Friday, April 10, 2020

Telework - Week 4 - Settling In



Week Three was my low point, but I'm resilient.This week I've experienced neither highs nor lows -- life's temperature has lowered to a simmer. I hate cliches like "a new normal", but it's apt. No longer is ascending the stairs to begin my work day alien. It's...normal.

I'm not saying being imprisoned inside my house is enjoyable, even though I'm a homebody at heart. A simple trip to the convenience store and human interaction seems like a dream. 

My husband and I ventured out to the supermarket Saturday -- he sorely wanted ground beef and our Shipt shopper couldn't locate any at Target. Any. Of any kind. We donned our N95 masks (yes, we own two from my husband's former job) and grabbed the hand sanitizer and motored out. The market felt like an amusement park -- thrilling new air and a crisp ambience. It was exciting! The six a.m. hour is supposedly reserved for seniors, but it clearly isn't enforced (rules; pffft). Every other person in the store had arrived early, hoping to avoid human contact, but it almost felt like an apocalyptic club.Most of us were masked, like paying bandits. We left the store with two paper bags worth (apparently) forty-two dollars each, but it wasn't the end result so much as it was the experience.Bank account be damned.

Grocery delivery is a crap shoot. I truly appreciate those who venture out in public to fill a cart for someone else, but the end result rarely matches the shopping list.It's always a surprise, almost like a casino excursion, only I always pay the house.And it's become a second job awaiting the inevitable texts: "Sorry; the store is out of microwave bacon. Do you want the fifteen-dollar Hormel?" "There is no toilet paper of any brand. Sorry." I feel compelled to reassure. "Thanks so much for checking," I reply. I've ended up with some unanticipated purchases, some good; some awful.

Work-wise, I've settled in. It probably shouldn't surprise me that many people don't communicate -- the same people were mostly uncommunicative in the office, too; but I am attuned to each email I receive as if it is woven in gold thread. The solitude I should relish has become a lonely prison.

The novelty of eating is beginning to abate (luckily for me). Maybe it's simply boring. I do worry, however, about how I will replenish my tobacco supply. States are so dumb about certain things. I can get alcohol delivered, but not cigarettes? I could probably buy weed more easily (if I was of that persuasion -- sadly I'm not). 

Things I've learned/discovered this week:


  • My husband dug out my old transistor radio -- the one I kept in my office in the nineties. Unfortunately it has the peccadillo of working for a while; then dying. I thus added the iHeart radio app to my phone and searched for some non-annoying stations. I've listened to talk radio for ages, but ever since Bill Bennett retired, his replacement is clueless and irrelevant, so I needed to find something to take its place. 
  • Did you know that many iHeart stations play the exact same songs at the exact same time? How awesome.I searched for "classic country" and located some independent stations. The one I'm currently listening to is from my home state of North Dakota, and it's not pre-programmed. I almost feel like I'm back in 1995 -- I heard "What Kind Of Fool Do You Think I Am" and was transported back to big shoulder pads and stirrup pants. Did you know that nineties country is now "classic?" I didn't.
  • Podcasts are great, but they need to do new programs more than once per week. What else do you people have to do at this time anyway?
  • Corporations really, really want us to know how much they care. Sad piano music is our cue that a very concerned corporate message is forthcoming. Look guys, nobody is leaving their house to buy anything. Unless you have a truckload of toilet paper, maybe just save your advertising dollars for our parole date. The worst is the Lincoln ad. Buying a luxury car that I can't drive anywhere is tops on my list.. And the guy delivering the vehicle doesn't even practice social distancing! Maybe rich people are immune. In fairness, the best of the lot is Kellogg's. Thanks for an ad that actually says something.
  • Microsoft Team meetings are glorified phone calls.


Downsides:


  • I'm still not sleeping. There is no rational explanation for it other than unacknowledged anxiety. 
  • Breaks are sometimes forgotten. I'm online; I might as well keep working, right?
  • My normal routine has been cast to the winds. I don't wash clothes on Saturday; I don't pay bills, either. What if I forget something important?

Time to dig in. This "new normal" is going to go on for a while. Adaptability is a wondrous thing, though. 











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