Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Work stations


Thank you all for you kind words of concern. I feel enfolded in such a loving community here, as real as it gets. I am doing okay. The three of us in our little quarantine abode have not been outside since the weekend, not for groceries of anything else. The pollen count is high, spring blossoms are popping out along branches so recently bare, and the new corona virus continues its invasion of our city, our nation, our world.

Has there ever been a more startling demonstration of our interconnection? One scientist explained that difference between the transmission rate of Covid-19 and the more usual flu: With the flu, one person, through ten steps of transmission, may pass the virus on to a maximum of 14 people in the course of every day life, while with Covid-19, that same person doing all the same things will create a ten-step chain of transmission that reaches 59,000 people. I played the video again, to make sure I'd heard him right.

We in New York are on the leading edge in terms of numbers of cases in the U.S., possibly because we are have been testing more than anyone else, and because everyone lives shoulder to shoulder here. Fortunately, we have Governor Andrew Cuomo, who is intelligent, empathic, and proactive. He intends to abandon no one. As for me, I think I'm on the mend from whatever illness it was that claimed me. Unless of course the sniffles have simply moved down into my chest, which does feel somewhat true. Still, I'm no longer looking at the world through watery eyes and sniffling every moment, and that's a relief.

Yesterday I wrote 500 words before climbing into bed. It had taken everything to get those words down, and I didn't know how to go on. This morning, I got up and went straight to my lap top and wrote 1,100 words in the first hour, getting a difficult portion of the story securely behind me. Sometimes, when a thing feels hard, it really is best to walk away and come back to fight another day.

My husband, meanwhile, has reached the point in being housebound where he needs structure. He's dusted off his guitar and music workbooks. He's taken down from a high shelf a ship building kit he abandoned a decade ago. And he's brushing up on his Spanish and learning Portuguese on Duolingo, a language instruction site. These are his activities every morning now, after he checks in with his coworkers and fellow vestry members via email and Zoom. He reasons that his museum does a lot of work with Portuguese speaking people, so he's actually boosting his work skills, aka working from home.

Elsewhere in the house, my niece is diligently teleworking from her room, updating website images and putting up new blog posts and managing her bosses' demands. Come evening, we might put on a movie. Last night we watched the World War I movie 2017 together. The night before was the whodunit Knives Out. Sometimes, though not last evening, we open a bottle of wine. One meme going around is that at the end of this quarantine everyone will have become a superb chef or a raging alcoholic. And a mother now forced to home school her 6 and 8 year old children reports that "one child has been expelled, one suspended and the teacher has been fired for drinking on the job."

In any case, now we know who really keeps our country going—the janitors and sanitation workers, grocery store clerks, truckers, food preparers, police and firefighters, and most of all our health care workers. I hope we're all taking of note of who the "essential workers" are. What's happening in your interconnected corner of our world?

Also, my niece just started playing her cello in her room, and it's lovely.

17 comments:

  1. If you’re writing it means you are fine. Your husband inspires me to pick up one of my many many abandoned embroidery projects. ❤️❤️❤️

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  2. Your husband sounds like a high-energy individual - kudos to him for being so disciplined and organized. I wish I were more like that!

    I'm glad your words came back today after your rest. Hope you feel completely better very quickly.

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  3. Dear one, it's been an awfully long time since I commented. I've found myself craving my old internet community during all this.

    I work for a large university, serving executive students in the business school. I travel an awful lot anyway, and telework is part of my repertoire. This is tedious. I've been on conference calls that last hours, and we don't even notice. Here I thought I was an introvert!
    I feel you on the concentration -- I'm also doing grad school, and couldn't put two sentences to paper the other day without losing focus. I've found a rhythm now, and the focus is getting better. So weird. My son, who is 15 now, is doing online school. He's very disciplined, so I'm grateful.
    I love how your husband is sorting and ordering things. As if he's making sense of the weird through order.
    Also -- I think this virus's infectious rate is symbolic of how much we all impact one another's lives, not only in the communicable disease sense of that statement. Little and big things we do impact a great circle around us, that grows and grows. It took a dangerous something to remind us of that big thing.
    Thinking of you.

