I live alone, so being alone at home is not a change for me. What’s different is not being able to not be alone. No susurration of voices at the coffee shop, the fragment of conversation that splashes into audibility. Laughter. The baristas smiling and taking me order. No — but I could list these contacts, on and on, each of them an interaction outside my home that I miss. You have your own. Even the most stalwart introvert appreciates some interaction, perhaps the person who runs your bookstore who is as introverted as you are. (That would be my mom.)
I do have company, though. The cat, of course. I feed the squirrels and birds, and every morning as I write, I am visited by a parade of animals. Social distancing is not being maintained, except for the glass between us. I have a batch of babies, three, the first of the season. (This picture is one of them, in the little woodland behind my house. You can see the hemlock’s new green, the lagging gray of everything else.) And I am seeing lots of people on screens: cocktails and check ins and chats. I have probably done more focused one-on-one (or two-on-one) socializing in the last week than I had been in the old world. Normal times, I am happy just to know they’re out there, living their lives. These days, I want more, to hear their voices or see their faces; proof that they are there.
I have friends who are at risk or have contracted covid. So far they are safe or doing well enough to stay at home instead of being in a hospital. I am so grateful for this, too.
I am writing every day, only a couple hundred words. I did the math; at this rate, if nothing changes, this project will be finished in — oh god — 40 weeks. Let’s say, by Christmas, though I am assuming it will get faster once I have gotten past the current phase, when I exchange every sentence for a different sentence, and then exchange the resultant paragraph for an entirely new one.
Acted like a grownup at last, and figured out my finances for the summer. All appearances have gone, and we won’t be doing live workshops this summer, so my total income for the summer (which KU doesn’t pay for): 0. I have twelve weeks to get through: three months of expenses and food. How much can I save from these last four paychecks? What can I stop paying? Difficult decisions made harder because I don’t know enough. Less for gasoline, more for electricity, nothing for travel, extra to set up my house as a day-job office. What will my water bills be when I am cooking and having to run a dishwasher every day? It’s ugly, anyway. I am so grateful to you all for contributing.