It’s been a month. At least I think it’s been a month since this practice of staying home, social distancing and sheltering in place started. I used to think my mother forgetting what day of the week it was had to do with her being ninety-seven until the other day when I almost missed a conference call because I thought it was Wednesday and it was actually Tuesday.
I thought staying home would be easier.
I’ve been working out of my home for the last decade. I know what it means to schedule my day and set routines so I get stuff done. Plus as much of a social person as I am, l like being home. But this is different. Now the days all run into one another, each starting with an underlying anxiety of how much longer this will go on and what the world is going to look like once it’s over. That gets in the way of my productivity. Not in the way of my eating and daily dose of wine, but in the way of focusing on work.
It’s not like I don’t have things to do.
In addition to several projects I have going, my teaching contracts are still in place. They give structure to the beginning of my week as well as a new challenge – how to keep twenty-five graduate students engaged from my side of the Zoom screen for two and a half hours at a time without being able to read all their faces to gauge how I’m doing.
Like many of us, I have found myself very reflective and taken to questioning the direction of my own path as I make my way through the exercises in the workbook I wrote. I’m also noticing more and in noticing I am learning.
Here’s a sample – in no particular order.
√ There is no need to put on lipstick and then put on a mask.
√ I’m not sure sunscreen is necessary when the mask is accompanied by a hat and sunglasses.
√ Facial recognition to unlock my iPhone is useless when said mask is in place.
√ Masks with a thin wire to fit over your nose help to keep your glasses from fogging.
√ Living alone is different than living alone while sheltering in place.
√ Not even a global pandemic is enough to unearth an ounce of empathy in Donald Trump or stop him from tweeting all day.
√ My hair is even more gray than I originally thought.
√ There is no good reason to wash my hair more than once a week.
√ Even yoga pants can start to feel uncomfortable.
√ It is possible for one person to dirty enough dishes to run the dishwasher every day.
√ I am seriously crushing Andrew Cuomo.
√ Zoom has a whiteboard function.
√ Staying home can be exhausting enough to warrant an afternoon nap.
√ I have some really great people in my life who all check in on each other.
√ Watching Jeopardy after dinner makes me happy.
√ Either everyone except me has really nice bookshelves in their homes or there is a Zoom background no one has told me about.
√ The mute button comes in really handy every time Trump speaks at a press conference.
√ There are a lot of really good Governors in the U.S. – Andrew Cuomo, Phil Murphy, Gavin Newsom – who restore my faith in the system and know how to get things done.
√ The window should always be behind your computer screen when on Zoom to get the best light and look the least scary.
√ Amazon 2-Day delivery is a nice luxury, but the world will not come to an end if you have to wait a week or two for your order.
√ For as great as this country is and as many acts of kindness and humanity the pandemic has brought forward, it has also put a spotlight on its inequities and all that we haven’t been paying attention to and need to.
√ Three sheets of toilet paper is enough.
√ Lysol wipes are more handy than Purell.
√ Hugs are a nice thing and should never be taken for granted.
√ Technology and virtual visits are a gift – especially during this time – but when given the option – ain’t nothing like the real thing.
What have you been learning during this time? I’d love for you to share it in the comments.