Instead of commemorating a milestone date for this journal, today’s entry will be quite mundane.
The grocery store where I’ve been working is now running almost exactly as it had before the COVID-19 lockdowns occurred. The only items currently unavailable are sanitizing wipes and antibacterial soaps; customers are still limited to one package of toilet paper and paper towels, but their shelves are no longer bare. Flour and yeast have also returned, as well as soups. Personal service returned to the meat counter last week. The salad and soup bars aren’t back yet, but if these esoteric services had disappeared before the lockdowns began I don’t know if I’d have noticed.
I started working there over some misguided sense of civic responsibility — people gotta eat, and I wanna do my part to make sure everyone gets the food they need. What it really did was give me something to do, a way to cope with my growing anxiety. And a month into the job, I found I actually enjoyed working there a couple days a week.
At some point I’ll step away from this job and most likely marvel that I chose to stroll up and down grocery store aisles with a barcode scanner for eight hours a day at an hourly wage of nine dollars and thirty-five cents. But for now, I’m going to enjoy the routine.
I believe I haven’t mentioned yet how the lockdowns have affected my other part-time obligations.
I had been tutoring two half-days each week at the Writing Center for a local community college, which was on spring break when the lockdowns began. After an extended week of break, the college resumed with online classes only, and a week after that the Writing Center came back as an email service. Spring semester ended at the start of May, and the summer session is again entirely online; I’m working one half-day each week in the Writing Center for June and July. The college’s plans for the fall semester have yet to be announced.
I was also working on a technical writing assignment at the start of the lockdown. That project finish in early April, and with many of my firm’s potential clients choosing to put off non-essential work there hasn’t been any projects for me. Fortunately our firm has just signed a new client, and tomorrow will be the kick-off meeting for our first project for them.
I know I’ve written a great deal about my short stories. I’ve built some good momentum with my fiction, and plan to keep going.
At some point I’ll run out of time for all my obligations, and when that time comes I’ll have to stop working at the grocery store. I won’t regret leaving, but will definitely appreciate the time I’ve spent there.
I really should write about how my wife’s occupations have changed over the past few months, but I’ll save that for a future post.
With most businesses and recreational facilities back in business, the most glaring remaining absence in our national lives has been entertainment. Sporting events, concerts, movie theaters — we’re looking at a summer with none of those activities.
Although I don’t blog much about this topic, I am an avid fan of the four major American sports leagues: basketball, ice hockey, baseball, and the sport we call football. It appears basketball and hockey will complete their suspended seasons next month, perhaps playing their games in arenas without fans. Baseball never started, and while there’s talk now of an abbreviated season I’ll be pleasantely surprised if it happens. Football will likely attempt to conduct its regular season, although a second wave of COVID-19 in the fall could change those plans.
I do miss turning a ballgame on, but I’ve been pleased to discover how little I actually miss that experience. I also don’t long to go to the movie theater, as subscriptions to a few premium cable channels and streaming services have satisfied my cinematic appetite. I went to maybe two concerts a year, so I’m not feeling much loss there.
Religious services (which cynical atheists may claim is just another form of entertainment) have also changed over the past few months, but that’s another topic for a later post.
This turned out to be a far lengthier and detailed post than I’d expected. I surprised myself, which is a pretty good experience to have when you hit a milestone date.