Elena Bowes in conversation with
Below are snippets of a conversation I have had with a dear old friend of mine named Mimi Partridge-Hicks. We’ve known each other since high school, both American expats living in London. Mimi is divorced, has three kids and is comfortably off so she doesn’t have to work. She knows she’s one of the lucky ones. From her viewpoint, she sees a few positives in Covid, one being no more FOMO.
I know that I am one of the lucky ones. I am not in a high risk Covid category. I live with my fiancé Stretch so unlike many, I am not isolated, alone (although at times I may have wished I was). Everyone close to me – my family, friends, like my W26KS writing pal Mimi- are fine. So far.
Still, I have not escaped scot free. Stretch got Covid in March and was quite sick although not so sick that he needed to go to the hospital. Instead he relied on Florence Nightingale here to nurse him back to health. I am not a natural caregiver. I am an awful cook, a grumpy cleaner and a hypochondriac. The last thing I would ever choose is to be in the same neighbourhood, let alone flat with someone who has a highly contagious, mysterious, potentially deadly virus. I kept Stretch in his son’s small bedroom with its single bed and teenage posters and kept vigil on that doorknob. It was not allowed to move unless I was doing the moving- Those were scary times. But being an eternal optimist, I did see a few perks to Covid- I got our bed to myself, could read late into the night and no bathroom sharing. For some reason, Stretch credits me with saving his life. Who am I to argue? Just call me Flo.
During the last 26 weeks, there has been a torrential storm of bad news. I have delved deep to stay up, cheery. I figure if I’m happy that will help not just me, but those I come into contact with. I meditate daily, I walk in nature as much as I can. I play bridge on-line with close friends, I write my blog and I read novels. I try and stay in touch with everyone I care about. And I laugh. Which brings me to Josephine. If there’s one thing that has gotten me through Covid, it’s my pug. She lives in real-time, never worries about the dire state of the world, will vote for whoever I tell her to vote for, wags her tail at the mere sight of me- morning breath, hair dishevelled, Josephine is always my biggest, most affectionate fan.
I also have got to spend tons of time with my adult kids, as stay at home rules have become stay at mom’s (nicer and free) home.
My 28-year-old daughter Kate and new husband Harry are living in my London flat. When I come to visit from NYC where I live with Stretch, Kate and Harry have to look happy to see me. I’m their landlady. It used to be the best way to see your adult kids was to pay for a lux family holiday. With Covid, all you need is a pleasant (and free, don’t forget free) home.
As my world has gotten smaller, it has also gotten richer. Yes, I miss many things about my old life– exploring the world, parties, the ease of movement, going to museums on a whim, leaving the house carefree, mask-less. But I don’t focus on those things. It won’t get me anywhere. I focus on what I can do. And it turns out there’s plenty. It’s all how you choose to look.