Sunday, December 26, 2021

Passing the Time

I’ve been in my room now for the last few days, with several more to go before I get let loose onto an unsuspecting world once again. So what am I doing to pass the time?

Glad you asked!

You didn’t ask?

Well, I’ve asked for you because I’m polite that way. No need to thank me, citizen! It is a service I provide.

So far I’ve been:

1. Trying to read. This hasn’t gone as well as I’d hoped it would, despite the fact that I am in the middle of a book by one of my favorite authors – a writer who knows how to put sentences together and build intricate plots with well-developed, sympathetic characters who somehow consistently manage to get themselves into awful situations of their own making. Still don’t have the focus, I suppose. This predates being covid-positive, but I’m getting better at it. I have hope.

2. Cruising through the vast offerings of YouTube. In particular there is a British comedian named Bill Bailey who has about a hundred clips of varying lengths out there, and I’ve worked my way through most of them already. You should look him up.

3. Writing the Christmas letter. This also hasn’t gone as well as I’d hoped, but at least I have a framework for it now. This is progress. I’ll take it.

4. Talking to friends and family. Three cheers for FaceTime, cell phones, texts, emails, FB Messenger, SnapChat, IG messages, Zoom, and all of the other ways that people communicate now, and for the people who have taken the time out of their days to connect with me.

5. Doing crossword puzzles. There was a time in my life when I would do crosswords pretty regularly – a habit I picked up from my grandmother, who lived with us and was always halfway through a puzzle or two – and I got to be pretty good at them. “NYT Sunday puzzle” good, though admittedly they usually took me all week to complete. Then life happened and I didn’t do that anymore. During the first lockdowns in spring 2020 I found an old book of crossword puzzles geared to an NPR quiz show that I only listened to occasionally and somehow managed to finish it. Then I ordered another book of crosswords not particularly geared to anything and got halfway through before other things intervened. I’m working on finishing that one now. These crosswords are not exactly brain benders – I can usually finish one in about five minutes and that is an acceptable level of focus for me these days.

6. Sleeping. When all else fails, try sleeping. There’s no reason to get up early and even less reason to stay up late when you’re in quarantine!

7. Watching various reruns of soccer or hockey games on the subscription service whose login information I remembered. Hey – they’re new to me and sufficiently mindless that I can just let them wash over me. Rah, Huddersfield!

8. Staring balefully at the small pile of projects I brought up with me when I started this gig in the fond hopes that I would be productive. Hasn’t worked out that way yet, but there are still a few days left.

9. Plinking around on social media. It’s been fun to catch up with all of the various folks still posting these days, and with the random assortment of pages I follow as well. My social media feeds these days are dominated by a) friends and family, b) vintage photographs, mostly street scenes, c) Great British Bake Off, d) funny memes, and e) strange and unnatural combinations of the preceding, along with a smattering of Voces8 and the occasional stray news story, though when I want news I go to the actual news sites as I have been trying to separate out my social media from my news these days. Less stress that way.

10. Taking surveys. Well, one survey. One of the academic Facebook groups I belong to will occasionally post plaintive appeals from researchers asking people who fit their needs to answer surveys for their projects. Mostly I ignore them, but it is astonishing how motivated one can get to do such things when the alternative forms of entertainment are few. I’m now registered for a $25 gift card! To what, I don’t know.

11. Noshing. I have snacks. I am brought snacks and food. I will not emerge from my confinement any thinner.

It’s not a bad way to spend time, though I will admit I’m looking forward to being let out into the world again. At least as far as the kitchen, anyway.

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