01 April, 2020

how are y'all doing out there?

Functionally, my life looks pretty normal. This pandemic and its accompanying stay-at-home orders came at the end of a quarter, which means 2 weeks or so at home (grading, planning, recharging, maybe day-tripping) before the next round. I'd've stayed home mostly anyway. The campus--we live in faculty housing--is a lot quieter, but it's like, oh, winter break.

The weird shit is the kids. Or lack of kids. Usually we've got a wild band of Nerf-gun toting 8-10 year olds pelting around the complex, screaming and yelling and generally being kids. Now... now there's no one. Nothing. It's creepy-quiet. There's hazard tape around the playground where the very small toddlers and their caregivers would appear during the day. It flaps and whistles in the wind.

I hear more birds, now. I see more birds, now.

Our Trader Joe's has implemented distance-measures. You wait in line outside for admittance, on your little purple tape X a careful six feet from the next person. Couples can wait together, but they can't go in until two come out. There's stuff on the shelves again, and in the frozen section. Not toilet paper yet, or paper towels. (I have instituted hardcore rag-bag in lieu of the latter. The former, fortunately, we'd just bought before All This Started(tm), so we're stocked.) There was actually flour this week, limit one. I snatched up a bag. It might be time to learn sourdough.

My college classes start next week, officially; we got a "soft start" rollout, which was admin's way of saying 'right, so, all online in two weeks, this might freak some folks out' and indeed, it has, and the people doing the heavy lifting with how to teach people to use Zoom and all the cool features on Canvas and whatnot are being heroes right now. I did not think we'd get a soft start, so I worked from about March 13, with a break for grading, to get my spring classes online (rewrite the prompts, redesign the exercises. how the fuck do I do group-work asynchronously??). Ferfuckssake, y'all, I made videos. Before March 13, I would have bark-laughed at you if you had suggested I put my face on a video, like, ever. Now I'm just doing it. One take. Stupid hair, stupid face, whatever, let's do this.

I'm still freaking out quietly that this quarter will suck, even if I am prepared. I am trying to be chill.

My cats are proving helpful. Everyone likes a cat video. And the Patchwork Terror (formerly known as the Kaiju-kitten; names evolve) is very photogenic.

The stupid yellow flowers are blooming around here. The pine trees are releasing clouds of pollen. Every scratch in the throat, every sneeze, every sinus-induced headache triggers an instant's paranoia, firmly smashed by reason. Nous and I are taking turns being the rational voice of no, you are not sick. You are fine.

The gym's closed, of course. We're running outside. There are a lot of hills in this neighborhood. I will be very, very fit in the next quarter, or I will have aggravated every old injury I ever had and be hobbling around.

I have sewn us masks from truly colorful, terrible cotton. I regret only that I have no more skull-tie-dye print to use.

My concentration is...spotty. Since starting this post, I have darted off to my UCI page, written an announcement, started some class-related housekeeping, forgot I was doing that, and came back here (repeat, repeat, repeat).

I'm glad I'm not trying to write something new right now. Revisions are challenging enough.

This pandemic has made my social circle wider, which is kinda funny. There is more D&D now. I'm running our long-term campaign online, which means we get to play more often when The Rat doesn't have to commute from 2 hours north.  And Nous and I started playing in another D&D game with work-friends; we all knew we played, we just never played together. And now we are, because some of us are over-working and some are underemployed and no one would be able to do this if we had to commute all over Los Angeles. So that's pretty cool, too.

Yeah. So. That's me.

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