Despite a medical emergency and an evolving pandemic we have had a gentle time of it here in Molesey, UK. As a result of unexpected eye surgery, our trip home was postponed, for a month. At first glance this was an “impossibility,” but that’s the beauty of the no choice scenario. It has to work, and therefore it does. It’s a bit like “stay at home” for the indefinite future. The words are only inconceivable, the first time around.
Our friend drove our car and our two big dogs from Florida to New York, as taking them home with her was their only good choice. London colleagues offered support and creative contingencies, even as their own lives were turned inside out. New friends and old friends checked in on our progress. We were all stumbling into uncharted territories. Thankfully the intangible called Civility is still practiced here.
Yes, it had its dicey moments. Room service trays became suspect. Towels and trash were traded at the door to limit everyone’s exposure. Two of our hotels closed, the last literally locked the door behind us. Another was volunteered for medical workers. The need for all of us to “stay at home” went from unlikely to probable to imminent across a few days. We said, “Yes, thank you!” for the connection of colleagues and friends and the silver linings appeared almost before the cloud showed up.
We found an AirBnB, a small house with a patch of yard, a sunny kitchen and friendly neighbors. Interestingly enough just a mile or two from Henry the VIII’s former residence on the Thames, 12 miles upstream from our start in central London. A food shop was walkable. “Who sneezed on my food?” was no longer a concern.
The materials of a comfortable “exile” arrived; in the equipment of more convenient work space, a hamper of exquisite delicacies fit for “the neighbors at Windsor” and the makings of a very favorite cocktail. Each reflected a particular expertise, a personal choice, all steeped in thoughtfulness. Safety and gratitude go nicely with a crisp white wine and good olives.
We have found ourselves sustained in our brief moments of homelessness with graciousness and generosity from a value system that once ruled the world. This experience could have felt very different. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs were met beautifully, and with good humor. We have been held in practical, elegant and memorable ways and we are very grateful.