Sunday, a day of rest. Which we all kind of need at this point, despite the fact that all we’ve done for five days is sit in a hotel room.
I take breakfast onto the balcony and discover that “QU” has fallen down, with “TINE” looking dodgy also. It’s the gum. Overnight it leaked and spread, softening the paper corners into transparent mush.
So much for communication with the outside world. I start pulling down the papers when the phone rings.
It’s the hotel manager. It’s come to his attention that there appears to be some form of graffiti on the exterior of the building, which is not allowed.
“Oh, it’s not graffiti,” I reassure him. “It’s an art project, on paper. And I just took it down.”
I hang up and go back to scraping gum off the glass.
At 10:30am I tune into church, livestreamed from Christ Church St. Laurence in the city. After a year of pandemic lockdown, it’s a shock to see actual people inside a church – and a choir! And they’re singing! I gaze, my laptop screen framed by the window view of the massive Moreton Bay fig tree. Soaring pillars and arches translate to stretching branches. The checkered tile floor of the historic church is echoed by dappled morning sun on mulch. The music of creation pours out of both church and tree; but the living, breathing trunk isn’t the harsh shape of a cross, rather the fluid, organic geometry of life.
I listen to a sermon about suffering, forgiveness and grace, and an ethereal Byrd mass setting. I think about how this pandemic has both connected and inexorably divided us, around the world.
Then there’s a knock at the door – fresh towels and sheets.
The system here is pretty smooth. After you check in to the Quarantine Hotel, nobody comes into your room for 14 days, for obviously reasons. They don’t want to clean your stuff, or handle anything you’ve touched. So they deliver fresh supplies at the door, and you pack out garbage and dirty linens.
It’s working well, food-wise. The vegetarian dishes are kind of bland and the caterers obviously have trouble counting to three at times, but mostly it’s pretty classy: udon noodles, sushi and rice paper rolls, shepherd’s pie with tomato-radish chutney and a divine ricotta ravioli. Even breakfast (delivered the night before with dinner) is fancy: bircher muesli with berry compote, chocolate croissants. Today there’s even a “brasserie bread” loaf for toast.
We’ve supplemented with my family’s deliveries of eggs, avocado, tea, coffee and Tim Tams, plus some wine. Everything is searched, and alcohol is rationed: one wine bottle per adult per day, presumably to keep people from staggering down the hall in a drunken belligerence.
After lunch I make a Powerpoint, answer emails, play the flute to some chirpy birds and then coax my daughter into flute/violin duets.
So far no one has complained about the noise, although I wouldn’t put it past the manager at some point.
We sweat through a dance workout and I tuck into scrambled eggs, roasted veggies and a fruity pinot grigio for dinner. Outside in the fig tree, the song symphony is in full swing.
Then we cuddle on the coach to watch Disney’s “Brave” in a rare moment of family unity. The kids both agree I’m exactly like the Queen mother in the movie, and warn me they might turn me into a bear tomorrow morning.
I’ll take it. Life’s pretty good, right now: peace, love and daily bread.