Corona Diaries: Monday, April 6, 2020

7:05 AM

I’ve been trying to put together interesting ways to describe my days but it turns out that without going somewhere—or even the potential of going somewhere—I don’t do much. I was writing out a general schedule of my days last week to prepare myself for this exercise and I thought to myself, “oh my god, I’m a house plant.” Feed me, water me, give me a little bit of a job to do and some sunlight. That’s my day. Ta-da.

7:06 AM

I realize that that doesn’t make the rest of this series seem like compelling reading. Um. I have a dog? And roommates? And I cook, sometimes, and spend too much money on gardening supplies and frivolous things, and I have a team I adore very much, and also a lot of fascinating friends. So. There’s that to look forward to, probably.

7:34 AM

I want to have a garden. This is hindered by the fact I’m not a gardener by nature. In fact, I am what you could perhaps generously call “very bad” at gardening. A murder thumb, if you will. The book I’m reading (yes, I’m so bad at gardening I have to take a school course on it) tells me that there are no bad gardeners, only bad waterers, so I’m currently in the middle of learning how to make an at-home irrigation system. To date I have only sprayed myself in the face three times. Twice this morning.

8:30 AM

Log on to my email and Slack to touch base with my team—we’re having our first group Zoom call. It’s interesting how quickly I went from disliking video conference calls to wanting to have one; my team’s office isn’t much larger than a generous walk-in closet, and I miss seeing them so close at hand. On the plus side, natural light! On the downside, no one to chatter at inanely throughout the day besides the dog, who’s a terrible conversationalist. They at least seem to also miss me-slash-the office camaraderie, so that’s gratifying.

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9:13 AM

I hear the mailman stop by—or more specifically, the dogs hear the mailman stop by. I feel my regular twinge of—something. Not guilt, but like gratitude paired with something a lot like guilt. I want to, I don’t know, write a note saying “thank you for continuing to deliver things like my car loan bill and magazines and care packages during an international pandemic” and slip it into the mailbox with a $20, but also that seems a little bit like something a crazy person would do, so I don’t do that. (If you are a mail person and this does not seem crazy please email me to let me know.) Instead I spend five minutes convincing myself that the best way to thank people like my mailman is to stay inside.

11:22 AM

The nature of my job means that I’m not ever allowed to sit with one task for more than about fifteen minutes before an interruption. In the last hour, I have: started work on an ad; had a quick phone call with a sales representative; dashed off a confirmation email about the phone call; finished an ad; started another ad; gotten called in to help on a separate project; answered two pressing vendor emails; finished another ad; written up action items for both of the vendors and the project I was called in on; popped in to fix an issue with a newsletter; and started on a template for a sales manager. Normally this makes me feel alive. Today my soul is trying to forcibly eject itself from my body. Oh, to be a small lizard, sunning myself on a rock.

2:03 PM

I just realized I forgot to eat lunch.

3:43 PM

I just remembered that I realized I forgot to eat lunch. Still haven’t eaten, but now it’s closer to dinner…so I have a bowl of pretzels.

4:12 PM

My little brother is a junior at ULL, and also way smarter than me at a lot of things, so I’m working with him to sharpen up some of my department’s work-from-home processes. He’s writing some code (?) to help automate a queue for us based on our Google Sheet tracking document; he had a meeting with my team last week to introduce us to the general idea and show us how it worked and my heart just about exploded with pride. (He’s still a nerd and I will continue to make him fetch me things like a little butler when we’re in the same house.)

5:40 PM

One of my roommates and I walk the dogs every afternoon around 5:30, or 5:45, or 6, or whenever we mutually decide to stop answering emails or working on projects. It seems to be a similar schedule for a lot of my neighborhood, since we routinely see the same flock of children herded by a hassled, sleep-deprived adult; the same two guys, washing the same (?) truck, over and over; the same pair of people also walking their dogs in the evening sunshine. I think I know my whole neighborhood better now that I can’t go to any of the block parties or potlucks or whatever event was on Nextdoor. I definitely know that those two guys have the cleanest truck in the entire city.

8:02 PM

I invested, early on in this whole thing, in a $50 mystery care package from an art store. Part of the package was a small set of watercolors, with a pad of watercolor paper. I’m unwinding tonight with something playing on Netflix and brush on paper. I’m really good at amorphous flowers and really bad at everything else, but this, like humanity, Rihanna’s new album and my patience, is a work in progress. Patience is a good thing to work on with watercolors; if I try to add something new before the last stroke has dried, it bleeds together and washes out my work. It doesn’t come naturally to me, but I want to keep trying.

9:00 PM

In bed with a huge bottle of water, my space heater of a dog and also Animal Crossing. I am aware that I am keeping what my friends in the group chat call “grandma hours” but I’m also aware that I don’t care.



The Corona Diaries is a joint project of the Renaissance Publishing Staff. Each week during the series, a different member of our staff will share their day-to-day experiences with working from home, social distancing and the other ups and downs of living through the pandemic.


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