These Times


The longer this goes on the more my aesthetic is trending towards “eccentric vodka-aunt”

I’m doing my best to make the best of These Times.

Right now, the days at home and the empty streets lend a feeling of un-reality to the whole Global Pandemic thing going on: for most of us, the evidence of the virus is actually an absence: the absence of traffic. The absence of gatherings. The absence of toilet paper and bleach on grocery store shelves. Most of us haven’t been inflicted with the sickness (yet) and most of us only know of someone who knows of someone who has it, had it, or has been affected by it.

I keep having to reality-check myself with the fact that it’s likely that I myself am likely to either get it or carry it in the coming weeks. And if not me, then the Curmudgeonly Lion. And if not the Curmudgeonly Lion, then our elderly landlady. And if not her, then my sister, Bean, who is due to have a baby right about the time the demand for hospital beds reaches, no pun intended, a fever pitch.

A part of me wonders whether the apparent mundane-ness of the symptoms are the most dangerous part. Rationally, we all know it’s not “just like the flu”, but symptoms like “a dry cough” and “shortness of breath” don’t inspire quite the same urgency as, say, “violent internal hemorrhaging” or “severe, scarring rash” or “giant black growths” the way Ebola, Smallpox and the Plague capture the imagination. So it’s easier to think “Meh, I’ll be fine. Do I really need to sterilize every surface in my house?”

My current plan of operation is two pronged: Be Smart by Not Being Stupid, and Practice Now While It’s Not Important. I probably don’t need to wash my hands five times a day when I’m not leaving the house, but it’s good practice so that the habit will become second nature. I don’t need to wipe down every surface with disinfectant yet, but it’s good practice for when the danger becomes more present. I don’t need to be in optimal health so that my immune system has every resource available in case it encounters the virus, but it sure wouldn’t hurt either. Etc.

In the meantime, this newfound time at home is giving me a chance to live the life I always put off. I have time to go for a run every day, weather permitting, now. I have time to sit and read a book. I have time to duck away from my computer screen to take a twenty-minute catnap instead of throwing back an energy shot because I don’t want to be seen “lying down on the job”. I have time to sort through my bills. I have time to do my taxes. I have time to deal with all the little things that have just seemed like Too Much up until now. I’m hoping I will have a chance to get back to posting regularly. I even have time to do art: like with actual art supplies- I got out my colored pencils yesterday for fun! I haven’t used colored pencils in YEARS.

So, it’s not all bad.

~ by Gwydhar Gebien on March 24, 2020.

22 Responses to “These Times”

  1. If it’s not in my Now routine, trying to fit it into a new routine isn’t likely to work without more work than I feel fit to give it. Call it lazy cleaning. But, I guess, I’d rather die from this thing than take on a ton of hyper-paranoid cleaning tasks. I have a hard enough time with some basic cleaning tasks. 😛 hehe ‘Gotta keep a sense of humor.
    I’m sort of enjoying seeing more people in the area out and taking walks…some more paranoid about distancing than others. But, being cooped up with paranoid family or alone isn’t good. Tempers are fraying faster. And, all that added stress is gonna cost us all.

    • I’ve always wanted to keep the house cleaner, but working full time has always prevented it. Now that I’m home all day I can do a little bit each day instead of having to give up my entire weekend to clean house. I’m enjoying having a clean kitchen!

      • If you get used to cleaning more when you’re at work less, how will you feel when you are back to being out of the house more often? I guess some good chi can come from tidiness.

      • True, I won’t be able to keep it up when I’m working full time, but at least I’ll be able to “remember when” and know that tidied is possible when time and attention permits

      • And, what good is remembering when? That’s sentimental baggage. It’s like me mourning the absence of watermelon frozen custard. I have only tasted it twice in my lifetime. Or, certain kinds of Twix which I heard somewhere may be coming back, finally. If it’s not something you can fit into your everyday, it’s a sad thing to lose.

      • Plus, you might guilt yourself into thinking you could clean better if only you had more time and motivation to give it. So, when it’s not realistically possible, you might feel pressured to sacrifice something for cleaning and then get rapped upon for cutting whatever that was short.

      • Usually, I want a cleaner living space but know that my priority is another project so I let it go. It’s nice (for now) to have the time to have both.

  2. Maybe you’d like to enter a drawing challenge with me. 😀

    • What do you have in mind?

      • Mm, not sure at the moment. I have been trying to get my nephews into doodle challenges, where you draw a few lines and then ask them to make something out of that. I was just feeling cozy and interested in you taking up drawing. It’s rare when I come across someone who dabbles in drawing like me. There are some who draw more regularly and have their unique interests; I don’t always find common ground with them or get much interaction/response. It seems more consistent artists are even more withdrawn socially than I am.

      • I’m getting into coloring as a task to keep my hands busy while I’m listening to a meeting: it uses a different enough part of my brain that I can do both at once and actually helps me focus.
        Sure- let’s try one of these “exquisite corpse” drawings you have in mind.

      • So, grown-up coloring books with the very complex images of flowers and such?
        How can you do anything creative while listening to a meeting? I used to get in trouble in school for doodling during classes. I cannot divide my attention like that. If I am in a meeting, I need to lock my limbs down and zone IN on what’s being shared/said. What’s your astrology (combo), again? If we ever discussed that.
        Exquisite corpse? When the heck did I mention corpses? Am I losing my mind?

      • Mostly I’m coloring in my own drawings. As long as I’m not doing something with words I can usually follow/carry on a conversation at the same time.

      • WWWouldn’t a CONVERSATION require you to do something with words from your own mouth?

      • Also “exquisite corpse” is the name of that drawing game in which one person draws a head, then folds down the paper so the next person can only see the end of the neck and they draw a torso, then fold down the paper and pass it on until a whole body has been drawn by multiple people and then you unfold it to see what kind of wild creature you ended up with

  3. I have had one idea. Maybe we could both try drawing our impression of celebrities on a red carpet (for an award show), dressed in toilet-paper fashions, due to the sudden high value of toilet paper. What are YOU wearing tonight? It’s Cottonelle. Hey! Don’t squeeze the Charmin. It’s vintage.

  4. You need to learn to hit the reply button, and I guess I need to practice clicking Conversations to track all who forget to hit the reply button. 😛 Okay. Consider me in sketch mode. I will add the toilet-paper red carpet project to my agenda.

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