During the onboarding at my job, I was given an option about my work phone: I could either have my firm pay my phone bill or they could give me a new phone to use exclusively for work. My co-worker/manager (the role was a bit vague) recommended a separate phone.
The important distinction with a work phone is that after work or on the weekend you can leave it in a bag or at home. Out of sight, out of mind. The ability to disconnect is a privilege. But, what does it matter now that I can no longer walk away from my phone or my “office”?
Around 5:15pm on Friday, I sent an email, unplugged my laptop from my monitor and practically slammed it closed fearing I would hear a ding in reply. I’m stressed about trying to avoid stress. From Friday afternoon to Sunday morning, I avoided my desk where my work phone and work laptop sat like they were cursed by a witch and if I looked at them my family would get coronavirus.
For 36 hours, I was able to truly relax. I’ve spent the weekend watching movies, reading, drinking, cleaning, grocery shopping, and video chatting. I didn’t think about work at all. This morning, I really set about to have a perfect Sunday. First, I read a book, then I took out the trash, unloaded the dishwasher, made some coffee and read Times articles while listening to Wilco’s Being There. (I’ve decided one of the many things I’ll do while in quarantine is listen to all the Wilco studio albums. At this point in my life, I’ve decided I need to figure out if I’m a Wilco guy or not. I’ve listened to A.M., Sky Blue Sky and Ode to Joy, but I’m not sure yet. I feel like I’m really in the target demographic to be a real Wilco guy.) I was curled up in a chair enjoying the sunshine and quiet. Until…
See, I wanted to write a quarantine blog today which meant I was going to have to open my computer. (I need to get a new personal computer, which I’m planning to do by either saving money, using my “TrumpBucks,” or a combination of the two, but I’m going to get one soon I promise. ) I was going to have to see my emails. I couldn’t simply open my laptop and see “23 mail notifications” and not look. (The notification badges are bright red for a reason.) I also knew that it was probably the right thing to do in order to levelset myself for the upcoming week.
I knew it was a mistake to open Pandora’s inbox. I was immediately stressed out. But, I decided it was still Sunday and work could wait until Monday.
So, how does one reset back to relaxation? First, buddy, you’re gonna need to get yourself some pancake mix and start cranking out some flapjacks. Second, you’re gonna wanna find your girlfriend’s camping hammock that you’ve never used before and rig it up on your patio so that when you lie in it your ass could not be more than 6 inches off the slate patio floor. Third, your gonna wanna grab that book you’ve been reading about surfing, an activity you’ve never done, and just really chill out. That is how you reset during a quarantine.
Okay, now that I’ve separated myself from work, why don’t I blog about something else?
I’m going to the grocery store too much. I think I’ve gone to the store every day for the last 4 days? I’m beginning to think we’re all really bad at social distancing.
To myself: I need to better plan what I need and don’t need and put some time between each trip. One day, I’m getting milk, the next coffee, then eggs? All this exposure time could have been avoided if I’d done a real inventory of my fridge and pantry. It’s not like I’m not making a list. The good news is the Pringles supply remains high, so I will be sustained if we truly can’t leave the apartment.
To everyone else: it’s old man yells at cloud time.
- Don’t walk four-wide on the sidewalk. That’s not something you should do when there isn’t a pandemic. If you’re walking four-wide, people trying to pass you from either direction are going to get real close to this foursome unless they’re real gung ho about walking into traffic. I saw a group that was clearly two couples getting together to walk their dogs. D.C. is mandating that people who don’t live together don’t partake in outdoor activities together. But by all means, spread coronavirus for your cute double date.
- To those in the grocery store, let us not make beelines for anything and walk right at people. It’s scary, it’s like you’re the Terminator, but instead of trying to kill John Connor, you’re trying to get a tub of potato salad, you weirdo.
- Foot traffic and car traffic should follow the same rules. Again, this is should be a normal practice. I don’t understand why people get so confused by this. Stay to the right, so you don’t walk into anyone or, worse, do that “which way are we going?” dance.
- Why is everyone going for runs? I was training for a half marathon up to about four weeks ago when I got sick and then the race got postponed. I should get some exercise, but I’m also someone who can really stick to an excuse. Now, I go outside and I see like ten people running at a time. And I can tell by now who is a runner and who is “getting some exercise”. (It’s the shorts.) The majority of these people are going for runs because their gym is closed, which look I understand, but it can’t be a charity 5K on the sidewalks every minute of every Saturday and Sunday.
- To my neighbor who told me to quiet down when I was FaceTiming from my patio, why do you get to take a phone call from your apartment with the door open and I have to hear all of it when I’m enjoying hammock time? I’ll respect your wishes, but hey come on, pal. (In their defense, I have real volume control issues when it comes to video-chatting. I’m a real Microphone Misunderstander, if you’re asking, Jeb.)
- To everyone, what is it with the toilet paper? My girlfriend had five rolls left like a week and a half ago. We started to get nervous. We couldn’t find it any store, so we went to the internet. We could only find a set of novelty rolls that cost $40! (Yes, we bought them.) I’m really curious if the shelves at the CVS and the Giant in my neighborhood have been restocked in the middle of the night and people are going Black-Friday-crazy for these precious rolls. I really hope to get some Charmin before I have to start wiping with Sudoku puzzles.
Now to the quarantine entertainment corner:
What I’m Listening To:
A few of these albums I listened to after reading Pitchfork’s quarantine recommendation list which can be very meditative, while also drifting toward pretension.
- Waxahatchee – Saint Cloud – In the running to be one of my favorite albums of 2020, Katie Crutchfield’s latest is her settling down album about hitching up and putting down the bottle.
- Yves Tumor – Heaven to a Tortured Mind – A pure thrill of an experimental glam album.
