I’ve recently realised that my efforts to appear ‘normal’ are not reserved for symptoms of Parkinson’s.
Last week, BBC Breakfast were due to come and film a brief scene of our ‘normal’ suppertime at home to give some context to a short piece I had been asked to be involved in about the impact of living with Parkinson’s. ‘Nothing special’ was the instruction, ‘just a few shots of ‘normal’ family suppertime’.
Now, ‘normal’ standards in the Anderson household have slipped since lockdown and were never reinstated. The ‘normal’ we currently adopt is not necessarily the ‘normal’ we would choose to share widely. So, I spent 24 hours making my kitchen look the kind of ‘normal’ it has never looked in the 20 years since it was installed.
For the occasion, I prepared the kind of meal that, in another life, I imagine serving every evening but in reality, rarely do. Not content with simply a notch up from our normal ‘normal’, I also prepared it in advance in a Blue Peter, ‘here’s one I made earlier’, style, to avoid messing up my newly cleaned kitchen.
After transforming my ‘normal’ kitchen and ‘normal’ supper to a new level of ‘normal’, I turned my thoughts to myself and my family. Thankfully, we all instinctively knew, we couldn’t sing to our favourite tunes as we ‘normally’ do (out of tune) or dance as we ‘normally’ do (without any rhythm) whilst preparing supper, so an unusual silence prevailed.
‘Normally’ eating together is a juggling act, when, with the best of intentions, I try to ensure supper is ready for the short period of time when we can all be together between various evening commitments. Inevitably, I’m unsuccessful and someone is missing from the table, returning later to heat up leftovers when the others have eaten. Not so this evening. ‘Normal’ activities were put on hold until after the filming.
‘Normally’ we eat supper wearing whatever clothes might have been picked up from a crumpled pile on a bedroom floor, pre or post sporting activity or since lockdown, it’s not unheard of to be in our pyjamas. Our new ‘normal’ saw us in clean, ironed, carefully chosen clothes with the aim of looking like we had made no effort at all. When the dog looked like she was missing out, we groomed her too, just in case!
All was unusually calm, quiet and tidy when the cameraman arrived. ‘Oh’, he said, as he entered our kitchen, ‘have I missed supper?’
We shouldn’t have been too surprised then when the end product was a few seconds of film in our ‘normal’ kitchen that looked nothing like our normal ‘normal’ at all!
Images Source: ClipArt Library