Sense and Normalcy


My workstation as of late

I’ve been writing so much lately. Ironically, it’s been all for grants and fundraising. I’m still hacking away at changes in my book, but the funny thing is my language has become entirely too formal. See, when you write a grant, you have to learn this kind of jargon that has little to do with prose and more with punch. Although, I must admit, you still have to grab the attention of the fund givers with a catchy first paragraph, just like you would with an editor.

My day kind of goes like this: arise, exercise for 45 minutes, shower and eat, then sit in front of the above-pictured table promptly at 9:00 am (okay, sometimes 9:08). Then there I remain, except for a few quick breaks here and there, until 5:30-6:00 pm, sometimes later. Then I eat once more, clean up and return to my home computer, to catch up on emails and perhaps a bit of writing. By then, though, my eyes are killing me. Dry and irritated from all the glare and blue light of the screen, even though I wear protective glasses.

Still, I’m not complaining. It could be worse. Far worse.

If staying at home during a pandemic has shown me anything, it’s how to be grateful for the small things that give you joy. I’ve been rereading Laura Ingalls Wilder’s “Little House” series. Those books have been with me since I was a kid, and they still bring me comfort as I prop myself on the couch to read them all. Going on Spotify and listening to albums I haven’t heard yet but have been wanting to purchase. Searching in my pantry and freezer to discover I do have all the ingredients necessary to make a recipe from the New York Times food section. And most definitely Netflix. I’m currently obsessed with “Schitt’s Creek.” Each episode is a gem and I haven’t laughed so hard in ages.

Before I left Phipp’s, I stocked up on all sorts of things, like disinfectant wipes. Got some discounted chocolate that I still have, and I’m pecking at it a piece a day. That’s my treat. And since Phipp’s delivers, I’ve been taking advantage of that and finding essentials like tissues and vitamins the grocery store seems not to have. I still maintain contact with my former boss and friends there, making sure they’re all right. At least Phipp’s has a conscious. I was happy to learn they were the first store that mandated social distancing, limiting the amount of people that enter the store and when they do, hand them a sanitized shopping cart. There’s also hand sanitizer all over the store, plus the cashiers are protected behind shields. Everyone wears masks and are paid more. I’m still worrying about them, knowing if things worked out differently, I’d still be there.

Some things just don’t seem that important anymore. I dye my hair, but it’s only a few shades lighter than my normal not-quite-blonde-but-not-quite-brown hair (more like mouse-colored). The roots, flecked with occasional grey hair, are more than peeking, they’re sprouting a two-lane highway. But who’s going to see me, much less care? On all those Zoom sessions I’ve been taking part in, my face is abnormally pale and oblong-shaped. But my weight magically returned to what it was before I got married. Clothes fit better, but since I’ve nothing to dress up for, I’ve kind of thrown my fashion sense by the wayside. Though I refuse to work in pajamas, my jeans, long-sleeved T-shirts under a fleece will do just nicely. When I go on a Zoom session, I throw on a nice sweater or blouse. But my hair? Eh…

The New York Times had a wonderful article today  about the joy of letting go. Women quoted in the article talk about how they went from perfectly coiffed and primped to absolutely lax and comfortable. If you have to be isolated, you might as well as do whatever pleases you. It’s rough enough to have to be alone or away from your families and friends. And then there’s worrying about those you know who or sick, or grieving those who have died.

If there’s an upside to this horrific pandemic, it’s that we’re all put on notice to discover what really matters in our lives. What does one really need for happiness? What does one need to feel and to appreciate? I have a feeling that once things return to whatever that new normal will be, we’re going to relish much more simple things that we barely took for granted in the near past: a picnic with friends, a family member’s birthday, actually being able to walk outside and head over to the hardware store without being afraid of getting sick, taking a drive to get ice cream.

I eagerly await the day when I can do those things. I’m sure you do too. In the meantime, stay safe.


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