteering job would have given me all the outside contact I needed.
    I know it is early to think about it but are there plans in place for how voting will be managed if people are still having to self isolate by November? I daresay it won’t be as bad by then but for at-risk people like you and Garry it still may not be safe to be in a crowded polling place. Will you be able to vote by mail?


  7. But what about the sprayer? Did she say you’d be able to return it?


    • We won’t have to return it. We’ll get our money back plus a $20 extra for the mess this caused. Anyway, what would they do with it? It’s BROKEN. My guess is this company makes a variety of similar products (they all look identical) and they pull one that had been returned and just packed it. It wouldn’t be the first time that has happened to us. Their packers have to work so fast, it’s a miracle they get anything right.


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