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  4. My son works in a supermarket. I worry about him, uselessly. He's doing the best precautions he can. Since he works in a deli department, he's already hatted, gloved and hairnetted routinely and his work uniform stays there, and there's vs counter between him and the customer. But I still worry about the crowds they encounter, accidental pun.

    Very glad to hear you're doing better. I wonder if it's pollen related?

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  5. I went to town and it all took me hours and I was certain that everything I touched was infected. Now I'm home and showered and am not leaving Lloyd again for at least two weeks. I'm so glad to hear that you're okay. We're all going to be finding things to do that we have been "wanting" to do forever. Have you seen the meme about it turning out that not having the time wasn't the problem with not getting the house cleaned? That's me.

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  6. The NHS here in the UK are doing an amazing job. We are now in lockdown, although I haven't been going out anyway. We live in the country with 13 acres of land, so we are lucky that we have the space to get outside. My greatest worry is my 21 year-old daughter who is a single mother with a 3 year old, and has BBD, and struggles at the best of times. How she's going to cope for the next 12 weeks (or longer) I have no idea.

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  7. Good to hear you are feeling a bit better. Keep being gentle with yourself. Taking it one day at a time this way.

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  8. I'm so glad that you are feeling better. Keep on taking care and stay well there... you and your whole family and loved ones and neighbors... Everyone stay well!

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  9. I'm glad that the book is going well. The US is scary, especially the yam in charge. It's still going to get worse. I hope your son is staying safe. Stay safe my friend.

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  10. My friend lives in the village and keeps me updated- how it is in NYC , surreal and beautiful, walks on empty streets -IF one is not at risk and if one is not a boomer... You have such a nice nest, staying in is probably the most pleasant. stay well , careful and well!

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  11. I read somewhere that everyone has taken up baking while stuck in the house, and now the stores are out of flour and yeast. It's always something! Glad you are feeling better, I was hoping you would post and say those words.

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  12. My hat's off to you: writing through illness. I've seen that bit about coming out of this either a chef or an alcoholic. I say, "Why not both?" I am finally getting to some course on the Masterclass on-line series. Keeps me thinking and thinking creatively. My state - Colorado - just declared a statewide order to stay at home. Nothing different than what I've been doing for three weeks now. Some days I'm productive, others I just lay about and say "screw it!" Limiting my news in order to maintain some kind of sanity. Hope you continue to feel better!

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  13. I've been in lockdown in my house for 2 weeks; living alone is quite an experience when you can't socialize in person, or go to church, Bible study, tea with a friend. That is shocking about the 59,000 potential infections by one person and I must say, home is the place that is best for us. Be well, dear friend.

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  14. I am glad you are feeling better and I hope even much better now. What a blessing to have the routine of home office already, I hear so much from my colleagues who are struggling wirth the concept.
    As for your husband, hats off! I watch mine digging the garden and I fear for the last bit of lawn we have, he is ready to attack it with that spade, more potatoes or whatever.

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  15. glad you are feeling better. things here are still fairly normal, the only difference is being acutely aware whenever I encounter people. not that I'm encountering many. I'm spending a lot of time outside but it is so hot today and yesterday. like summer almost. I keep thinking I'll do some colored pencil drawings or try a watercolor on my own but so far have not.

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  16. So happy you're feeling better. How wonderful to Havertown musicians in the house! Truly music soothes the soul. Much love.
    Xoxo
    Barbara

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  17. I'm glad to hear you're doing OK. I think the sheer numbers of people in New York, the density, has made it fertile territory for the virus -- and, as you said, there's probably more testing there and hence more diagnosis. In any case, it sounds like you're all finding productive ways to manage this period of self-isolation. Your husband's boat-building project made me think of a needlepoint kit I bought way back in the 1980s. I didn't do it for years, and then when I went into the Peace Corps, I took it with me and FINISHED IT. It felt so good to get the darn thing done! I hope your husband has the same success.

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