The sun came out on Tuesday, and it had a profound effect on my mood after a gray and rainy Monday. So much feels gray and rainy that when the skies are like that too, I get a bit overwhelmed with it. But like all feelings, the sadness of Monday melted away to the relative good cheer of Tuesday, made even better by “seeing” some of my students in our online class meetings that morning.
And then I was utterly exhausted. It is going to take me a minute to get in shape for this.
This Saturday feels remarkably similar to most of my Saturdays. I woke up earlier than I wanted to wake up, alternated between reading and staring at my phone, took a couple of pictures of my cat snoozing hard on my wife who was also snoozing hard, and then finally got up and made coffee and breakfast. She usually makes coffee on Saturdays–sign one that things are different.
Time has already become almost meaningless, and yesterday it was only Wednesday of our first week on lockdown. I’m sure I’ll adjust to all this, but I’m not adjusted yet, not even close. The morning was good–I started off with a Zoom writing group with professors, started by a friend from my Tulane days. It was so good to see some friendly faces, have a chat about our work, and then actually focus for a few decent stretches of time. Time is everywhere and nowhere right now, so to be able to get some thinking done in the stretch of it was a nice break.
It’s Monday, but wow, it feels like we’re off the calendar altogether. This is my spring break, and I’d planned to spend it in upstate New York, visiting Harriet Tubman’s old house, stopping by Seneca Falls, and touring John Brown’s Farm, maybe a quick zip down the old Olympic bobsled course in Lake Placid, weather depending. And I was looking forward to space to read and write, all by myself. Less than a week ago I was crowdsourcing travel stops. Wow, that seems quaint now.
It’s Saturday, and it feels like I’m in the slow beginning of a disaster movie, where the characters are all going about their daily business with no idea what’s ahead. Except we know what’s ahead. We see what has happened in China, Korea, Italy, Iran, France, Spain, and, like, Seattle. We see what is happening here as the case count ticks up. Schools are closed, workers are told to work at home, the Department of Defense has banned even domestic travel. The writing is on the wall, and yet.
This week has felt like a thousand years, as I’m sure it has for most of us. We started getting warning emails about taking our teaching online last week, but it’s not easy to figure out how to respond to those warnings. I’ll go online when I need to go online, but until that moment, there’s not a whole lot to do. I mean, get extra training, rewrite the syllabus, etc. etc., but nope, I spent that time fretting and talking with the students who made it to class on Tuesday about what we’re all afraid of and what we think we should do. That was basically it for preparation.
Tuesday’s bike ride was the usual–down the hill and to the left to the University of Maryland Medical Center, locked my bike to the racks near the door and under the overhang to protect my fancy seat from forecasted rain, and then I walked over to Pratt and Light to catch the shuttle to campus. My commute takes forever, but the good part is that it gets me outside first thing in the morning, heart pumping, legs moving, eyes up and out.