Friday The 13th

I’m not superstitious–just a little stitious (that one is for fans of The Office), and actually, it’s Saturday the 14th now anyway. I’m able to mark myself safe from any catastrophic outcomes the second Friday the 13th in 2020 might have delivered. The first Friday the 13th was my last day at the office before the entire world shut down last March. I stopped to pick up PPE for testing on Thursday and felt a pang. Who knew? It’s possible to miss sitting at my cramped, utilitarian desk in my ancient, unattractive office building because of course, it’s not the physical space, but being apart from the people with whom it’s shared that knocks the wind out of me.

It’s 2020, which means that it’s perfectly acceptable to wear slippers when giving a presentation for my SLP colleagues. Normally I’m a heels kind of gal when I present, but what the hell? It’s not like anyone saw any of me further south than my clavicles.

Friday the 13th was just another workday in the bizarre string of everything-looks-and-feels-the-same days of virtual reality. I sat perched atop a yoga ball rather than standing at a podium for my presentation yesterday, and had to repeat the same info in two consecutive Google Meets. I’m much better in the “one and done” world of professional development, but hey, on the upside? I didn’t have to straight-up memorize 50 minutes of content material.

Though it’s cited as something feared more than death by many people, I discovered that I much prefer public speaking in public. Speaking into a webcam is shouting into the void, and I do better with the feedback of an audience. I was already working two screens and keyboards, and couldn’t manage a third to make the Google audience visible to me. I wanted at least to see who was tuned in, but all I heard was pure, absolute silence. Well, there was that one SLP who left herself unmuted. Her open mic sounded to me as if she were doing dishes, and it nearly drove me to distraction. This is the modern workplace, and hey, you got dishes needing a soak? Have at ‘em. I wouldn’t have enjoyed listening to me drone for an hour or so either, but probably I’d have been more discreet. ‘Cause, see, you don’t announce that you’re only minimally working-working, you mute yourself.

The activities on my calendar this week have unveiled to me a number of personal revelations. They don’t all land on the namaste-spirit “quest for personal improvement” pathway. Revelations don’t always or exclusively land in the positive column. Sometimes the light shines on the sunny side of the street, and sometimes it illuminates just how big a weirdo you actually are.

Politics and news were pummeling me, and I couldn’t both engage and remain not nuts. I felt quite a lot like heeding the words of David Rose, one of my favorite television characters of all time: trying very hard not to connect with people with right now.

Some of the revelations, revealed in no particular order:

I learned that my younger son has been paying attention. Kim Ng was named the first female GM in Major League Baseball this week, and he proclaimed it to be a “very powerful moment.” How I love this child.

Mine is not a book review blog, but I learned that it’s possible to love Fredrik Backman’s writing so much that I want to plow ahead at warp speed and devour his work because he is So. Damn. Good. But I also never want it to end, so I find I must pace myself. Anxious People is genius in the way Backman reveals the relationships between and connectedness of the characters. To date, I’ve read 53 books in 2020, a personal record.

My children are lonely, no real-life school, and no extra-curriculars, no social engagements. I suggested they read more than their required texts. I shared with them how books have always transported me, provided the needed getaways I could never make happen in my real world. That I’ve read so many volumes this year probably speaks to my desperate need to dwell in a reality other than my own. My own social engagements are few and far between, and I’ve never felt like more of a misanthrope. Is it even possible for a loud person to be both an extravert and an introvert? (Yes, yes, it is.)

Throwing caution and self-esteem to the wind, I found myself on my bathroom scale this week. I want to lose those last five pounds (again), but not as much as I want to enjoy nightly cocktails.

In related news, it’s November, the only 30 days that Kopps Frozen Custard makes available my favorite sundae, maybe my favorite food in all eternity, available. Two weeks into the month, two Almond Boy sundaes polished off. Two more pounds added to those five. . .

I LOVE loud music, but loathe loud television. Even in this world of isolation, I still seek quietude. It makes me fucking bonkers when my husband or sons walk into a room in which I’m reading or working or writing and blast on the television. I mean sure, my husband’s ear was ripped off his head, and hearing loss resulted from the neurological damage occurring with the crush, but jaysus, that’s loud. Remember, I didn’t say all the revelations were good ones.

This shirt was a gift from Rebecca, one of my dear coworkers, and I absolutely love that she couldn’t wait to give it to me.

Orange and fuchsia are my favorite colors, but I learned that the Milwaukee River, while not the cleanest body of water, sparkled in the most electric, hopeful shade of blue. That particular shade of hopeful blue is my interim favorite color.

I’ve discovered that denying myself something I want is both possible and crushing. I can want and want and not get and not get and that’s just the way life is. It’s a paradox of adulthood: what you want that’s wrong can seem perfectly justifiable, and what’s sensible and reserved can leave you feel like you’re missing something.

I want my children to visit their grandparents and my parents to see their grandchildren, but I am not prepared to carry the burden of the potential spread of the coronavirus to my parents if I arrange for the kids to visit.

My friend Dena, who is probably my biggest blog “fan” if my having a fan is even a thing, became a widow recently. Neil’s funeral was shared via Facebook Live because grieving the loss of friends and loved ones is yet one more human ritual affected by stupid COVID. His was a beautiful service, and I felt connected, however unconventionally, having been able to attend from a distance. I wanted to support my friend in a less tech-y way, so this week I delivered dinner. I see pretty much no one these days, still it was a stunner to realize as we chatted how my social skills have deteriorated.

Dena told me that she missed the frequency with which I had once written here in this blog, that she missed my voice, because reading what I wrote was like listening to me talk, which is about as nice a thing as you can say to someone. I wish I had more to say, I wish I had more to offer my fan (yes, fan, as in singular!)

I felt more clear-headed when I wrote more regularly. That’s the revelation on which I’ll close. Will I do something about it though? I mean, with all the drinking and frozen custard crowding my agenda, where will I find the time??