Fear

It’s remarkable both how swift and unforgiving fear can be.

A solitary night enjoying YouTube videos shattering at the random outreach of another.

Slowly descending the stairs I make sure doors are locked and blinds shut. My feline lingers in my shadow, hesitating to follow, but rushing upstairs once I beckon.

A hesitant call to my partner temporarily eases my nerves- in minutes they are driving down. They keep me on the line.

I’m sitting in a corner of the office when they arrive. The house is dark and though I hear my partner’s voice…I say nothing.

As they enter the room, a dim computer screen reveals my spot in the corner.

For several moments we sit in silence. I can see them struggling to find words of comfort, but I don’t need them.

I’m just happy they came.

Yackety-Yak: Self-Criticism

Do you every look at a conversation you’ve had and thought: ‘wow, I’m really letting them down‘?

Sure? It this a new thing for you?

I guess not? I mean, we’ve all had moments where we overthink something we’ve said and try to dissect all the possible ways it could of been interpreted. I’ve just been torn lately between wanting to talk to/be there for others as opposed to just hanging alone.

And how does this link back to your question…?

Because i-….I don’t know. Maybe it’s because I think my value as a friend is at risk? As if I might fall to wayside and when the tide of pandemic finally washes out, I’ll be washed away too?

…Right…so you’ve become hyper-aware of your conversations and are worried you might disappoint.

Pretty much sums it up.

Well I think you need to take a deep breath and relax. Look, everyone is going through varying degrees of stress. You can’t please everyone you care about without driving yourself insane- especially if you’re focusing on it. This is a time where you’ve got to do what you need to do; and if you have people keeping score in your corner, then it might be time to clear out the corner.

And then I’ll feel like a selfish bitch because they could easily of been venting their stress and that’s just how it came out. Or what if I’m the one keeping score? Then what?

…Wow.

What?

I’ll admit you have a point there. And to be fair we’re all guilty of dipping into either side of the pool- I know I certainly am.

So did I win this one?

I don’t think you can win a question, but regardless I’m going to say no. You still need to take a deep breath and relax. Maybe stop putting so much weight on every little interaction and just let yourself be more present? Our friendships are supposed to be an outlet and with the way you’re going; it’s definitely going to become one way flow instead of a circulation.

I don’t know if that analogy actually makes sense.

Doesn’t matter because you still got the message.

Results Are In: Back to Work I Go

Guess who’s test results came in today and were negative?!

That’s right! Me.

This means two things: a) I’m full time again {praise the gods} & b) I’m required to go into the office starting Monday.

While I am beyond grateful for remaining employed during all this and getting full time again…I’m a bit concerned about going back. I mean, as of now I’m the only one in the company who’s been tested meanwhile everyone else has been required to go into work like normal.

Back in March when I was first put on ‘work from home’ notice it made more sense since I’d just returned from Washington state and my area wasn’t on lock down yet. Fast forward almost two months though and we’re in an entirely different realm now. So for them to still have everyone coming in is…jarring? Bonkers? Confusing?

It’s strange how before my results came in I was looking at it from the perspective of: well, I don’t want to put anyone at risk; but now my perspective has become: aren’t they putting the entire staff- including themselves at risk by having everyone come in to such a small space?

Wary that I might be a bit biased, I spoke to my father and partner to get their opinions. My father was particularly annoyed, saying it didn’t make sense to have me be the only one tested under guise of “not knowing who I’ve been around” when the same could easily be said for the other employees. My partner also agreed, but added I should wear a mask into work.

So at the end of day there really is only one question: am I planning on going back into the office?

The answer? Of course I am because I need full time hours. Is the job something I could realistically continue to do from home? Yes and the past several weeks have proven that, but they want me in the office so into the office I go.

Photo by Damir Kopezhanov on Unsplash

Back to Work: Getting Tested

It’s finally happened.

After roughly a month and half spent working just over half-time from home; my boss’s boss has agreed to let me back full time! All I have to do is get tested for COVID-19 and show proof of a negative result. Easy enough, right? Well luckily I was able to both find a place willing to test asymptomatic subjects and schedule an appointment pretty quickly.

Fast forward to this morning and I was on the road for my swab test where things started to feel…pretty surreal as soon as I made it to the grounds.

So, my testing location was at a public park refitted for drive-thru testing. The moment you entered you were met with army personnel who instructed us to place our driver’s license and confirmation number on our dashboard. Once done we were allowed to join a single lane queue through the park. Eventually we hit the first checkpoint where more army personnel verified our names and appointments before writing “R” on the corner of our windshields. From there we continued along with personnel scattered about directing flow of traffic until we reached a big tent. Only about three cars were allowed underneath at a time where pairs of army and medical personnel were waiting. Here we put our cars in park while the pair determined our names, located our medical kits, each verified it, and then placed it under a windshield wiper. Next was the final checkpoint which consisted of three smaller tents. I was directed to the middle one where an army professional took my medical kit and read it over before checking if my phone number was accurate. After confirming, I was allowed to pull up a bit where a medical professional in full protective gear motioned me to park and roll down my window. They handed me a form explaining how to obtain my results then told me to sit back against the seat and look straight ahead.

