In a word ... Obsession

I have no peace until I get rid of the thread-like pieces. It has become a contest

Flake, from Old English flakka, for ‘flat, level, particle’

Flake, from Old English flakka, for ‘flat, level, particle’

 

The pandemic reigns and it reigneth every day. Things that heretofore I never noticed in my place now make their presence loud and attention- seeking as never before. Such as dust. It’s everywhere.

Over the past year I have even realised that dust is a four-letter word, with all the emotional clout of the more familiar kind. Nowadays, I even get angry about dust. Though dust is my destiny, I feel no kinship.

It’s probably because I have been spending so much time indoors, incarcerated by depth-of-winter days and pandemic restrictions.

Worse however is a fluffy mat on the wooden floor in my front room. It had been there for years but I never noticed it until the first lockdown last Spring. I had not noticed before, either, that those thread-like pieces that appeared everywhere out of nowhere in that room originated from that mat whose existence used have as much relevance to me as Wuhan before Christmas 2019.

Now, like Wuhan, it threatens to overwhelm my existence. I mean there I am languidly watching the neighbours amble through their boredom outside my window when I see threads from the mat making their way to the sofa.

I have no peace until I get rid of them. It has become a contest. I am coming to the conclusion that mat it is out to get me, shedding inexplicably and making its threads visible on the floor every time I get comfortable, or sit to watch a film or whatever on the TV.

It is then too that dust on the TV stand shouts across to me “hey sucker, I’m still here.” Just a week before I got rid of it. So I thought. Indeed the pandemic has taught me that competing with dust or my shedding mat is like King Canute on the seashore taking on the waves with his sword.

Yes, I am as Sisyphus in that great Greek myth who was doomed to roll a boulder to the top of a mountain for it to roll down to the bottom and then begin the whole futile process again.

I am a pandemic Sisyphus condemned by dust and a mat to futility. It will take more than a vaccine to end this existence. My local will have to open.

Obsession, `anything which engrosses the mind’, from Latin obsessionem

inaword@irishtimes.com

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