I can't believe it's been five weeks since I did my first one of these COVID Diary posts. I guess I really haven't had much to say. Or maybe I have, but it's just too damned depressing. I'll try to keep it light.
- My reading and podcast listening has dipped a lot. I didn't make my reading goal last month and my podcast queue is through the roof. I tried listening to a podcast the other day while I worked, but I found myself wanting to pay too much attention to what the host was saying and not to my work so I stopped. I may just have to start deleting them. Or maybe I'll alternate between them and audiobooks when I go on walks or shopping trips.
- Speaking of shopping trips, since no one wants anything to do with anyone else at stores, I've taken to listening to my phone via earbuds while running errands. I never wanted to do that before because it makes me feel like a very impersonal activity is just that much more impersonal. But face masks have taken that to the nth degree, so, why not? It's kinda nice to have something other than Muzak pumping into your brain. And it's the only way by which I've actually finished any books at all.
- There is a downside to doing this and that nearly happened to me yesterday at Aldi. I was loading groceries into my car and listening to a book when all of a sudden I heard something weird. The woman sitting in the car two spaces over from mine was trying to get my attention. She wanted to ask if Aldi had ground beef and chicken (they had both!). If it was music, I would not have heard her at all. But the general lack of distracting noise in an audiobook allowed me to hear her and respond.
- Also at Aldi, I was pulling into a checkout lane and saw the woman behind me had far fewer items. I asked if she wanted to get in front of me which is something I let people do all the time. She said, "No. That's okay." I replied, "Mmm'kay." Then she explained, "I'm just going home after this. I'm in no hurry." We both laughed.
- We registered Nathan for second grade last night. The registration form, unlike in years past, asked if we have a home internet connection that can support multiple devices using it at once. It also asked if we have a dedicated device other than a phone that a student can use for their education. They're planning ahead. Smart, but scary.
- I've been reading about these celebration parades that people are doing throughout the pandemic as an alternate to having parties and other get-togethers. I love the idea. We finally got to take part in two of them last week. One was a celebration of Nathan's first grade teacher and the other was a birthday party for one of his classmates. There was a time when I thought this sort of thing might be more depressing than not, but I feel like everybody gets very emotionally involved in these parades to make it as positive a time as they can given the circumstances, and the targets of these parades seem to love them intensely.
- I'm pretty sure we'll have to do one of these for Nathan in September.
- Nathan learned to ride his bike finally! He was fighting it tooth and nail. Then Katie saw a video about getting rid of the training wheels and removing the pedals and letting him learn balance while scooting on his "glider" bike. It worked! He fixed his posture and found his balance and we've put the pedals back on and he's cruising! Turns are still not so easy, but he's getting them. And he LOVES riding. He wants to do it all the time. This bodes well.
- I've actually grown to enjoy working from home. I still miss my standing desk, but I've gotten accustomed to sitting at my kitchen table. I still miss my external monitor, but I've found a way to position my laptop screen so it's higher and closer to prescribed ergonomic levels.
- I miss my coworkers terribly. The Zoom calls are nice and, thankfully, don't number too high. And Slack is a lifesaver for sanity. But the office lunches and beers and scotch tastings and just general revelry is leaving a very big hole in my soul.
- I still refuse to wear pajamas for work. Not even bottoms. I shower and I put on jeans and a t-shirt everyday just like if I were going to the office.
- I do not, however, wear shoes, socks, and a belt every day, even though I need a belt more than ever.
- I also find myself wearing my glasses far more often than contact lenses. I was alternating them every other day, but now it's glasses four or five days a week and contacts two or three days.
- Do you think I'll make it to post "COVID-19" before I give up with these observations?
I tried to keep it light above. If you want some darker observations, keep reading.
- Some countries and U.S. states have started lightening or removing Coronavirus restrictions. I think it's entirely too premature and irresponsible to be doing this. And they're paying. Wuhan, China, where this whole thing supposedly originated, is already seeing more confirmed cases after somewhere between one and two months with no new cases. Katie told me last night she was reading that several countries have seen upticks in cases. I'm sorry, but if you're going to be that stupid, well, you get what's coming to you. It’s called Darwinism.
- Even when restrictions are lifted in Illinois (and I pray J.B. Pritzker is smart about that), I don't see us returning to a normal way of life anytime soon. I absolutely will not be getting together with friends or family for a few months at the very least. People are proving they cannot be trusted to be intelligent about this and I want to see who gets what during the early stages of our return to "normalcy."
- I will be wearing a mask in public for the foreseeable future. I will go out only when absolutely necessary. I will likely work from home for a vast majority of this calendar year. This is because I don't trust people and know that as soon as restrictions are lifted, people are going to start acting as though nothing ever happened... and then it will happen again... and again... and again. We need to realize that the world to which we will return will NEVER be the same as the one we left. Yes, I'm a pessimist.
- I'm hesitant to send Nathan to school even if it does re-open. It's not that I don't trust that the staff and admin at his school aren't doing everything in their power to keep the school clean. I don't trust the other kids and their parents.
- This same reason drives my desire to not have our public pool open at all this year. The decision has yet to be made, but I'm pretty sure it won't happen.
- This same reason also drives my hope that our cruise next month is canceled. Why this hasn't been called DOA already is beyond me. Carnival Cruises announced a week and a half ago that they have a date when they will resume cruises... not until August! An announcement from Royal Caribbean is expected later today.
- Do you look at people in their face masks and wonder how they look underneath? I admit I'm guilty of that all the time. And I find myself judging people more on their bodies than I ever have. Not negatively. Not like I'm fat shaming anyone. I mean, who the hell am I to fat shame? I just mean that without a face to see or personality to experience (since, as I said above, no one is paying attention to anyone anymore), what else do I have? Oh yeah, their impetuousness, I suppose. If they're tearing through a store like a bat out of hell or getting impatient or confrontational given all that is happening during this pandemic, I will judge them harshly for that.
Okay, time to do something else. Anything else.