Lockdown: My living room’s alive with the sound

“The pandemic is not over just because you’re bored.”

Saw this on Twitter early Tuesday morning. I think it puts a finger right on general sentiment. I didn’t think it was so widespread until I saw photos of the parks and beaches on Oahu this past weekend. People are so very eager to get out and get together.

I don’t really blame them. Surprisingly, I actually sympathize. I thought it would take longer, but it’s only been two months, and I miss my colleages at the office. I mean, I miss being around them. I miss incidental conversations in passing, in the halls or the lobby or elevator or parking structure or breakroom. I miss asking people where they went for lunch, or what they’re reading, or what they thought of Friday night’s basketball game.

I will never go so far as to say I miss smalltalk, but I miss the smalltalk-adjacent chitchat with people I admire and care about.

I don’t exactly miss conversations with my parents every weekend, but I miss being around them every weekend. I’ve taken unexpected comfort in just being in their presence every so often. It needn’t be every weekend — but it’s been two months, and I’m feeling it.

I’ve already said I miss seeing Crush Girl, which is no surprise. Yet I also miss the friends I see maybe once or twice a year, at birthday get-togethers or whatever. I’m writing this down now as a reminder for the next time I’m still home and dreading getting together with these friends, thirty minutes before I’m supposed to be at some restaurant.

“I can’t people today” is my go-to sentiment most of the time I’m expected to be somewhere for something social, even with people I always enjoy seeing. It takes supreme effort to get dressed, get into the car, and get going, even when I know by the time I get home I’ll be glad I did.

Socializing is a lot like going to the beach or going for a late-night walk.

As Adam Grant reminds us in a recent newspaper column, introverts need social interaction as much as extroverts need it. We just get our fill very very very quickly.

We can call it bored if we want, and I’m not denying boredom is a big part of it, but it’s more than that. It’s being part of something bigger than the something in our own homes. It’s why movie theaters didn’t die with the boom in home video, as predicted by doomsayers in the late 80s.

Ironic that this could be the end of movie theaters, though. Digression.

I’ve said for a month or so that one of the things I miss most is drinking coffee in coffee shops, or tea in boba cafes. Still true.

However, I still have a job. My friends and family are safe. My coworkers are hanging in there. Not everyone is lucky enough to complain about the stuff I and others complain about. Even if I’m bored beyond tears and stir-crazy like crazy, I’m still in a good place. I can take more.

Monday work was okie dokie. Not as productive nor as efficient as I wanted to be, but I got a few low-stress, no-brainpower requests in the morning. Taking care of them with little strain was satisfying, even if doing so was kind of esapist behavior. I still have stuff I really need to get done while new major things continue to roll in.

My daily Zoom meeting was nice, as was the smaller Zoom meeting I had right after. Good work conversations. Good camaraderie. Good reminders that while I may be redundant within my department and the first to go if we have layoffs, while I’m here I’m doing something important and valued.

I mean valued in a philosophical and practical sense. Not in a compensatory sense. ‘Though it’s clear this is no time to complain about this.

My diet has been atrocious lately. It’s one reason I set out two months ago determined to log what I eat: so I can remind myself of unhealthy ruts I often slide into. Korean veggies this past weekend was a good idea, but once a week won’t do it, and while I make no apologies for these typically pickled or cooked veggie preparations, they’re a little lacking in the dark leafy greens area. My high-average HDLs were a comfort to me the last time I had bloodwork and I’d hate to see that go.

On that note! Breakfast was three hot dogs with sauerkraut, ketchup, and mustard. So yummy. Lunch was pasta (campanelle) in canned sauce, pepared in the Instant Pot. I still have that nice blue cheese (it doesn’t look like it’s turned yet) and meant to stir that in but I was too lazy. I wanted to get to bed early (because laundry), another reason I prepared this for lunch. Didn’t want to take too much time messing around, especially after the all-evening waffles Sunday.

Lunch, by the way, is typically around 4, but I’ve been known to push it to 6, which is what I did Monday.

I don’t think I had dinner, because I pretty much went to bed when I was finished with lunch. I think I may have thrown things off — it’s possible I had breakfast before bed early Monday morning. I’ll have to check what I wrote yesterday. Either way, I’m pretty sure there were no two-meal days.

I didn’t snack Monday either.

I skipped the walk because laundry.

I did, while having my lunch, watch the first forty minutes or so of The Sound of Music. People have given me grief for decades about my not having seen it. So this is the week. I’m planning to review it for the staff newsletter, since people at work are relentless in their shock/dismay/disappointment at my not having seen it.

Last weekend I finished season three of Orange is the New Black. It was a weird season. The main character grows increasingly terrible, while some of the detestable characters are really turning out nice. The show’s always been good about developing sympathy for its characters, but I wasn’t expecting some of this.

No real spoilers coming up, but skip this section if you’re really sensitive about spoilers.

Some have moved toward the middle: admirable characters spiraling (or nosediving) into understandable self-destructive behavior. Unlikeable characters doing a good turn so they’re not as unlikeable. The real villain after three seasons appears to be the prison system.

But Piper Chapman, the central character, is in danger of being a secondary villain. Geez.

I considered not doing a re-watch before moving to season four, but the writers do something at the end that redeems the bad general feeling of the twelve episodes before. There’s a wonderful, hopeful, uplifting moment you can’t help but smile at. Joy is lacking in this show about a women’s minimum security prison, yet we’re treated to utter, unabashed joy, colored with a strange dash of peace.

That the inept, corrupt system allows for this moment is damning of the system. That the inmates take advantage and seize a moment of baptism (I’m a literature major; I know what a body of water is) for themselves makes my spirit soar for these horribly flawed characters and for myself.

Which is one thing good art does.

Worst season so far, but what a moment the end of episode 13 is.

Crush Girl texted me to ask about my weekend. We traded weekend stories. She sent me a photo of a place on the North Shore where she got some nice-looking takeout. It really made me happy to know she had a great weekend. I guess because my weekend was kind of blah.

Sharon and I traded some texts about potato chips, waffles, kaki mochi in movie theaters, the beach, my hair falling out, and some alumni-relations stuff.

Jennifer M sent me a photo of her latest Japanese whisky purchase. I have to say I’m intrigued — it’s her second purchase of this bottle. She lives walking distance from the Sake Shop in Kakaako, where we’ve both been getting whisky lately. My purchases have mostly been gifts.

Someone out there somewhere is reading this and feeling disconnected from others at a weird time in our lives. With every head bowed and every eye closed, I request this person reach out to me for texting, DMing, or IMing.

That turned out lamer than it sounded in my head. But you get the drift. I’m here.

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