Diary 6

Tuesday March 24th

Today was the first day of the lock-down – except it was actually more benign than that. People tended not to go anywhere, although the usual folks were out with the usual dogs, taking constitutional walks. On the whole people were not doing anything outrageous. My son, who seems to have had a mild form of the corona virus, was feeling much better, he told us (by phone) and is relieved that his self-quarantine was done for a good reason. My wife has moved her studio into the attic because the Arts Center where she rented studio space is now closed. I think she now likes the idea of working at home. Previously she was very attached to the idea of ‘going to work’ at a place she could leave at the end of the day. It’s a beguiling notion, but perhaps the new reality is telling us that not all notions are always what we think they are.

Personally I’m settling a little more into the sense that I can do my own thing rather than drifting through the days doing little bits of nothing much. In other words, I’m getting used to this. I discover, every day anew, that many of the things I’d tend to do in other times were not really useful ways to use my time. Now that I’m locked in, as it were, I make definite times to go out and walk, and I have a few weights in the basement I actually use now. Before the present situation I’d half-heartedly think about a walk, and then take a shorter one than intended.  The weights gathered dust. I never did go to the gym as I intended. Now I feel that I’m a bit more in charge of my own time and how I use it. I like that. I still have to learn how to use it well, though….

One thing I’d say is this: I now allow time to do not much. I allow myself the space to gaze out of the window. I slow down.  And I think this poor old body of mine really appreciates that. When I think back to my days as an active professor I begin to realize just how much cortisol and adrenaline must have been incorporated into my days. Fighting through traffic, the stresses of teaching effectively when management insists on behaving like idiots, the piles of papers to grade and comment on, the meetings. None of this would be kind to the body.

It’s a time of recognitions.

I cannot say what life must be like for those who now cannot make a wage. I can only assume that their stress must be enormous. My son and daughter are both in this category, but they seem to be doing fine.  I think they’ve accepted they can’t change things and have decided to be as happy as they can be under the circumstances. I can only write from my own awareness.