Lockdown: Yours ’til Niagara Falls

Desk to desk to desk to desk

That Thursday late-night flurry of productivity meant I got very little sleep, most of it not very good. The Darth Vader machine has a tank of water it heats up so the air it forces into me isn’t dry. You can adjust the level of humidity, and most of the time you get it how you like it and just leave it.

I should probably do some research, because I don’t know what causes, once in a while, the moisture to recondense in the air tube itself (oh; I guess it’s just cooler air at night. Duh?). When this happens, the moisture is forced in tiny amounts along the tube, and when there’s enough of it, it collects in the mask and drips on my face. Unpleasant.

I’ve looked on some forums, and some of the veteran Darth Vader wearers have a slang word for this occurrence. Washed out? Something like that. So I got Niagaraed Thursday night and, not even aware I was doing it, I took the mask off and fell back asleep.

Which means I wasn’t in the best shape Friday morning. I felt good enough about the work late Thursday that I kind of rode that, though, and my mood was pretty good.

These stories I write have to be approved before we publish, and not just by my supervisor (our communications director). In the case of the college of engineering story, approval comes also from the development officer responsible for the college, a coworker. She gets approval from the dean, the college’s communications person, and the donor.

This is an overall positive. As a representative of my organization, I have certain priorities in how I put the story together. As a writer, I have others: good, clear writing, yes, but also how the one story reads as part of our larger body of published work. Nobody has ever told me not to let our stories sound alike, mostly since nobody reads all our work so they probably wouldn’t notice, but it’s important to me we don’t slide into ruts.

The donors have their own priorities. The dean has his. The dean’s communications person has hers. Oh, and our webmaster has his, too.

It comes back to me with everyone’s notes, and I get to reconcile the edits while also keeping the quality of the writing where I want it. Because honestly, mostly everyone else (my supervisor not included) cares more about what I write than how I write it. So I get to correct gender-non-specific language and match pronouns I didn’t use with their correct antecedents. Also: lower-case everyone’s overly ambitious capitalization.

This took up my morning hours, but we got the story posted. I wrote the social media copy. Our e-communications guy shared my copy on our social media platforms and emailed the links to our immediate contacts. The immediate contacts forwarded the links to their contacts.

And this is a considerable part of how I earn those breakfast burritos.


I can’t remember what I worked on in the afternoon but it was equally engrossing. The workday passed rather quickly, even when they canceled our planned virtual office pau hana without explanation. Darn it. I shopped for ingredients Thursday night for one item on the schedule, a make-along St. Patrick’s Day cocktails activity. Already had all the alcohol, but I needed fresh mint, club soda, and coconut water.

We haven’t even hit the JetWay yet

I was tempted to watch Ted Lasso again in my downtime after work. I totally could have, too. However, reluctant to become tired of it, I instead re-watched the first two episodes of Forever, that great series with Fred Armisen and Maya Rudolph on Prime. I recommended it to a friend recently and I had it on my mind.

Took a long nap after that, then ate shredded pork tacos for dinner. I made all that pork shoulder in the Instant Pot with several dishes in mind, yet I pretty much just used it for tacos and for eating right out of the food storage container. I also needed a few gallons of drinking water, so I drove to the Foodland and took care of that. Since I was there, I got a small chocolate shake from the McD’s drive-through.

Despite all the rain and the late hour, that parking lot was hopping Friday night. You can totally feel people getting antsy. Restrictions on this island our loosening, and people are throwing themselves into long-forbidden activity, and it’s affecting the whole vibe of this town. Perhaps a bit too eagerly.

I get it. I feel it too. The flight attendant has asked everyone to remain seated until the plane comes to a complete stop at the JetWay, but the aisles are already full of people eager to get off and beat everyone to baggage claim, even though they’re still going to have to wait the same amount of time as the rest of us when they do.

I’m more than a little nervous about this.

Contextualizing

Sharon texted me late to ask if I knew why the pau hana was canceled. It led to some other unrelated work conversation. Faye texted to ask if this guy Derek is my classmate. He is. We were good friends. JB and the writing partner got back to me with updates on their parents’ vaccinations too.

Crush Girl and I texted sporadically through the day. She was good company as I struggled to stay focused on very little sleep.

My moods have been all over, but I’m grateful for so many things. Steady employment doing something I enjoy. Good coworkers, some of whom have become good friends. My family making it this far without getting infected, and my parents getting their shots. Friends all over sharing what’s going on in their lives. Some of it’s not so good, but I’m grateful for their sharing.

If there’s a dearth of this kind of connectivity in your pandemic experience, hit the comments and I’ll send you some contact info.

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