“You don’t have to feel this emptiness”

How does one get back into writing? I’ve taken such a long break from the task that anything longer than a blog post is just too much. And even these posts are sometimes muddied with the lack of…words that I can’t think of at this moment.

Like most of you, I’m in a state of self-isolation. While social distancing was considered my trade, much like writing, I’m not very good at it these days.

Last weekend was the start of social distancing. It was also my birthday weekend. What a way to ring in my 37th year on this planet. Global pandemic. Mid-age crisis has nothing on this.

I normally don’t celebrate my birthday, and it’s been some time since the old friends and I have celebrated birthday weekend (as three of our birthdays happen, usually, during the same week). But I do spend the weekends with Virginia watching movies or TV shows. However, her parents were down for her birthday (the day after mine) so those plans were already canceled.

When COVID-19 cases started popping up a long the area, we knew it was only a matter of time before things changed. During birthday week, restaurants were making changes to their dine in areas before closing completely. The library where Virginia and I both work announced it would be closed to the public.

The plan was to continue working until it closed completely. That all changed with the anxieties of others feeding mine. I requested a week off. And here’s the start of it.

It’s just me and my laptop and my writing skills. Which have remain dormant for some time, because I can’t remember the last time I wrote anything outside of PR and these blog posts.

How do I get back into the habit? There’s a lot of voices in my head craving for my attention, but I can’t get them onto the page. Is this all that I have to offer them? This morsel of attention by recognizing they’re there but not doing anything with them?

There’s so much going on. Not just outside, but in my head. All these thoughts just run chaotically. Because there’s something in the way she reacted that keeps playing in my head. And maybe I’m wrong. Maybe that chapter of my life isn’t over just yet.

Or maybe I’m just a fool and need to learn to let things go.


Social Distancing is My Trade

There’s a lot on my mind these days; I don’t need the Covid-19 to muddy the waters. Yet here we are. It’s my birthday and instead of spending it the way I had planned to, I’m here at home typing out this post.

There’s panic in the street. People are overbuying, while others are suffering. We can’t all afford to stock up toilet paper and bottle waters. And even if I could, I wouldn’t want to be part of the problem. Much like the Texas gas crisis, this is a self-fulling prophecy. The shortage of goods didn’t exist until people started to hoard. And this shitty thing is, they’re still still stocking up.

Despite our chest-beating, my place of employment has taken the higher road and shut our doors at 5 p.m. We won’t be open to the public, but we will trying to work on virtual programming. Several authors and publishers are working with public school teachers and librarians and allowed us to host online story times for the public. Others are reading their own stories for public consumption.

While the library isn’t open to the public, there is still some worry that lingers around our staff. Namely our part-time staff as they are without all the benefits of full-time. There is talk about plans to ensure everyone continues getting paid if we fully shut down. Be it being transferred to call center if that becomes operational. In the meanwhile, we’re working on fixing spine labels, cleaning, answering patrons questions over the phone and online.

Then there’s the social distancing. Something that I figured would be easy for me. I enjoy the company of myself. I like the quiet, empty moments of being home. Except, I’m a different animal than I was a decade or two ago. Now I’ve come to realize that I actually care about people. And not the obvious people like my son, his mom, my mom, etc. But I genuinely care about others.

Even before the whole social distancing and self quarantining, Virginia’s parents were coming down for her birthday (tomorrow). That meant that we wouldn’t be hanging out and that bugged me. Our weekends had become commonplace, ritual.

Even when I’m upset, being in someone else’s company is preferred over my own. A lot has left me in the throes of depression. So much that I’m not willing to put out just now. Having a coworker meekly ask to join me for lunch one day, even though I had planned on stewing in my depression, helped. By the time we walked back to work, I’d forgotten what was bothering me in the first place.

And this is the part that gets me. Social distancing is important. If you can avoid going out, just stay home. We live in a wonderful world of technology where everyone is at the tips of our fingers. I understand that not everyone has access to this technology, but even picking up a phone and talking to someone – not texting, talking – can do wonders.

When I’m not at work, I’ll be home. Probably going stir crazy, but it’s something we all have to do in order to keep this thing from spreading further.

I’ll try to post more now that my schedule has changed for the next two weeks. Hopefully, the posts will be filled with funny anecdotes.