Becky’s COVIDIARY: Week 1

No time like a pandemic to start journaling, right? It’s something I used to do religiously and very much enjoyed. I still go back to the journal I kept during my first year in Portland, circa 2003. It reveals a very young side of me that I miss sometimes. More than anything, I’m jealous of the energy I had back in that time of my life, but I don’t miss all the confusion, emotional immaturity, heartbreak, and nights full of risky behavior…though thank God none of them had any lasting effects other than the aforementioned heartbreak.

So…Covid-19. What a bitch. Technically I started working from home on Friday the 13th…how’s that for ominous? It wasn’t so bad. I got some laundry done, I did a little dusting. Work flew by like a…like a tortoise at a marathon. The powers that be told us we’d be working from home for the next 2 weeks. (When you read my Covidiary Week 2, you’ll find out that this is now indefinite.) I thought, this won’t be too terrible. At least I can go to work in my jam-jams! The first full week required some adjustments. I fully admit I was not as productive, and, knowing this might go longer than 2 weeks, I found myself in a dynamically changing situation. Read on to find out what adjustments I had to make!

But first, the human side of the situation. When faced with a crisis, we turn to humor. Humor helps us breathe through the fear. It helps us feel connected. Levity does things to our mighty molecules that nothing else can fix.

My bestie, AI, who lives in a rural part of Oregon about 4 hours away, texted me her vice count. She had 11 bottles of wine and her husband had a fair amount of beer. I then decided to respond in kind. My selection was much more…eclectic.

Wine: 1 bottle
Sake: 1 bottle
Sangria: 1 bottle
Peppermint Schnapps: 1/2 jug
Orange bitters: 3/4 full bottle
La Croix: at least 42 cans

Jokes aside, I’ll admit I had a tearful moment when all of the Covid-19 information/rumors/catastrophizing started really tumbling down on me. So far I’m one of the lucky ones. I am able to work from home and (knock on wood) my boyfriend is still going to work as well.

Every time I open my phone or laptop, I read something new and dire. Yet it’s all the same. Stalwart information and rampant rumors; incredible hopefulness and terrifying data. It’s all there, all at once. How am I supposed to differentiate and find the truth? I think I’ve figured out that I have to craft my own definition of truth right now. This is what I know so far:

*I’m going to take the most extreme care I can of myself and my partner. Lots of water. Exercise breaks. Time away from screens. My partner, Boo Bear, is still going to work every day but he’s not sure what will happen in the future. Is he essential? Maybe. They’ve already cut his hours, so who knows what will happen in the coming weeks.

*I’ll be working from home. This means a completely new normal for me. It means creating a home environment that is conducive to low distraction, highly productive editing. This includes not always listening to podcasts while working. It also includes staying on a set schedule as much as humanly possible. I haven’t yet decided whether I’m going to get dressed every day. I’ve been about 50/50 on this one. Today, I showered, did my hair, and put on jeans. Tomorrow I may stay in my jam-jams and rock a messy bun.

*Focus on old-school methods of communication while recognizing the need for digital technology. My niece began sending me snail mail letters. The first was basically a roasting of me being scared of spiders. Yes…a 7 year old roasting me for being scared of something that most rational human beings are terrified of.

Vanpier Spiter = Vampire Spider

So like a good auntie, I drew a picture of a monster in her bedroom closet, complete with a likeness of her favorite stuffie, Rainbow Sparkles, convulsing on the bed in fear. Too much? I await with baited breath her retort. Or for her mother to put the kibosh on pen pals until I can shape up and be age-appropriate.

*Zoom. Messenger. WhatsApp. Google Hangouts. Sharing my screen. Putting on my Bluetooth headphones. Work computer. Home computer. 17 thousand chargers. It’s all on the metaphorical and literal table now. No, really. I have 2 computers, a Bluetooth speaker, 5 chargers, an extra USB battery, and a good ol’ fashioned notebook with real lined paper on the table in front of me.

*Taking a real look at how much toilet paper I use. Seriously. This is something my mother constantly rode me about growing up. We used the cheapest toilet paper imaginable (Scott 1000, I’m looking at you) and were berated every time we used more than a few squares. This STILL happens when I go home to my dear Midwest to see her. BUT. Looking back, I’m so grateful to have had these conversations, because, hey buddy are they useful now. I haven’t found any in stores yet, but luckily I have a few rolls of Costco TP still to go through. Just to be careful, every time I see tissues or even paper towels at the store, I buy them just in case. You never know…

So, what does truth in the time of Covid-19 mean in your terms?