Sunday, May 3, 2020

Pandora's Box of Slides

“Don’t even tell me that you are in the best shape of your life,” she said on one of the 100s of phone calls I placed last week. Isolation is difficult for me. I am a people person. So I sit in my 965 sq ft loft and get on the phone, wearing out one friend after another. I was about to wear out another one. This time, the tipping point was talking about how I was finally finding time to exercise. A lot.

“I don‘t want to hear about it.”

I am guessing that she wouldn’t want to hear about how I am finally finding time to scan my old family slides and photo albums. And I am learning Spanish online. And I am looking up youtube videos about how to make my own mask out of stretched out sports socks. (kind of a fail, btw.)

We have all read the advice from people who genuinely care and seem to know a lot. Advice that says “no, you are not going to learn a new language during the pandemic. And you probably won’t write that book you have been meaning to write for decades. Or repaint and repair all of the broken things in your house.”

I agree completely. No. I am not going to do any one of those things. I am going to do them all. Ish.

I have thrown myself into a lather of productivity in the effort to replace the work that has always taken up so much of my time and given me purpose and joy. And a paycheck. The abrupt rupture with my work has left me spinning with loose and crazy energy. I am trying to harness that wild energy because it threatens to spiral into fury or despair. Or something else that I can’t even contemplate.

I dug up the box of family slides and have been scanning them. I have been on a honeymoon with my parents. I have watched them welcome their first baby and a second - me. I have looked into homes we lived in but which do not reside in my memories. It was great until it wasn’t. But I am slogging through it.

I want to speak Spanish. I learned French in school and so hoped it might be an easy transition. It isn’t. I started with Babbel. A lesson a day for a few weeks. Uno, dos tres.. I am not sure how much is sticking, but it’s worth a try.

And I am working out. Almost every day I lift my tiny weights. I do yoga a few times a week. I ordered a TRX and have been using that - unevenly, I will admit, but still. And I walk. And walk and walk. There is no other way of getting out of the house during the safe-at-home era, so I am walking every day. Stifling and thirsty walking with the mask, but not as stifled as I would be at home.

DIY? Sure, I repainted a piece of furniture and there was the less than successful episode with DIY face masks. I bet I would be making bread if that wasn’t my husband’s thing. How much bread can two people eat?

But at the bottom of the box, I found the personality-typing profile that prepared at a corporate retreat almost 2 decades ago. I probably stuffed it there hoping I would never see it again. But there it is. Judgment in black and white.
  • “… people occasionally see her making decisions that fly in the face of logic”
  • “… she may harbor a belief that no one really understands her or cares about her”
  • “… she may show interest in so many different things that she has difficulty focusing on priorities”

I look around me at the office strewn with exercise equipment, craft supplies, old pictures and slides in a jumble and the clothes I forgot to fold after I did the laundry. And I immediately know that I will not come out of the pandemic like Shakespeare did with a masterpiece. I am, after all, still that earnest and overly sociable woman who, in the 90s, was “easily distracted and may have difficulty disciplining herself to complete the task at all costs.”

Or as my brother-in-law says, “hey look, there’s a squirrel.”

1 comment:

  1. Funny, that I just saw this now. It was super impressive that you took on that project and did it with such perfection. And you involved your cousins and aunts. It was huge and took up some of the pandemic safer at home time.