Guilt in the Time of COVID19 – Write Now Columbus – April 2020
A friend recently admitted to feeling guilty that she wasn’t writing during what is, for her, a sudden slow time. I could relate.
The second week my husband was in the hospital, after they closed the doors to visitors and implemented social distancing across the country, I thought I might use the suddenly empty days to tidy my office, you know, the one that looks like a bomb went off in it.
But there’s this thing behind my ears. Silent, distracting, like a computer program hogging all the RAM. I can’t see it or hear it, but it’s there, draining my focus. I’d wager many of you feel it too.
Instead of sorting stacks of paper, I moved my laptop into the living room and surfed social media, waiting for his calls and texts. I went into my office to get my sunglasses so I could walk the pupperina, closed the door, and barely opened it for seven days.
I shared this with my friend and told her I refused to feel guilty for not learning a new language or writing a book during this time.
Guilt serves no one.
Instead of trying to write, I’m gathering the sensory details I will forget when I once again have the energy to write. The green rubber gloves with the little nibs on the fingers which, now that Ed is home, I wear to apply Lidocaine cream to his aching back. The whir of the nutrition pump and the slightly sickening vanilla protein shake smell of the liquid food. Stuffed bears or bear cutouts in some of the neighbors’ windows, including our own, so the children can go on a “bear hunt.” Feeling surprised at how much I miss hugs.
I admire people who can work under these conditions and worship the medical professionals and other essential workers out on the front lines. I urge everyone else to just keep their kids alive and try not to scream at that zoom call coworker who turns off his video, but fails to mute his microphone so the entire team hears his toilet flush.
We are all doing our best.
And now, repeat after me:
Wash your hands.
Don’t touch your face.
Set the guilt aside and do your part to save someone’s life.
As my husband and I age, the thrill of attending Ohio State football games at Ohio Stadium has waned. Frankly, we’d much rather watch in the comfort of our home while the pupperina chews on things she shouldn’t and where no one is spilling a beer down either of our backs.
But today, we made our annual trek to the ‘Shoe to watch the Buckeyes beat Indiana.
For me, the best part of a game is the band. Yes, I’m biased, but I believe the Ohio State marching band is unrivaled in precision and style. I lived for band in high school and still regret selling my professional Haynes flute. I also regret that I didn’t play a brass instrument and therefore couldn’t be in the all brass “Best Damn Band in The Land” at Ohio State. But I was in law school anyway and barely had time to eat or sleep let alone practice music or routines.
I miss the days when television stations showed the full band performance at half-time. Now, when the sportscasters blather on during the mid-game break, I clench my teeth and mute the TV. We’re lucky to see ten seconds of marching band footage.
So I may have squealed a little today when we made it to our seats in time to see the “incomparable” Script Ohio, during the pre-game show. If you missed it, here you go – our view from 19C, Row 2.
Some days, days like today, when the new computer is unsatisfactory and needs to be returned, the old computer is on the fritz (which is why you bought the new computer), but the new computer has not yet been returned and the even newer computer has not yet arrived, the roof is leaking and must be replaced, and the air conditioner, while new, needs to be paid for, you only need to look out at the adorable pupperina to know that everything is right with the world if you just stay in the moment. A dog. That is all.
Despite her name (Scarlet as in “Scarlet and Gray,”) the pupperina is wholly uninterested in this sports thing probably because it does not include doggy snacks.
And no, I am not writing. Sometimes you need a day off.
For fourteen years, Morgan (aka Mr. Dawg), served as my writing helper.
When he died last November, I worried I’d never have such good dog help again.
But #Scarlet, the #ninetyninepercentgooddog, is up to the task.
Here she is “helping” Ed with a project in the first weeks after we got her.
Eight months later, she’s still “helpful,” but at a much more relaxed pace. Today she helped us eat lunch.
In the evenings, she helps in my office. I savor these moments watching her sleep.
Do you have a “helpful” pet?