IT has come to something when the height of excitement in your week is meeting someone in a car park on the off-chance of getting some leftover bread and cake.
I have lived through periods of boredom before of course and survived. The teenage years of ennui, when the effort of getting out of bed on a weekend morning to face the day ahead was a struggle. Marooned between the excitement of childhood days of playing with friends and the freedom of adulthood, the weekends seemed to stretch interminably.
Or the days stuck at home in suburbia with two small children when I thought I would go off my rocker with the tedium of it. Afternoons seemed the worst. The mornings were packed with feeding, dressing and a bit of tidying up so that we weren’t swamped by layers of nappies, toys and crumbs of Liga.
But the time between lunch and evening, when help would be on hand, sometimes seemed never-ending. I would put them both in the pram and just to see something other than the four walls, go for a walk round the local shopping centre.
The last period of extended aimless boredom I can remember were the months shortly after I separated from my husband. We shared the parenting which left me deliciously child-free every second weekend. But again there was that double-edged sword of the thrill of being free and yet not knowing what to do with that freedom.
Sunday afternoon — traditionally ‘family time’ — was the hardest to fill. There were times when I would get as far as opening the front door to venture out. But where would I go? Who would I meet? I couldn’t disturb the sacrosanct family time of other married friends and hadn’t yet found a new circle to fill the gap. It was a tough time.
There is also daytime television and Netflix — if I’d had access to those in my youth, I’d probably never have left the house!
And I’ve learned coping strategies to deal with long stretches of time when nothing seems like it’s ever going to change.
Even though it goes against my nature to devise routines, I try to fill my mornings by doing something active which leaves me free to sink guilt-free into reading or crafting, or if I’m being really decadent, a bit of TV in the afternoon.
Anyway, back to the car park and the cake. A young friend just got a job in a local bakery and, as it happens, there are often some unsold items on a Saturday evening at close of business. Being the frugal person she is, she cannot bear waste and so she put the call out to a few of us that, should we be in the area on Sunday morning, she would be in a certain car park with a boot full of goodies!
The distribution of same was handled safely and swiftly. We approached the car one at a time, made our selection and withdrew to the safety of our own vehicles.
But it was enough to break the monotony of another weekend, enough to see a friend’s eyes above their mask, to share a bit of cake and drink each other’s health with a cuppa. Oh the excitement!