Lonely No More…

Lonely No More

Most people have quickly grown desperate for some human contact during this sudden sheltering-at-home. But some have entirely different adjustments to make.

One woman diligently plowed through her novel’s revisions a half hour at a time during her daily work commute’s El ride to and from the north edge of the city into the Loop. But now she’s trying to work at home full-time, while maintaining some semblance of normalcy for her second-grade daughter. Another writer had been deep in research for a biography on Martin Luther King Jr.’s life in 1957 Alabama, quite content to scroll through old newspaper archives without interruption. Now? Every knock on the door will probably be one of his two kids needing attention.

Writing for the 3.30.20 Chicago Sun-Times (link below) Stefano Esposito explains “For writers, who depend on isolation, the coronavirus presents a new challenge: Too much noise at home”.  Who’d have thought? Some folks might actually miss all the alone time, and Esposito’s article introduces the reader to several novelists and non-fiction writers adjusting to households suddenly filled with spouses and kids.

A lot of writers are probably eager to return to their preferred coffee house, settle down at their favorite public library desk, or simply wave goodbye to their housemates, heading off to work in the morning. While most folks are going batty without daily interaction with friends and coworkers, those already working at home are now adjusting to husbands, wives, boyfriends, girlfriends — and kids — and all the normal noise and interruptions that comes with company ‘round the house…24/7. If you’ve been accustomed to banging out a chapter or two in your jammies (or not even those) before bothering to brush your teeth, or like to pound the keys till dawn with a fifth of something or other and an overflowing ashtray for companions…well, for many, those days are gone. At least for a while.

Nobody’s complaining about it, least of all the writers profiled in Stefano Esposito’s article, but it’s a topsy-turvy take on the abrupt isolation we’re all learning to grapple with.

https://chicago.suntimes.com/coronavirus/2020/3/30/21199929/writers-work-from-home-coronavirus-new-challenge-noise

Those Weirdly Empty Streets…

misty night red

A little darker out, and it could look like a scene from a dystopian Neo-Noir out there. Well, a snowy dystopia, since that’s what it’s doing at the moment.

The day job’s workplace is obsolete (but recently welcomed) private offices with few outside visitors and mostly network/intercom communication. We’d joked all week that we felt safer and more quarantined at work than at home. Nonetheless, on Thursday we finally voted to transition to work-at-home, and just in time. On Friday afternoon, the Governor issued a stay-at-home order through April 9th, which was to take effect at 5:00 PM Saturday. I spent most of that day setting things up in the writing lair, testing VPN’s, offsite access and group communications in order to be as close to normal come Monday morning.

Though hardly working in anything that could be considered an essential industry, I volunteered to venture out on work assignments Monday. There’ll be no face-to-face contact with anyone, and I figure it’d be nice to still have a job once this is all over (which I’m certain won’t be April 9th). Clients will leave packaged prototypes outside their offices, which I can pick up, then drop off at coworkers’ doors to be worked on. I don’t imagine I’ll have to wrestle with any traffic jams Monday AM, or risk the State Police pulling me over, and plan to hunker down back in the writing lair – make that the home office, now – once I’m done.

Firing up the jalopy on Saturday to run some pre-sheltering errands, I had the run of the roads. The streets were already eerily empty, but that may only be because everyone was jammed into the grocery store parking lots. Don’t hoard? Sure, that admonishment will be heeded in the land of 24-7 sports, Breitbart News and brain-draining reality TV. I hoped to grab a gallon of skim milk, but had to hit four stores to find any milk, eventually doing my best to social-distance in line behind people dragging two and even three over-stuffed grocery carts, as if they were stocking up fallout shelters.

Snicker at me if you like, but I’m one of those dopes who can get teary-eyed at a Memorial Day commemoration or when I hear the national anthem done well. I really do love this country, pre-pandemic tribal insanity and all. But sometimes it’s hard to feel warm-n-fuzzy towards your fellow citizens while watching them wrestle over frozen pizzas.

Stay well, one and all!

Lorenz Hideyoshi Ruwwe Noir Detective

Images: Barry Yanowitz and Lorenz Hideyoshi Ruwwe

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