Snippets

Update

What did you do today? I came home from work early, a half day. My workplace, a public library, closed on Tuesday. The board dismissed all employees for emergency leave—which is paid, so far. The high school is closed for the rest of the month; my kids are on an extended break, the teachers expect nothing from them, no online learning, no term papers, so far. Susan set up a low desk on our meditation bench–a small platform abutting the picture window at the back of our bedroom. She sits cross-legged with a cat at her side as she writes grant proposals. She’s working full days from home, so far. The kids are on vacation and the adults are getting paid; I can’t imagine better luck. Our situation couldn’t be better, so far.

I have lots of spare time right now. Short work days. With my kids out of school, I sleep later. My after-dinner time extends longer. I’m in no rush to get to bed. Plenty of me-time. Plenty of time to read. When my boss released us from work, she listed some ways we could keep engaged with library work on our paid leave. One of her suggestions: Read a book. “Awesome,” I thought, “I’m now getting paid to read.” But I’m not.

For the past few weeks, I’ve become increasingly scattered-brained. I can’t focus. I’m consuming data in snippets. I blame CNN. They run “live updates” of the coronavirus situation. A steady drip of news, every five to fifteen minutes. One hundred-and-twenty-word articles. Quick splashes of info. Just a bit more data to paint a picture. When I wake up in the morning, I review what I missed. A small red oval on the screen reads “46 new updates.” I click the oval and teleport to the top of the screen. And I review the past seven hours, one headline at a time.

Snippets. Focus. I’ve been reading the same book for ten days—Earth Abides by George R. Stewart. Isherwood Williams is a young man living in a cabin in the mountains. An intellectual, a geological researcher. Not a people person, he prefers his time alone. After a rattlesnake bite, he returns to civilization for medical attention. And he finds… almost everyone dead. Yes, I’m reading another pandemic book. This one is different from most. It’s an anthropological study of the changes in the remaining society over the rest of Ish’s life. But I’m not really reading. I’ll pick up the book for fifteen minutes each night. Then back to CNN, back to the Johns Hopkins coronavirus map, the Pennsylvania Department of Health website. Snippets.

Because of their length, I’m reading lots of blog posts. Five hundred to a thousand words is the upper limit of my attention span right now. Plus, with a computer in my lap I’m never more than a tab toggle away from CNN. Read a blog, read some updates. It’s how I’m spending my evenings. Eventually, I get self-conscious of my behavior, my screen time, and pick up Earth Abides. But twenty minutes later, I’m back on my laptop.

I follow a lot of bloggers. Well, that might not be accurate. By other’s standards, maybe not a lot, but some. But I read every post in my reader. At times this can seem like a challenge, sometimes a chore. When I’m busy, I can’t keep up. I even skip a post now and then. But right now, there just aren’t enough posts to read. A couple of bloggers, clearly with more time on their hands, are posting daily. But most of you are posting less. Possibly, like me, you only have one topic in your head. You think the world doesn’t need another coronavirus post. Maybe you think anything that can be said already has.

But nobody out there is writing about how you’re feeling. And that’s what I want to read. I don’t need facts. Through my obsessive digestion of everything posted on CNN, I know all the facts. I want to know if you’re scared. If you think the whole thing is overblown, made up. If you’re simply tired of it. Have you reached your saturation point? Are you now avoiding news stories? My kids are. They’ve grown sick of the whole thing, “Can we just stop talking about it?” I tell them to get used to it. This story will be with us for a long time.

So, come on people, up the output. I can’t focus on books, and I’ve already read the news. I’m sure I’m not the only one turning to WordPress for distraction. For quality reading, the WordPress Reader is my only hope.

35 thoughts on “Snippets

  1. Careful what you ask for. Some of us are posting our feelings about current circs to the point of verbal (written) diarrhea. Just one of our coping mechanisms.
    I’m glad you and yours are financially secure and virus-free so far. May it remain so!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. A gentle nudge, Jeff, and I thank you. Your urgings here give me heart that my little scribblings might still be needed by someone. I, for one, will share something soon, no matter how scattered and unpolished. Thanks, Coach~

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I got real chatty on the weekend, then thought I might put a cork in it again, lol. I’m skipping any obvious virus related content for mental health reasons. Taking it seriously but may look from the outside that I’m making light of it. I naturally isolate and this has come at a time when I had managed to start getting out more. Interesting to see others panic, who aren’t used to doing so. Meanwhile I feel relatively calm – me with the panic disorder. 🙂 Now that I have finally made it to the supermarket and obtained essentials, I’m good to go. Enjoyed reading about how you’re handling things.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I managed very well until yesterday… My friend told me she had COVID-19 and I fell down a rabbit hole of snippets and Twitter threads. Thankfully, a (self-isolated) run in the rain calmed me down. It’s a weird time for many of us… I’ll be writing about it today or tomorrow. I’ve started a post, but was afraid to publish it and annoy everyone with yet more corona-related content.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I hope your friend does well with the virus. Spring has really hit here and it’s giving me a lot of time to get outside and run and bike it’s supposed to be seventy here today (21) so I plan to take a long slow run. There isn’t really anything else going on in the world right now. I wouldn’t be too self conscious about a coronavirus related post.

