The most striking thing about living in a plague time is the boredom.
I am privileged to be a able to social distance, and I am aware that others cannot. Software is very amenable to working from home, and they ordered us to do that three weeks ago. But I would be lying if I didn’t see that I didn’t get bored.
Before the world ended, I worked in an office building of about 200 people. My cubicle had low walls, so I could hear the cacophony of phone calls and conversations. Now, my days are quiet. I play podcasts in the background to keep me company.
Before the world ended, I used to go out for lunch and dinner. My favorite restaurants are now closed for anything other than delivery and takeout. That, and the trauma of grocery shopping (more on that in another post) means I cook far more than I previously did.
Before the world ended, I tried to keep an active social life. I work to live; I do not live to work. My weekends were full with trips to the movies, the art museum, theater, and orchestra. Now all of the institutions I love are closed. I fear that they will not survive the prolonged shutdown and the economic collapse.
Though, I must admit, boredom is the preferable mental state. When I get bored, I go to Johns Hopkins site to check the global case total, or go to the New York Times or the Washington Post and check the maps and latest news. The boredom instantly gives way to an existential terror. The last time I felt that kind of terror was 9/11, though that was more acute, where this is longer lasting.
So I try to distract myself in other words. I binged season 7 of America’s Next Top Model,which I had originally seen when I was in was in Korea. Next, I moved on to watching the Best British Baking show and now I am watching Tiger King. When I am not watching Netflix or Amazon Prime, I am listening to Sense and Sensibility on Audible. People talk of watching Contagion on Netflix, but I have no interest in that.
I am also knitting. A few weeks ago, I went to Michael’s and walked out with as much yarn as my arms could carry. Literally. Knitting scarves is a wonderful activity at this time.
I also plan to read books about story structure. One day, I hope to write about all of this. And I need to understand story structure before I can do that.