Eating Fruit in Precarious Times

It’s breakfast time at home, and I place a bowl of fresh fruit in front of my kids, who are busy tucking into their usual fare of peanut butter and jam toast.

“You need to have at least one fruit each before we leave for school,” I say.

The nine-year-old looks up from her half-eaten slice of bread, fixes her gaze on the fruit bowl and then on me. 

“What, you think eating a piece of fruit is going to stop us from catching the Coronavirus?” The look on her face oozes contempt. 

“Ugh, no,” I say, “but eating fruit is a good thing, no matter what.” 

The teenager appears oblivious to what’s going on, or she is faking obliviousness, aided by a pair of air pods stuck in her ears. I have to wave my hands in front of her face to get her attention.

“Fruit,” I say, pointing at the bowl. “Eat.”

As I am writing this blog, I am keeping an eye on my email inbox, in case the kids’ school sends a message declaring that school is to be closed down. I don’t deny that the current Coronavirus crisis is alarming, and I am not seeking to diminish its seriousness. Still, the thought of having to self-isolate at home with my children is more than I can bear, and, I suspect, something they wouldn’t be too pleased with either. Faced with the twin evils of having to go to school or having to spend a day with their mother, I am pretty sure they’d prefer the former. 

At least we have toilet paper to last us until summer. No, I am not one of those who looted our local supermarket earlier this week, but because we get our loo paper and kitchen towels from a sustainable and eco-friendly company that only ships rolls in bulk anyway. So, we’re sorted. 

Yesterday morning I popped into a nearby Sainsbury’s to purchase diced beef for my husband to use in a stew he is cooking for the teenager’s packed lunch tomorrow – I know most kids make do with a sandwich and a bag of crisps when they’re going on a school trip, but when your dad is a trained chef, a sandwich doesn’t suffice, apparently. While there, I thought it wise to grab a few packets of paracetamol for the household, only to be stopped by a shop assistant who reproached my greediness and declared that the maximum number of packets allowed was two.

Peevishly, I handed her one back and approached the self-checkout till with my basket which, for purposes of marinating the before-mentioned diced beef, included two tiny bottles of cheap red wine. As soon as I’d scanned the minute bottles, the shop assistant re-appeared to verify my purchase of alcohol. She punched in a code on the screen and then hit a button marked ‘Visibly over 25’. 

“Ha, ha,” I laughed, “so I am visibly older than 25?” She did not find my attempts at humour amusing. 

I know we’re all about to become victims of the Corona Armageddon but can we still have some fun while we wait for the end of time? Speaking of which, I am self-isolating this Sunday to celebrate my birthday with my husband and kids.

Failing to declare how I’d like to spend my ‘visibly over 25’ birthday, the kids have decided for me; we’re having a pyjama party at home, eating cake while watching a film of my choice. I’ve been struggling to decide what movie I want to watch, but now I know: Lars von Trier’s Melancholia.

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