NOTE TO READERS: Now that the Los Angeles Times folded the local newspapers, the Glendale News-Press and the Burbank Leader, my column, The Whiteboard Jungle, will continue on my Crosby Chronicles blog. Thank you to all who read it. Please send your comments.
It has been 7 weeks since I last taught a class, 7 weeks since we have been in the Stay-at-Home mode.
And in 6 weeks, I will be officially retired from teaching.
With nearly two months of living this way, one would think a pattern would arise, a schedule take hold. But why hasn’t it? Because I feel that I am in a holding pattern.
I keep waiting for me to get into some kind of groove. Instead, I feel aimless, waiting
for . . what . . . the country to reopen, for me to reopen?
There are only a few certainties in my daily life right now:
- 6:00 wake up and feed dog
- 6:30 walk for 45 minutes
- 7:30 post lessons
- 8:30 shower
- 10:00 walk the dog
- 12:00 make lunch
- 2:30 feed dog
- 4:00 take dog for ride
- 5:30 make dinner
- 6:30 my wife and I watch our usual “Dateline” or “48 Hours”
The above list may seem that I am indeed on a schedule. But, quite frankly, the bulk of the time between 9-5 feels empty.
- I should be doing more writing, but I’m not.
- There are many parts of the house which could do with a floor scrubbing, but I have not done it.
- The same thing with our cars. Haven’t washed one, not even vacuumed the inside. That’s 2 months and counting of dirty cars.
- I finally bought a shredder to start throwing out boxes of old financial records from the garage. I discovered that having a shredder means spending time feeding it a few sheets at a time, and that the resultant scraps of paper take up a lot of space in the trash cans. Shredding does not mean disintegrating. So I am no longer that excited about that little hobby. It’s faster (and just as safe) to just throw everything out in the non-recycling trash can.
And so, I do a lot of waiting around for the next item on my To-Do list to arrive. I am allowing the clock to run my life, to dictate what I’m doing, instead of me living my life and occasionally looking up at the clock. It also means a lot of walking around the house and going into the kitchen, drinking more coffee than I should, eating more snacks (chocolate mainly) than I should. Even laying down in the afternoon, drifting off for a ½ hour while listening to an audiobook.
I can’t wait for things to return to normal. At the same time, I have to frequently remind myself that my life is slowly ending. I now have 7 fewer weeks of life than I did back on March 13. During the lockdown, that time hasn’t been put away in a bank’s safety deposit box, waiting for me to claim it once Gov. Newsom waves the green flag. No, the past 7 weeks is just that—in the past. So if I wasn’t that productive, the onus is on me, no one else.
I am amazed watching my wife who has the self-discipline of the sun sit at the dining room table, our default office, and not budge from her seat. She even remains sitting when I give her lunch.
I, on the other hand, can’t sit still for long periods of time. One problem (or excuse) is that I am not totally comfortable doing work at the dining room table because it is slightly higher in relation to the chairs, causing arm strain. I have no desk in my bedroom, but my sons do.
Son number one’s desk is unusable because it is hard to locate it with all the stuff strewn on it including clothes and phone charger cables. Son number two’s desk is better since it is orderly and I do use it occasionally, but the window faces me as I sit there, meaning the backlight bothers my vision.
And then there is the constant laser eyes of my dog starting around 9:00 a.m. and lasting until 7:00 p.m. He probably can’t believe that his Alpha Male pal is around all the time all of a sudden. If he is not staring at me as I eat, he is laying on my left foot underneath the table. Often, he barks to be let outside, then a running slam against the screen door alerts us he is ready to come back in.
I hope that I can get more done with the next several weeks until the economy reopens in a new-normal world. More worrisome: what will the new-normal of myself look like.