April 8, 2020

Pandemic journal

Miscellaneous, disjointed thoughts, from the pages of my journal to here, an entry in my blog.


At the start of every year, I purchase a massive yearly calendar from Crispin Finn and I mount it on the wall next to my desk. I update the calendar regularly, mostly using it to chronicle the big events that are coming up: visits from friends, trips and vacations, important appointments, concerts and shows, and other big things that I’d like to remember in December when I look back at the year gone by. Recently, I’ve been crossing things off the calendar and marking them as canceled; for a few weeks now, there are no visits or shows or trips, and so the days in the calendar remain empty. Once the world returns to normal, it will be startling to see the emptiness among the many scribbles that will eventually dot the calendar days again.


We spend more on groceries now, every week, than we did before. Significantly more, to the point that I was concerned. L reminded me that we were no longer going out to eat at restaurants, and cooking almost all our meals at home. And because of the tumult of the world, we were treating ourselves to good meals: our cooking was more elaborate, more involved than it was before. This means, naturally, that our grocery bill would be higher—a pandemic-related consequence I had never considered—but that our food costs, on the whole, were lower. These strange times have brought with them a lot of change, but I hadn’t considered that one of the biggest changes would be how, and what, we eat.


The flowers on our mantle are dead, yet I won’t throw them away. Some of that is due to laziness, but some of it is knowing that we will not be able to replace them, and that I’m holding on to the pre-pandemic days as tightly as I can.


I have gone days without wearing my wedding ring since the pandemic started. I stopped wearing it when my hand-washing regime intensified, when I found myself washing my hands multiple times an hour and always taking off my ring (and washing it, too) when I did. At some point, in an effort to make sure I didn’t lose the ring from taking it off and putting it back on again, I left the ring in a drawer and stopped wearing it. There is an indentation and slight difference in colour on my finger where the ring used to be; it feels strange to not be donning something that I rarely took off for years.


I’ve been working from home as my primary office for years now, so whenever I talk to people who are new to remote working, they always say, this must be such an easy transition for you.” I usually nod my head, but always want to tell them that no, this is hard for me too. I’m grappling with the rest of my team now suddenly working from home when they weren’t before, so there’s a massive shifting of norms and processes that I have to acclimate to, too. (Plus, I don’t get to work from coffee shops, like I did from time to time, just to get some social interaction.) It might seem easy for me, but I’m going through a change, too.