Yeast and yia yia

Do you think we’re mad …
when we say we spray down every package that
comes through the post;
that we wipe every pack of vegetables, cans of tomatoes and beans, bottles of milk, boxes of cereal;
wash our hands after touching the door knob;
all in a bid to hide
from an invisible 
virus.

This lockdown period has made it difficult for usual carers and relatives of my partner’s grandma (yia yia in Greek, pronounced ya ya) to help, so being the least vulnerable in the family, we’ve been spending weekends and some week nights helping how we can. Her being of a grand old age (>90 years old), we’re being ultra careful ourselves to not inadvertently catch and pass on anything. This extra alertness and care exerts a mental load, one that has now been normalised into the background. I look forward to not having to spray anti-bacterial (does it work for viruses though…) solutions on everything at some point in the future.

It is curious how we as humans exist in a world with so many creatures invisible to our naked eye, and celebrate some but vilify others. Our household has been having a go at making sourdough bread, keeping with the times. The starter seems to be thriving well, a concoction of yeast and beneficial bacteria. We’ve learned to harness their potential and ‘control’ them, and so find them less threatening. Yet should we seek to exterminate those that lie beyond our control, and may do us harm? To eliminate all harmful viruses and bacteria (as though that were possible in the first place), insects (like mosquitoes and flies) and whatever else that displeases us?

Struggles with getting the too-wet dough to shape. Many thanks and gratitude to my patient younger brother who dispenses bread-making and bread-saving advice across time zones.