Here's what I miss right now. I miss lips. And I miss Wednesdays. Well, that, and judge-free shopping excursions.
Lips: I am heard of hearing. I have hearing aids, which help. But about 50% of my comprehension comes from active lip-reading. And now, as we all mask up (which may or may not work) I am woefully unable to piece together sentences. Last month, in the Before Time, I had an amazing March 4th. I started the day at a librarian seminar and ended the day in the ER with wicked stabbing clavicle pain. I mean, I know, I know, in theory the clavicle isn't even a cousin of the heart ... but my least favorite part of being a heart attack survivor? It's this. Every pang in the chest vicinity, and I wonder... and I fret. March 4th was no different.
When I checked in at the ER, they gave me a mask. I had a teensy bit of panic, which snowballed when I couldn't 'hear' what the nurses were asking me with the masks. I know, it's a first-world problem. But that was my Before Time. Books, mask peevishness, a two-week school closure making working ... tricky.
I had my girls help me with disinfecting books. Seemed like a prudent thing to do.
Or was it? I ran a list of books checked out in the past three weeks and we pulled them from the shelves. A third of the way through pulling the books, I realized that we should pull the book neighbors ... right? If standing too close to someone would allow the virus to jump to a new host ... would it work that way with books?
I had a sore throat and a minor cough. Was I contagious? Was I then re-infecting the books that I was touching? Oy. My boss came by and asked what I'd do if the school was closed for longer than two weeks. I had already prepared my to-do list: for starters, genrify the library. That was easily 80-100 hours right there. Then inventory, that was on the list too.
Then the next week, I ran on a treamill, got my heart up over 140bpm and had an ultrasound of my thundering heart. All clear! My heart is 100% healed, I am no longer a "person with a heart condition" and, yes, I'm medically clear to ride roller coasters and what have you.
With impeccable timing, on Thursday March 19th, my boss asks if I would be willing to assist with distance learning ... or was I sure I had enough hours to fill six weeks? I reply with a more precise list of library tasks and about three nanoseconds after I hit send, I see the news from the school district: all buildings are closing. Please go home. Take with you what you need. I am so very fortunate to have such a great job ... working in a district where every child (starting in 5th grade) has a laptop. Our union assures us that we will have our medical benefits through December of 2020, regardless of our employment status.
I pack up my laptop and screens and move, a la Harry Potter, to the space underneath the stairs.
Thankfully, we had worked hard on clearing this space when last year's unemployment dragged on. I wanted a room of my own. I had thought I had over decorated ... but, no!, with the second work desk, it feels sort of roomy.
I've been redeployed to supporting students who are struggling with their English essays. I had a 'choice' of offering to also help students with Algebra 2 problems, but, oh!, the teeth gnashing that would have caused. So Hamlet it is!
And where was I? Ah, yes, I miss lips and I miss Wednesdays. In my Perfect Job, I work four eight-hour days, with Wednesdays off. Oh, the joy this brings me! We usually have our sitter with the girls on Wednesday and so ... I write, a grocery shop, and generally piffle around with no particular schedule or plan.
But now, in the After Time, our sitter is wisely staying at home. I do still grocery shop, but there's so much etiquette now, one-way aisles, hoarding, etc., that it feels like I'm trapped in Jumanji: the Safeway Special Edition game.
Just last week at my favorite New Seasons Market, a saucy teenage boy was shopping for his mom, who he was on the phone with. All flour is g-o-n-e. His mom asks him to look for alternatives. All that's left are three or four gluten free flour mixes. Saucy teen starts mocking the gluten free flour choices. "Huh huh, like potato flour would suck, right?"
In the Before Time, I would have offered him some help. Found out what his baking needs were, given some pointers.
But in the After Time, behind my (unicorn) mask, I decided that the teen wasn't worthy of my help or of taking up the last bag of almond flour that a genuine celiac might actually need.
Course, I couldn't exactly storm away, either, as he was six feet from me and there was a person six feet behind me, waiting to enter the aisle.
These are all admittedly champagne problems. Every time I shop, I look in my cart with the derision of a crotchety old man, Judge Jerry. "Vat? You risk the glass lung death for marshmallows? You made that nice Amazon boy drive all the way out here because you need flavored coffee and vitamins? Oy. You never would have lasted a day in the Great War."