Foggy FMC Tower

Self-Isolation Week One

posted in: Personal Essay | 0

During the week of March 16, Temple University, where Holly and I work, decided to send students home and move all classes online to help reduce people’s exposure to the coronavirus. Late that week, the library decided to allow most staff to work from home starting the following Monday with the building still operating with limited staff. It has since decided to close the building altogether.

Since Holly and I are both middle managers, there were several chaotic days (including over the weekend) when we were helping the organization decide how to continue the library’s educational mission to support student once they left campus.

Last week, we worked from home as directed and have limited our trips out of the apartment.

So far, things are going well. There is the over-riding stressors from work and the general stress of all that’s going on. But in terms of our self-isolation, we’ve been able to make the best of it.

Holly and I like each other and want to be around each other. I’ve read stories about how being together all the time can be problematic for some couples, but we are happy to spend all this time near one another.

We really enjoy cooking and already had a fairly well-stocked kitchen so there was no panicking. We did need to run some errands here and there to fill some gaps, including getting to our local farmers market, and we have needed to order some things online.

I have never worked from home for more than one day a week so it has been an adjustment. Since we were still in the throes of figuring things out, I was quite busy during the week. In theory, this coming week should be less crazy. In theory.

Although we don’t have a long commute (less than 30 minutes each way), it has been nice getting a little extra time each day and getting to stay in bed a little longer.

One downside to that is we’re missing out on the 7,000+ steps we naturally walked each day so we need to make sure we get up and move. Out building has closed our gym not that we were going to go during this crisis anyway.

As long as this is self-isolation and not an actual quarantine, we can still go out for walks which we’ve tried to do most days.

The city has mostly shut down. The mayor initially ordered all “non-essential” businesses to close but then tightened the restriction further declaring only “life sustaining” businesses can remain open. Certainly, that still allows for grocery stores to operate and restaurants are permitted to offer take out or deliver, which we’ve taken advantage of on a few occasions.

We do go out to eat often and are repeat visitors are several places. As disappointing as it is to not be able to go out to eat, it’s more disheartening to realize that many of the people we’ve gotten to know over the years are temporarily out of work. We would like to do what we can to support local businesses as long as it is reasonably safe to do so.

We are very thankful to be in our situation. We can work from home. Our jobs should be stable (whatever that means right now), and neither of us are in high-risk categories.

Since we are still able to go out, I have taken a few opportunities to go on photo walks. Oddly, I’ve still been inclined to shoot on film. I say “oddly” because my local photo store is closed, and I’m hesitant to mail my film somewhere out of concern that that place may close after I ship it and my film will be in limbo. Meaning that it may be several weeks if not months before I can get any of it developed.

The obvious next step is to figure out how to develop at home, but I’m not sure our apartment is conducive to that. As the self-isolation lingers, I’ll probably research that possibility some more.

I do have a backlog of photos that I can still share on Instagram to give the illusion that life is normal.

I have been thinking about what kind of photography I can do during this self-isolation.

There are always pictures out our apartment window.

I have taken plenty of macro photos in the past and can do more of that. I haven’t done much with still life photography so that could be something else to explore.

Writing and drawing are certainly classic introvert hobbies which shouldn’t be affected by any of this, although I have felt anxious and distracted by everything that’s been going on. I have been able to work on some revisions.

So, as of now, feeling anxious about the world in general and worried about people who are in tougher situations. But feeling grateful that our immediate situation is not currently particularly bleak.

We’ll see what the next week(s) bring(s). Wishing everyone the best for getting through this crisis.

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