- Sorry – 925
- Smog – Red Apple Falls – This album has a very fitting doom and gloom feel to it. From the start, you feel that all of the news is bad news.
- Thelonious Monk – Thelonious Alone in San Francisco – I’m finding a lot of great music to listen to while working. This work is so isolated and elegant, it’s almost a disgrace to listen to it while staring at a Word doc.
- Hiroshi Yoshimura – GREEN
- Wilco – Being There – Wilco’s second album is the first of my Wilco binge. I listened to A.M. last year. It’ll be Summerteeth tomorrow. I think I might become a real Wilco guy.
- Nap Eyes – Snapshot of a Beginner – I try to listen to an album I haven’t heard once a day. I was swamped with something and saw a friend was listening to it on Spotify. I was halfway through a song before I realized I was listening to a song that was clearly about the Legend of Zelda.
- Dua Lipa – Future Nostalgia – This is an energetic dance-pop album. I’m sure Dua Lipa wishes this was playing at crowded rooftop bars, rather than near vacant living rooms.
- Yaeji – What We Drew
- Empty Country – Empty Country
- Half Waif – Lavender
- Laraaji – Ambient 3: Day of Radiance
- Nujabes – Modal Soul – I listened to this because I was listening to SahBabii and the SahBabii Wikipedia page said the late Nujabes was one of his influences. This sounds like pure 2000s “underground” rap.
- Pearl Jam – Gigaton – Hall of Fame artists typically don’t make their most exciting work this late in. If all else fails, write a 17-minute song about the Kennedy assassination.
- Half Waif – The Caretaker
- PartyNextDoor – PARTYMOBILE – There’s a lot of Young Thug impressions on this album. Also, is someone going to tell me how this guy got Rihanna to come out of hiding?
- Thundercat – It Is What It Is – I wished for more from this album. Drunk is the better album, but the man looks good in his durag.
- SahBabii – S.A.N.D.A.S
- Frankie Cosmos – told you so
Please enjoy my “spring of george 2k20” playlist.
What I’ve Been Watching:
I’ve watched Tiger King. I don’t know what there is left to say about Tiger King. It’s kind of jaw-droppingly appalling. You couldn’t write a character like Joe Exotic. I can’t remember where I heard this line, and I don’t want to take credit for it, but it was “every word in that sentence was worse than the one that came before it.” That is Tiger King in a nutshell. How do you determine who is the worst person on a show with competing tiger-based sex cults? I think it was Doc Antle. They didn’t give enough attention to Doc Antle, but he really skeeves me out. Carole Baskin definitely killed her husband and she claims to be a conservationist, but her tigers have the worst captivities of all of them. My biggest questions lie with the group of people involved with the murder for hire plot. What the hell was James Garretson’s business? Did he just own an abandoned store so he could blab about murder plots to anyone who walks in? That being said, boy, did he know how to ride that jetski.
My girlfriend and I have decided that we’re going to watch all the Marvel movies in chronological order.
- Captain America: The First Avenger – The highlight of the film is the Chris Evans giant head CGI’d on that scrawny body.
- Captain Marvel – You can’t say Kree and Skrull with a serious face.
- Iron Man – You cannot tell me a defense contactor would end up on the cover of Rolling Stone. I don’t care how cool he’s supposed to be, that would literally never happen.
- The Incredible Hulk – I want Disney to officially strike this movie from the canon. They replaced Edward Norton after one movie. It has little impact on the other 3,000 movies. It takes itself way too seriously. The worst part is that this film is not on Disney+ so we had to pay $4 dollars to watch it. If Disney won’t put Black Widow on the streaming service, I want an official statement denouncing this movie before the quarantine is lifted.
- Iron Man 2 – Iron Man 2 sets the tone for the rest of the MCU as fun and vividly colorful. I would argue it’s probably the best Iron Man movie, the third offers little to the rest of the story and the first spent way too much time in the desert.
Other movies and TV:
- Uncut Gems – I love this movie. If Parasite didn’t exist, I would say it was the best movie that came out last year. It’s not a good movie to watch if you’re trying to relax. Waching Adam Sandler as Howard Ratner was one of the most stressful experiences I’ve had in a movie theater.
- Onward – Okay, I’ve only seen half of Onward. It seems like it’s become a lot easier for Pixar to put out movies than it was during my childhood. This just doesn’t feel like their greatest work.
- Little Women (…again) – We own it on OnDemand now. Everything about this movie is actually great…except I can’t be captivated by the story, which is a weird complaint. It’s gorgeous. The acting is incredible. The writing is top-notch. I love what Greta Gerwig did with the framing of the events. But I can’t be captivated to watch the whole thing. As my girlfriend says, “it’s not for you.”
- Curb Your Enthusiasm
What I’ve been reading
- I finally ended my time spent in Lyndon Johnson’s early years. There are only 4,000 more pages until I know his entire life.
- I read Ling Ma’s Severance in three days. It’s an eerily pressing book for this time. It as if you’re reading the news from two weeks ago, except coronavirus infects its victims on an existential basis.
- My mom gave me a copy of All The King’s Men for Christmas. I read twenty pages and struggled to decipher a single thing that had happened. I picked up William Finnegan’s Barbarian Days instead. It was the surfing book I referenced earlier. As I said, I know nothing about surfing. Ironically, I have a hard time deciphering what’s going on when it comes to actual surfing, so I’m not actually a lot better off than before. However, Finnegan is such an adept and self-aware writer that you get sucked in. It’s a bit crass to say, but it’s kind of a “vibe read,” when it comes to searching for the perfect wave. Also, my girlfriend’s mom told me it was one of her favorite books, so now there’s a lot of pressure on this book.