Lockdown: We’re in 2020’s stoppage time

I don’t remember how well I slept Sunday night into Monday morning, but I felt okay. I think it was in the area of six and a half hours of good sleep.

I spent most of the workday working on one story, emailing donors and UH people and doing the background. Everyone emailed me back quickly (because yay UH Hilo people!).

Lately, even on my most industrious days, I’m not being productive enough. My work is horribly inefficient. 2021 was supposed to be different, but these first 11 days have been worse, except for that gloriously long New Year’s weekend. I saw this on Twitter this evening and it’s hitting me right where I’m living (sleeplessly):

I am pissed about the beginning of the year. Someone on FB said 2021 doesn’t officially begin until January 20; until then we’re just kind of in extra 2020 time. I laughed and said this is exactly the news I needed to hear, but then last Wednesday happened and now it’s not funny. I don’t even know how we’re possibly going to make it to the 20th.

I’m doomscrolling like crazy and it is not good for my mental well-being. I mentioned on some other platform that I’m doomscrolling more than I have since the false missile alarm a few years ago, and it’s sort of the same thing: can this be happening? How is this happening? What the heck is this reality we’re living in now?

I do this thing on FB, begun right when the lockdown began in March, called Social Distancing Top Five, in which I list my five favorite songs by some musician or group, and one least favorite song, and invite others to participate. It’s kind of fun, but in the darkest, most sleepless day leading up to the election (and during a few periods when the campaigns were still going on) I had to take long breaks, not so much from the fun music lists but from FB itself.

Monday I took a little break from my work and posted a new Social Distancing Top Five: Styx. My favorite group from the summer after sixth grade through the summer after twelfth grade. I’d kind of been putting Styx off because the band’s too special to me, and I wasn’t really down for any bad lists, but I also thought I had to do something that made me think of happier things, like the favorite music of my youth.

And the response has been great! The lists are great, and the conversation stirred up by the lists has been great. I had no idea I had so many friends who remember Styx with the fondness I do.

So there have been moments of real happiness in the muddy midst of this muck. Distractions, all of them. Escapism. Denial.

Anyway. I’ll be fine. I’m finding some satisfaction in getting work done. I’m enjoying some texting with people I care about.

In that spirit, here’s what some of my friends are reading. I asked a bunch of bookish friends, because one thing I always want to know is what my friends are reading.

Grace and JB are the only friends who didn’t respond this time. I expect it from Grace, but was surprised by JB. He usually responds but he’s going through something difficult so we chatted about that instead. There were others (Faye, Melody, Suzanne, AJ) who said they’re not reading anything, and I feel them: I didn’t do any reading for most of the lockdown.

  • Penny: In a Dark House by Deborah Combie and a book by Toni Anderson about FBI agents pursuing a killer targeting FBI agents.
  • Desi: Secondhand Charm by Julie Berry.
  • Patty: Writers and Lovers by Lily King.
  • The writing partner: Barack Obama’s A Promised Land.
  • Anto: The Homilies on the Gospel of John (I’m assuming that’s the actual title) by Augustine, and Tales from the Folly by Ben Aaronovitch.
  • Susannah: House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski.
  • Dynah: Spring Moon by Bette Bao Lord, and Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express.
  • Nikki: Hacking Leadership and White Fragility.
  • Jennifer O: My Year of Rest and Relaxation, a book about Timothy Leary, and another book about Reagan and Nixon.
  • Cathy: Dolly Parton’s Songteller and some boring-sounding educator stuff.
  • Julie: The Whisper Man by Alex North.
  • Ali: The Guest List by Lucy Foley. A past selection of Reese’s Book Club.

After work I crashed and had a wonderfully drooly, comatose nap. Got up and did some housecleaning and then against my better judgment, I wrote that Utopia Avenue review because I wanted to get it down while it was still fresh. Stayed up too late, though, but I’m going to live with my choice because what the heck is going on in Washington? Staying up late to write a book review nobody’s going to read makes as much sense as that, at least.

Breakfast was instant ramen with a mountain of bean sprouts and an egg and some rice vinegar. Lunch was a pan-fried kajiki fillet on quinoa. I wish I used the George Foreman for it. It was good but what a muscly piece of fish. Dinner was the rest of the kajiki and my leftover Chinese food (mixed veggies with tofu) with quinoa. It was all right. I need to remember this dish isn’t as good as leftovers as other dishes on the menu.

Not a lot of texting but it was good. I gave Olivia Rodrigo’s “Drivers License” a few spins and texted Sharon to ask if she’d heard it yet. She was actually listening to it the moment I texted. We talked about some work stuff. Crush Girl and I texted about our weekends and I told her a little about Utopia Avenue.

I haven’t started it yet, but next up is The List of Things That Will Not Change by Rebecca Stead, a physical book I just got in the mail. I freaking love, love, love Rebecca Stead.

Resolutions, next post.

If you want someone to connect with, I’m not saying I’m going to be very good company, but what the heck. Reach out. I’ll send you contact info if you leave a comment.

2 Replies to “Lockdown: We’re in 2020’s stoppage time”

  1. Styx was one of those bands that my dad introduced us to young, and my whole family saw them live a couple of times. I prefer more guitar-heavy rock Styx and not as much Dennis DeYoung theatrical Styx, and yet I can’t deny that some of my favorite songs are absolutely his doing.

    1. Me too. My top five are
      1. The Best of Times (sentimental favorite; my gateway song)
      2. Blue Collar Man
      3. Come Sail Away
      4. Suite Madame Blue
      5. Crystal Ball

      So, two Tommy Shaw songs and three Dennis DeYoung songs, but the DeYoung songs rock (except number 1 but I can’t help it).

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