For anyone who doesn’t know: the swab goes up your nose. And when I tell you I’ve never experienced anything like it…I’m not lying. It wasn’t necessarily a sharp pain, but it wasn’t a dull pain either which was mind boggling to me because I needed it to make up it’s mind. My eye was watering; I actually had to close my eyes at one point just to brace for it to be over, and when they took it out I kind of coughed/sputtered even. All around I’d just say it was pretty unpleasant (since I have no way to really describe it) and understandably so.

What made me feel bad was when they apologized for my (probably wild) reaction, meanwhile I just wanted to say, “No, thank you for testing me! Ignore me! I’d do it again!” Did I say this? Unfortunately, no. Instead I sort of laughed out of bewilderment which made them laugh a bit, so I’ve got that going for me.

Truthfully though, the most stressful part aside from securing an appointment was easily the forty minute drive there and back which is practically nothing. When it comes to things feeling surreal; however, it definitely had to do with all the army personnel. I mean, besides the maybe fifteen medical professionals I spotted- the rest were all army. I’m not saying this is a bad thing. I just don’t think I’ve ever seen so many in one place not on a base (if that makes sense).

Everything ran super smoothly though. My appointment slot was 8:30. I arrived close to 8 and was on my way home closer to 9. Now I just have to wait a few days for my results and hope I’ll be able to work full time again.

Photo by vadim kaipov on Unsplash

Quarantine: Looming Productivity

As far as I’ve seen, there are two dominant lines of thought when it comes to quarantine.

There’s the somewhat aggressive: if you aren’t productive and emerge from this with a side hustle, some new skills, and successfully started those plans/dreams you’ve been putting off then the problem has always been you. And then the more lax: you just have to take it day by day; it’s okay not to put pressure on yourself with everything going on so long as you manage to stay afloat.

Of the two I outwardly agree with the latter. I mean, everyone is going to react to quarantine differently and there are so many factors playing into it. There’s the diminished human contact, anxieties over livelihood/health/mortality of yourself and others, etc. It just seems strange in my opinion to put out a mindset telling others how they should manage their “newly found time”. Now don’t get me wrong, I understand this mindset might work for some and more power to them- I simply feel it creates a subtext of pressure almost.

Having said this, initially I was handling quarantine fine- the same way I’m sure plenty of others were. I was still at home, harassing my mom, hanging with my dogs, and binge watching television. My hours were cut, but I was just happy to still have a job.

As time went on; however, I moved out (great timing, I know) and then it really started to sink in.

Now, this isn’t a complaint of having to be cooped up at home with all my amenities or anything like that. I’ll admit working from home with just your cat all day and no one else around is…lonely to say the least, but at least my partner stays on weekends plus I call people…A LOT. On the contrary, this has more to do with that first mindset I mentioned which could easily be just as annoying.

I apologize in advance.

You see, for a long time I’ve wanted to write and on the surface a quarantine seems like the perfect time, am I right? Well I thought so until I realized I have no real muse for anything- and it sucks. I feel like I’m wasting an opportunity to really power through getting some things rolling. Could this also be rooted in insecurities revolving around my writing? Yes and thank you for calling it out, but we shan’t be going into it today.

On one hand I’ve spent my time setting up my new place and taking over my mom’s plants (I’m up to seventeen, guys…help). On the other hand I’m trying not to think about how I’m going to manage expenses with such a cut in hours. On the third hand I’ve discovered the show Portlandia and it’s doing real wonders for me (highly recommend).

I suppose the real trouble is since I’m working from home the option to write is literally always right in front of me (just staring me in the face asking why I’m not doing anything). Truth be told, the only real step I’ve taken so far is to re-signup for Tumblr.

Anyway, this was definitely a weird rant of a post and if you made it this far then hopefully I made some sort of sense.

I hope everyone manages to stay safe, not go too stir crazy and finds something to brighten their days.

Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash

A First: My Own Place

Sitting in my very first place having my first solo meal…I have to admit it’s kind of surreal.

I’ve had solo meals while living away from home in the past, but I was always in student housing which isn’t exactly ‘being on your own’ if you know what I mean. This time is an entirely different animal though. I’m on a lease, the internet is in my name, I have the numbers of both our landlord and handyman, AND I’m registered with the HOA.

It’s full on adulting time. Out of the nest. And it didn’t hit me until I started reheating my dinner.

My lovely partner’d found reasons to stay every night since the move in, but ultimately had to go, thus leaving me to my first night alone.

I keep looking back to my cat sleeping on a recliner I managed to snag and every time he’s still there- snoozing away. He’s not going anywhere because it’s just us. Even after I finish eating and cleaning he only perks up at the sound of dishes being put away. When I head to bed he trots along, hopping up to take my partner’s side. His head is snuggled against my side as I type with his little snores filling our space.

His first few days were a bit stressful, but he finally seems at ease. So at ease in fact, that he’s gone back to sleeping perpendicular (special thank you to the power of foresight for upgrading to a larger bed).

All in all it’s a new chapter and while it may not be starting in the best of global circumstances…it’s starting all the same and it’s mine.

Photo by Gaelle Marcel on Unsplash