      Liked by 1 person

      • She seems on the mend now, and her husband has recovered completely. I talked to a friend in London earlier – he also got it last week but feels fine now. It suddenly makes it very real for me!

        I’ve been doing a lot of running too. It’s a little colder (and wetter) in England, but there are daffodils and cherry blossoms everywhere. I find the start of spring very soothing this year… It remind me that life is a cycle and things will be back to normal eventually.

        I hope you’re staying safe and enjoying the extra running!

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  5. I posted a quick update yesterday, but beyond that, probably won’t have many posts directly related to coronavirus. I want my blog to be my escape. I did have to delete cnn’s app off of my phone and opt into a daily email with updates instead. That why I’m not getting overloaded with updates and mentally hyperventilating by reading the same stories over and over. I still get updates from my local news, which are much more minimal.

    Liked by 1 person

    • When my wife read my post she insisted on a slow down on reading news. I’m trying. There is really very little actual news coming out. Just counts of infected and finger pointing. I probably don’t need to track that so closely.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. I had to stop my NY times daily feeds. I dont watch the news anymore! It’s too much. Since I am working from home my normal 10 to 12 hour work day, I have less time to blog and read others blogs. When I’m done working, I need to spend time with the BF and dog. I’ll catch up this weekend. 😊. Other than working like a fiend to get a project across the finish line with all this mess, I’m eating everything I can get my hands on. Lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s nice that you’ve got such a full plate to keep you occupied. This morning, I got over my spring-break vibe and realized I have a lot of financial modeling to do. I’m actually eating well and exercising more. I suppose I’m saving money too. If my wife and I can keep our jobs, this might not be the worst experience for us (not counting all the deaths and unemployment and generally hurting people).

      Liked by 1 person

  7. If I posted more, it wouldn’t be about the virus, it would be a whine about school being cancelled and zero “me” time. I get sick of hearing myself, I’m sure others would get sick of it too.
    The virus doesnt bother me. Younger daughter is sick now, but no cough. I dont think it has really hit our area.

    I’ve been mentally scattered for a while. Cant read a book. I think mine is more exhaustion than anything else.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’ve been busy here stocking up on fun things to do. Spent some time on Amazon ordering a few toiletries that I’m low on and 1000 piece jigsaw puzzles:) I found out Monday that my new grandbaby will be another girl so Pinterested my way through baby afghan patterns and ordered some yarn from Joann Fabrics since they didn’t have enough of the color I needed in my local store. Ordered some books on Overdrive because my library also closed this week. My fun is stocked up so maybe I will find some time to post. I’ve stopped notifications on some apps. Can’t stand the red dots. I try to catch the local news twice a day so I know when the library and restaurant dining rooms closed. I’m glad that you are all tucked in safely. Stay well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We just started a 1000 piece puzzle. It’s a nice break from screens. Luck for me, I can browse the library whenever I want. Now I just need to settle down and read some books.

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    • I’m not really interacting with anyone in person besides my family. Only a couple of people are going into work and we’re staying away from each other. And I don’t need to walk anywhere so I can’t really run into someone.

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  9. I blogged about our self isolation today. But I’m totally saturated and feeling quite stunned and scatterbrained as well. Probably just going to fall into the world of Bubble Shooter tonight until I fall asleep.

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  10. I hope to get something out soon. We do have school assignments to do, Bob is working from home – we have a schedule now and it’s kind of busy. Which is crazy. But I love it. We actually eat as a family every night now, it’s great. I do take the virus seriously. We all do actually. We have only left the house to go on walks, but Bob’s hands are rashed from all the washing he’s done. We have to make runs out tomorrow, which makes me nervous. Whenever Bob or I leave the house for something, we come home get a shower and wash the clothes we were wearing, even down to the jacket. I’m not afraid, but I am cautious.

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  11. Thank you, Jeff, Snippets. Yes. My attention span (and that of my husband) has been substantially reduced. In spite of that, I feel a surge of creativity. I’ve actually been writing more on my blog this week. Most of it’s centered on the coronavirus and the effects of social distancing. I feel afraid, angry, disoriented … and strangely motivated to try to capture this period in words and images, because it’s so critical that we remember the personal and historic importance of it.

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  12. Our local schools are closed too. No work expected from the kids. They are worried that not every home has a computer and wifi and (obviously) kids can’t go to the library to get access.

    You are now living my lifestyle: getting paid and not working! 🙂

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  13. Pingback: Pandemic – The Wandering Flamingo

  14. Our school is officially on spring break! Two weeks off and no place to go. I’m a high school teacher and all the brick and mortar classes have been moved online. I will be doing online video conferencing with my students when we get back from the break. My wife and I are suppose to be on a school sponsored tour in England in 3 days…cancelled. Instead we are at home on our ten acres in N. Idaho. We live in an off grid solar powered cottage in the hills off a remote dirt road. I shut the gate yesterday and we plan to be walking and working the land for the next couple weeks. It’s nice, but we don’t have cable and I am avoiding as much media concerning the COVID-19 virus. I hate to think of living the scenario you mentioned. However, I could see how that could happen.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Your property sounds heavenly. My own personal news obsession grows less every day (as there is nothing new to learn). I don’t have cable either, which helps. I’ve heard reports from family members who watch the same news blurbs over and over withminor changes from the last one.

      Liked by 1 person

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