Today I give thanks, because I am bored.
I write this from the foldable metal chair on the worn floor of my empty terrace, yet another unfinished house project the Internet tells me I should be tackling with my “free time”. While I take those sort of suggestions with a grain of salt I find it wildly amusing how averse people are to simply sitting with themselves, even with the background of a pandemic. You take you with you wherever you go, and you can only run for so long.
Though I am hardly better, what with my endless scrolling; switching devices while the other charges. At least the source of this endless connectivity is borne of a morbid fear of missing out; I reason if I am already plugged in and anxious bad news cannot catch me off my guard, shock me out of false calm.
This is my first seven-day stretch in the house after convincing the powers that be that carefulness and luck will only take me so far as the only person left not using their own car to do essential errands. What started as a social distancing double-dutch of rotated employees soon graduated to full shutdown, and I one of the last to regularly pop in to kick the tires. The last day I was in the office was the day after the events of my last post, the news I’d learned in the first text of the day. I picked up McDs on the way home. After two weeks of exclusively home-prepared meals it tasted far better than I ever remember. I broke down in the Zoom meeting, post after-outdoors sanitizing routine.
The week before, the last time I was in the office, the first text of the day was a health scare at home. We are all essential workers in our own way, some much more important than others. I broke rank and took the cab home to my mother’s instead, dropping care packages at the door and blowing kisses from across the hall. Social distancing feels painfully real when the people you can’t touch are right in front of you. I broke down after the Zoom meeting, post after-outdoors sanitizing routine.
The week before, the last time I was in the office, a quarter of the staff was still with me. I was far more concerned about contamination than I was for my continued employment. I’d only recovered a few weeks ago from a flu-like bout and didn’t trust the distancing methods in place now. The notices had just started to come in. CoVid confirmed, CoVid confirmed. My mother asked if I could stage a walk-out. Boomer job advice is some of my favorite. I broke down in the shower, while ruminating on whether I should implement a post-outdoors sanitizing routine.
Today is a week after the last time I was in the office. There were no angry calls to attend to, no fires to put out. Today, there is nothing to report.
The sun is setting over the Hudson. Everyone alive is still with us and healthy. Everyone who has moved on from this life is at peace. I learned today my neighborhood participates in the 7pm round of applause for medical professionals on the front lines. Maybe I’ll join them tomorrow. Today was slow. Today is good.
And yet, my breath still catches in anticipation when I reach to check the notifications in my phone.