amongst books

amongst books

Friday, July 03, 2020

Ottawa, July 3, 2020 – Work, Focus, Love

This isn’t a criticism, just an observation. I have seen numerous photos of people dining on patios, or going to pools, writing about their joys of being able to go to a certain store, get their hair cut, etc, and I realized that I don’t need any of those things. There are all nice things, but that is all. They are extra, rather than essential for me. I wonder if there are other people who feel the same.

I miss sitting in cafes in between wanders and observing people, reading a book while sipping on my chai latte and scratching something in my notebook. But I don’t need that experience. I miss travelling to my fitness class at Carleton, chatting with fellow Senior Ravens and the instructors, but the Zoom fitness classes at least mean I can work out my anxiety. I miss being able to go to the library and take out books, but I have the ones I need to do research right now for my work and I still have a lot of books in my to be read piles. I miss having lunch and afternoon tea chats with friends in person, and there are certain friends that seem to be completely absent right now, which is worrisome. I do miss my friends, but I am also able to connect with many through e-mail and messages.

I sort of miss readings and will probably take part in more online readings when I have the time and energy. I often fall asleep early.

I have no need to gather in large groups. I have no reason to be anywhere. Phase 2 or phase whatever. Charles and I have our groceries delivered instead of going to the store and have for the last month or more. I don’t miss going grocery shopping and if it weren’t for the fact that online grocery shopping is more expensive than in-person shopping, I would never go back to the latter. I’ve never liked any kind of shopping.

If we were in a stronger position financially, I’d spend more on things, but I don’t miss that either. I saw a pair of red shoes and thought about how nice they would be to have, but I don’t need them now anyway. I wear a pair of sandals in the apartment and as darling as my feet would have looked in those little red shoes, I can do without that now.

I’ll be avoiding as much of all of the above for the undetermined future. I’m not expecting to return to the way things were previously and there are many things that I hope will change when the pandemic is truly over.

During my health crisis I had to recover at home and not go anywhere. I grew used to being at home, listening to the radio and to podcasts for company when I was alone. I do that now a lot more again. I find music also gives me a lot of comfort and joy.

I am fortunate to be fine with being on my own a lot in my apartment and working on various projects. My life has changed with the pandemic in that I feel the anxiety of it, the danger of it. I worry about Charles having to take public transit to work, I get anxious when I have to take the elevators in my building and deal with having to ask people to take the next one if anyone else comes on. I find it a bit of a pain to have to go down to the laundry room weekly instead of every other week as we used to do, but we have to wash all the masks Charles uses for his commute every week. 

But I accept that these are adaptations we’ve had to make and that this is our way of life until the foreseeable future.  Sometimes I feel sad when I see a film or tv show with people walking in a crowd along a busy street or dining in a restaurant, but I don’t need all of the things that others seem to be missing so badly, badly enough to take the risk of participating in Phase 2 activities, etc.

 After a few weeks of panic and resistance, I came to terms with the likely possibility that mask wearing would be mandatory and took the time to learn how to get myself to the point where I could wear them for a little while, or so when needed so I can wear one on public transit etc. 

But I am not affected by mandatory mask rules because I rarely go into a public setting and when I do I have a routine that works for me: when I’m nearing the building or the bus is near, I use my hand sanitizer, put on the mask. I carry several masks in a clean, ziplock bag, the hand sanitizer, and an empty ziplock bag to put the used masks in. When I leave areas where I need to wear my mask, I use my hand sanitizer again, take the mask off, put it in the bag for used masks. Over time faced with some difficult situation, Charles and I have developed new routines.

It would be good if masks were more commonly available at stores where people shop. The wait for masks that are purchased online can be long. I hope that improves soon. I suspect it will.

On good days, I do my fitness class on Zoom, I settle down to finish a task on my things-to-do list, I exchange good e-mails with dear friends, I wank a couple of times with the fellas on Whisper and Snapchat, Charles comes home, removes his mask, washes up, and we spend a lovely evening together. On bad days…well, I’ve already written about those.

 I’d rather adapt to the current reality and treat it as the way things are, then hanker after the way things were. I don’t know if those times will ever return. I’m just trying to cope with things as they are.

 I understand that my circumstances make me very fortunate and that for others, this time is a lot harder. For those of you who are having hard times, I am thinking of you. I understand and send you hugs. I want to know how you are doing.

To those who've engage with me when I have my anxious moments, I am so grateful for your care. 

 Lynn Miles is singing right now, “I need some courage, I need some comfort…” in a song called “8-hour drive” from her album, “Love Sweet Love.”

 I need the care and love of people who are dear to me, as much as I need to give care and love to them. I need calm and conflict free time to do the work I have to do. This is how I survive. Work, Focus, Love.

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