It’s May Day. So far as I’ve been made aware in my frankly privileged little social-distance bubble, there’s a few strikes today going on for contractors, tenants, warehouse workers, and gig workers. Although I’m having a package delivered today (my used-new quarantine toy, more on that maybe another time), I won’t be using any of those services (not that I use any Bezos-owned services, to the best of my ability), but I’m still thinking a lot of them and extending my best wishes if not some more concrete form of support; I don’t know what that would look like right now, if I’m being honest, and to be further honest as well, I don’t know that I have capacity to take much else on right now.
This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot, on and off, since beginning this whole quarantine thing (I am not sick: I just don’t know what else to call this except “quarantine”): how to remain appropriately engaged and active politically, while also remaining sane and also staying the fuck away from people and keeping them the fuck away from me. I don’t really know the answer.
The “new normal” is certainly normal in our house by this point: we have our work routines, our weekend routines, and our daily stay-sane routines (e.g., put on real clothes and go outside at least once a day, regardless of the weather). As a reasonably extroverted person, I’m struggling with not seeing folks, but the beers-over-video-calls thing works OK enough, I guess, and per my new toy (a smart trainer) I’m thinking I’ll try Zwift and maybe that’ll almost be like riding with people, who knows? I don’t think any of my existing bike friends use it (prior to this I think I went on maybe one or two stretchy-clothes rides with them? It’s more of a bike shop dirt-bag scene), but who knows?
I have been trying to ride more, if only for my sanity. A part of it is wanting to work off some of the winter beer weight I accumulated during the months I only had a mile to commute (to the job between the old bike shop job in downtown and the new publishing job, also downtown, which I started all of three weeks before lockdown went into effect), and a part of it is just to blow off steam and energy: I have a significantly harder time falling asleep on days I don’t ride than days I do, I think just because I don’t expend enough energy during the day. Maybe.
Reading and writing is still happening but more slowly. The reading more slowly I think had a lot to do with two of the last four books I read being kind of slow to begin with (Calvino’s Mr. Palomar and Lispector’s The Hour of the Star – both good books, but slow for me for some reason), but I am trying to carve out more time.
The school A works at is reading How to Do Nothing as a part of a book club thing and so I started that last night to join along and it (alongside A, having watched “Love is Blind,” accusing me of “Gianinaing” when I look at my phone) got me thinking a lot about my phone and how I use it. Before lockdown I really don’t think I was too bad about the whole social media thing, but since then I’ve definitely been using it as a crutch, but in an un-socially-productive way, more in a kind of like “oh that’s a cool bike maybe I should go spend some money that I don’t have” kind of way (**I have not spent that money, FYI). So I’m going to try to keep the phone more in the other room, anyway.
Writing is still happening but also somewhat more slowly but I’m OK with that, since the slow-and-steady thing works for me. Sometimes I can jam out a shit ton quickly (e.g., right now), but sometimes it’s slower and that’s OK too: it’s always slower when I’m rewriting, and right now I’m rewriting a novella (maybe; it may just be a long short story, we’ll see).
I have, however, been more in touch with writer folks since the lockdown, and that’s been nice. I exchanged emails with the author I met at AWP who gave me his book (which was really good, btw: A Room in Dodge City by David Leo Rice), and with whom I had dinner in the St. Louis airport thereafter, and writer friends from Boston have been sending me stuff and I’ll send them stuff soon as I can fucking finish the draft.
Oh! And the journal I’m starting is still coming along, slowly but slowly. It will be called RESPONSE, and it should come out later this month. I have a lot of work to do on it this weekend.
I don’t know what else. Oh, my new job. I like it very well. I like my coworkers, my boss, and my boss’s boss. I also like the president of the company, funny enough. She’s been sending these emails and every time I read them I’m expecting to see a lot of corporate speak and so on (because that’s what you’d expect), but though there’s some, there’s also a lot of honesty, and frankly I think her jokes are funny. I like that there are jokes in all-company communication.
So anyway, things are fine. Good, even. But I am ready for this shit to be over. I know it’s a long time coming, though.
p.s. – My kid brother wrote a relevant song called “I Miss My Friends” and it’s really good. I too miss my friends. His other band, wonderfully called “Post Sex Nachos,” also released their first full album. You can find it where you find music. It is also very good.