Lockdown: Fat Boys and a Slim Jim

I’ve said this before, but writing is such a bizarre thing sometimes. It’s a discipline, sure, and I can make myself put the words together when I have to. Since it’s my job, I have to almost every day.

Sometimes it flows, like the chocolate river through Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, just pouring right out of my brain and through my fingertips. Sometimes it’s more like blowing your nose when you’re completely stuffed up. You get stuff out, but it’s slow, and it’s painful, and it’s neither very rewarding nor very pretty.

Today I kind of procrastinated on a thing I had to get done. I did the easy part, then dillied like crazy on the actual composition part. Then I had a late lunch right around the end of some people’s workday, like at 4:30 in the afternoon (my boss usually works seven to four), and just started putting the ideas together, and it kind of loosened up my mojo and I got it all out.

It’s not great. But it’s not bad, and it felt normal. Like maybe instead of opening a major artery, I only need a little paper cut and I let it just ooze gently but quickly right out.

I hope it’s a portent of Friday’s productivity. I have similar work to put together Friday and would love to head into the long weekend without having to worry about Tuesday.

Breakfast was overnight oats. They were meh. As I’ve mentioned, I often sprinkle some brown sugar over the top when I get the oats out of the fridge, even though there’s already brown sugar in there. Thursday morning I just ate them without the extra-extra sugar. Mostly to remind myself that I can.

Lunch — the mojo-loosening lunch — was leftover Thai food. Panang curry with sticky rice. Not exactly leftover, since I didn’t eat any of it Wednesday night but bought it specifically to have Thursday. Freaking delicious.

I don’t think I had a dinner, exactly. When I submitted my work it was about seven in the evening, and I thought I might have dinner after my walk, since I’ve been so hungry after them lately. So I had a snack, these Lay’s Limon flavored chips. Just a couple of handsful, which is probably like eight servings according to the bag.

After submitting something written from scratch, I usually need a brain rest. So I went to bed for a short nap and got up around half past nine. It took me a while to take care of a few housekeeping things and I finally got out the door for my walk after eleven.

It was going to be a short walk. I needed to get a money order for the rent. There’s a 7-Eleven (where money orders are only a buck) soooorta near the house, but pretty much across the street from the post office, and I hate carrying money around late late at night. I usually avoid this 7-Eleven at night because it’s in a rather sketchy area, but its proximity to the post office drew me. I wanted to keep the walk short.

You should always ask the clerk if the money order printer is working. 7-Eleven’s printers are suuuuuuuuuuuuper unreliable, and too many times have I made the mistake of walking in there with cash for the rent, only to learn I can’t get a money order. Not that big a deal when you’re driving, but I’m walking.

So I asked. And the clerk said no, the printer’s not working. So I walked through an even sketchier area in the ‘hood to the next 7-Eleven. It’s just a few blocks down pretty much the same street, but it’s dark, and it was once a popular spot for very shady dealings.

The next 7-Eleven, which I stop at rather frequently because it’s almost never very busy late at night, was able to help me out. So I got my money order and stuck it into an addressed envelope I brought with me, and walked up to the strip mall, and now it was quite a bit of a longer walk than I planned, but now I was kind of enjoying it so it was okay.

It was in the plan to mail the rent, then get something from Long’s. I needed an HDMI cable. And by the time I dropped my mail in the box, I was really hungry. Like, I-can’t-make-it-home-without-a-bite hungry.

Some drugstores are pretty good for convenience-store-type food. You might get a premade sandwich or some string cheese or something. This Long’s isn’t quite like that, although it does sell a few novelty ice creams individually. It was going to have to do. I got a couple of Fat Boys and a can of iced tea. And a Slim Jim. And wolfed them down sitting on a wall outside the store. Another snack, or dinner? I guess dinner, which even I am appalled at.

However, it is 3:00 in the morning Friday. I’m sated. I feel good about work and about the walk (I added only 3300 steps before midnight but hit 9000 steps after midnight, leaving me just over a thousand steps shy of the daily goal). I should be done with this in enough time to get to bed by 4 at the latest, which would be delightful.

Sharon and I traded a few Skype IMs about work stuff, mostly. She’s a good friend. I miss the days when her desk was just down the hall from mine. She’s back on campus now (I mean in non-lockdown situations) and I’m still in the main office, so I don’t chat with her as much. I’m super grateful for her camaraderie and friendship, especially now that Ali’s moved to Boston.

Jennifer emailed me a photo of a really inexpensive lunch she picked up near her place. After we went to a whisky tasting together, we had a dinner in this spot, a casual Japanese joint that’s quite good. It was from there.

Crush Girl responded to my questions from late Wednesday night, which led into longer conversations about the UC schools no longer requiring ACT or SAT scores for admissions. I and my fellow educators who’ve worked with non-traditional learners are quite happy about this development, despite the fact that without standardized test scores, the one thing I had going for me in the eyes of colleges is gone.

Standardized assessment is horribly flawed in one very important way: there’s really no such thing as a standard learner, so standardizing learning is a losing proposition, and standardizing assessment is unfair.

We chatted about a few other things, and it would probably have been the highlight of my day if not for finding my writing mojo. Oh, and the Fat Boys and Slim Jim.

I also got an IM on FB from a former boss of a boss, which was really nice. Can’t mention what we discussed yet, since the conversation is ongoing, but it made me feel good that she reached out to me.

As you should also do if you’re having difficulty connecting in these [fill in the blank with anything but “uncertain”] days. It’s technically Friday as I get ready to dive into bed, and Friday is going to be terrific. I’m happy to share some of the terrificness with you, if you could use some.

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