Never Be The Same

Final Fortnight, Day 10

Last night, Tim and I couldn’t sleep. We lay next to each other, each quietly suffering the wide-awakes, taking turns dozing off. Outside our bedroom door, open to allow the dog to come and go as he pleases, I could see our daughter’s bedroom light on in the middle of the night as well. There we were, the three of us, draining our supply of sleep into the wee small hours.

This is a common occurrence in this pandemic. I have had trouble sleeping off and on since March. We don’t usually all have trouble on the same night, but all of us have experienced sleeplessness. I even developed my one and only quarantine superpower; waking at 4 a.m., having a bowl of cereal and a big glass of water, and returning to the best sleep of my life until about 10 a.m. I’m un(der)employed, so sleeping late is no big deal. With sleep being so elusive, I’m grateful when it comes easily.

There is so much that this disproportionately stressful year that has changed, and I’m not sure it will ever go back to the way it was. I’m not sure I want it to go back to the way it was.

Now, I am in the best possible position for weathering this storm; Tim’s job is steady, and supports us both, we have secure housing, and we don’t have school-aged kids. It’s a position of privilege, and we both know it.

The changes I long for in our broken, capitalist, white supremacist society are well documented elsewhere. This, friends, is about more superficial concerns.

Here’s my list, generated by a half-speed brain:

–SLEEP. When I need sleep, I sleep. I don’t know why I didn’t do that before, but that’s new. I have zero shame about going back to bed after getting up at 4-5-6 a.m. and sleeping until noon. Again, unemployment helps.

I haven’t slept until noon for a long time, but the option remains open.

–Ordering groceries online. That has reduced my impulse buying significantly. I plan better and reduce my time in the store. Produce still requires a trip inside, but it’s much faster.

–Hand washing & sanitizer. I can’t believe how gross I was before.

–Working from home. I did it for eight years as a proofreader, when my employer was half a world away. Employers have been reluctant to allow remote work, which makes no sense. There are some jobs that require a physical presence, but mine never did. And now that’s my preference.

And virtual piano lessons have one big improvement over in-person piano lessons; I will never smell a virtual student’s farts. When you’re sitting right next to students on a piano bench, it’s unavoidable. Also, I’m saving on stickers. Big time.

–Uncomfortable shoes. Seriously–why bother? In fact, all fashion will change after the pandemic is over, we just don’t know how. But why would I ever again tolerate shoes that look great but feel horrible?

–Bras. I went from only using “comfort” bras, which are sports-bra-lite, to only wearing bras about 70% of the time.

–GOOD pajamas. Why did I ever skimp before?

–Social niceties, small talk, other bullshit cultural mores. What a fucking waste of time.

–Maintaining friendships with people who refuse to acknowledge our racism, and anyone who is a Trump administration supporter or apologist. It’s not ideology, it’s morality.

I wonder how fashion is going to change because of this period. What style markers for this era are being developed right now? Not just masks, like Beyonce has incorporated into her new clothing line, but elastic waists? Stain-proof shirt-fronts? Extra-long dress shirts for men that snap at the crotch?

Beyonce dropped a new clothing line during the pandemic–on top of the new visual album, despite having the same number of hours in the day that are available to me.
I have written the first half of multiple short stories, thanks for asking.

I have bought my first pair of leg warmers EVER, because my feet and ankles are constantly cold since fall began. I do not care if they look ridiculous. I’m warm.

Technology has already adapted to this new era. I am fascinated to see what changes appear in the art and music and literature and fashion that come out next.

When we first went on lockdown, the leader of a writing group challenged its members to “Be the one who DOESN’T write about the pandemic.”

I can’t imagine someone saying that to an author or composer during World War II. How does it serve humanity to purposely ignore the biggest driver of social and political and economic change in our lifetime?

I am a fan of change. I believe in its transformative power. This year has taxed my tolerance for change, or maybe just for upheaval. I’m sure I’m not alone in that. I’m satisfied to sit back and watch this change happen, brace however I can, and hope my family lives long enough to see how these changes show up on the other side.

Just gotta get through Tuesday, and then start planning for the next milestone.

Remember, as you’re listening to this festering turd of an 80s hit, that I had zero sleep last night. While I was writing, this was the song in my head.

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