Lockdown: Shelf esteem

Most of the week was pretty productive by day and semi-adventurous at night. I was decently productive through most of the week, but I admit it was mostly to check things off the list without actually doing any real writing, and I have a couple of nagging writing projects I really need to get done.

Still, those checkmarks were assignments, and I got them done. People seemed pleased with my work. I also had four meetings and although I’m working on being a better contributor, I think I did okay this week. I’m a harsh critic of my meeting participation because I dislike meetings so much and I want to be better at them, since my aversion is so well-known in the company.

“That guy is so bad in meetings; it’s no wonder he hates them so famously” is a not as good as “That guy’s good in meetings; it’s too bad he hates them so famously.”

I made another Target run, this time for a friend who’s collecting packages of feminine hygiene products for a huge donation to a social agency in my neighborhood, to celebrate her birthday. I think it’s ten packages for every year she’s been alive or something. So I hit Target again and bought something like sixty bucks worth, which doesn’t seem like that much product for the price. No wonder indigent women and girls have difficulty. It makes me angry.

I also hit two neighborhood bars this week. One on Wednesday night and one this evening (it’s late Friday night as I write this). This makes three bars in a week, and I think I’ve just about gotten it out of my system. First, it’s kind of a pricey way to spend an evening. And while the food is great (I chose bars who are known for having good food), bar food is just not very good for you, at least not the stuff I had.

On the other hand, I got a lot of good reading done, which is my main reason for going to bars. With cafes not open late, I just want somewhere quiet to read, somewhere out of the house, in the company of strangers. I’m about 40% of the way through Matt Haig’s The Midnight Library, which I am rather enjoying.

There must be a decent, happy medium. I crammed far too much food into my gaping maw this evening, and that’s on me. I also had two beers when all I really wanted was one. Or one and a half. Maybe if I become a regular at some of these neighborhood spots, I won’t feel as pressured to spend more money at once, because that’s part of it. Nobody wants to be the guy everyone recognizes as the One Who Drinks Water and Just Orders Fries While Reading a Book.

If freaking Zippy’s had a more pleasant bathroom, I would just go there a few nights a week, as I did when I was a bus rider and didn’t have a lot of options, and when I was working on my master’s thesis and just needed somewhere I could work and not be pressured to give up my table.

I need the cafes to get back to normal. My favorite neighborhood boba cafe is usually open until 10:30, but these days it closes at five. Ugh.

I didn’t make anything new in my kitchen this week, or anything really worth sharing. Lazy quesadillas more than once. Lazy burritos a few times. Kimchi and tofu. I realized a few days ago it had been more than a month since I’d had spaghetti, so I made that twice, and too much of it each time. But geeeeeez it made me happy.

I played around with a cream sauce the second time. So it made me even happier but was of course even worse for me. Dang it!

I had cream in my fridge because I’d been jonesing for white Russians. I’ve been trying to use up the liquor in my house before I buy any more alcohol, so I’ve lately had black Russians. Did you know a black Russian made with tequila instead of vodka is called a brave bull? I had no idea until I looked it up to see if I’d somehow invented this. What a silly thought.

There are a few names for a white Russian made with tequila.

Anyway, in case you didn’t catch that, I used up my vodka and now I’m focusing on finishing the tequila and gin.

I didn’t listen to much music, preferring to fill the background with the sounds of baseball. I listened to a lot of ballgames, keeping up with my podcasts the rest of the time. I did spin some playlists when I drove anywhere, but I stayed close to home (except for the trek to Target), so the song count was low.

However, Gojira’s new album Fortitude dropped Friday and I’m loving it on repeat. Mostly it’s slow, plodding, dense, and heavy. I find it blissfully soothing.

I didn’t do a lot of texting this week. JB and I chatted about our parents for a little while the other night. Short exchanges here and there with Cindy, Julie, Crush Girl, Sylvia, Sharon, the writing partner, Penny, and Desi. A few work-related texts.

Neither did I watch anything new, except Nomadland Tuesday and Wednesday. It’s fantastic. I’ll post a short review sometime this weekend. When I had my eyes on a screen, if it wasn’t the news it was going back through highlights from Ted Lasso and Mythic Quest.

My free year of Apple TV+ expires July 6. Ted Lasso season 2 drops July 23. I could pay $5 for an additional month to watch it (tooooooootally worth it!) or $50 for another year. That saves ten bucks off the monthly price, but I need to figure out what kind of usage I’d need to make $50 worth it. Maybe if Apple added one more series for me to love, that would be three good series with limitless replays for $17 bucks each. That might do it.

I’m going to give The Morning Show another try, and I think I’ll finish up Central Park before my trial ends, but I can’t see myself getting very amped for either.

This week, I’ll re-watch Mythic Quest in anticipation of season 2’s drop Friday. Yes. Yes yes yes.

Okay, one last thing. I’ve been a little depressed — not like the waves of darkness that rush in and cover me for a week or more, but like little wavelets of it for a couple of hours here and there, and leave just the burden of their memory until the come in for another round.

It’s all related (I think) to that thing I mentioned some weeks ago, that this lockdown is just about over and while I made decent use of my time in these four walls, I didn’t make good enough use of my time. I have little to show for it, at least to the casual observer, and this matters to me.

My life is still a mess. It is far, far less of a mess (I’m kind of talking literally here) than it was fourteen months ago for sure, and I’m proud of it, but I’m still in a hole. I haven’t caught up enough to be on lvel ground, and that’s what I wanted.

So this week I identified one thing that was stressing me out: my vinyl. I’ve spent quite a bit of money these past few years of vinyl reissues of beloved albums, and I can’t keep the records where I used to keep all my records, for reasons I can’t go into.

So they’re stashed temporarily here and there where I hope they won’t be damaged accidentally by some stupid act of my own idiotic negligence. Yes, I know I just began two consecutive paragraphs with “so” but I usually begin ten consecutive paragraphs with “I,” so it’s an improvement.

In that first run to Target I bought a small two-compartment shelf. Those modular cube-like things, only it’s two of them in one unit. A good size for LPs.

Tuesday night I put the thing together, and THEN (this is huge) I tidied up the area where I wanted to put it. It took some time, and I did slightly more than the least I needed to clean up, and dang it felt good. When I put my stack of books-to-be-read on the bottom shelf and the LPs on the top shelf, and my autographed Ken Stabler football helmet (a gift from my sister) on the top of the unit, it looked great, and the area around the stupid shelf also looks great.

Looking at it even now, five nights later, makes me happy. The way taming the monster last year made me happy. This weekend I’m going to identify the my next small project and then I’m going to do it next week. I think I already have it in mind.

I’ll do the Friday 5 tomorrow. This weekend is about catching up on some personal writing and possibly some sleep. And hopefully some ocean.

One Reply to “Lockdown: Shelf esteem”

  1. I started the audio of The Midnight Library last night–I’m hoping to listen more this weekend–it’s my teacher book group’s selection for this month.

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