The reminders pop up every day in my calendar. This meeting…that meeting. This event…that event. The words feel like a betrayal now. Entries mock me by displaying the former optimism I lived by planning things so far out in advance. There is a smorgasbord of events I was going to attend – 3-5 a weekend. The calendar also catalogs a frequent crush of business appointments. The naivete of “no work” blocks that I’d put in to try to forestall weeks with 10 events and days with two plays. Far too often I reduced and eliminated those “no work blocks” because you know, I just had to do as much as I could. (Silly rabbit, me.)
Ruben Blades event at Harvard – cancelled. (He has performed in the Boston area before and I certainly could have afforded at least two of those appearances. Shame on me for never making the time.)
Easter Parade in Manhattan – cancelled. (I had many opportunities to go to NYC after the fabulousness of it became known to me thanks to the photos of the late Bill Cunningham and postings by the Idiosyncratic Fashionistas on their website. Woe is me that I never did it when it could have been done so easily.)
Makanda Project Concert– cancelled. (I will not see the familiar faces enjoying live, original music. Nor will I be baking for the Dessert Bar that raises money for the Memorial Scholarship for the Friends of the Dudley Library. Gone is the camaraderie we shared in staffing the table, selling the delectables, and bantering with the attendees and each other. Will we do this again?)
Things are cancelled, rescheduled far into the uncertain future, or moved online: Advisory meeting, Fellowship meeting, church service, tour of Thread Tech in East Boston, tour of IPAC in Field’s Corner, visit to MNCNAA for foundation meeting, lunches/dinners/parties/receptions, and my meandering walks and riding the T. I miss seeing strangers every day and running to friends and colleagues because Boston is so small and you almost always run into someone you know.
I have about 10 physical calendars from the years when I still kept those. I looked through them a while back and queried on social media whether I should save or discard them. I was advised to discard, but something said, save them, so I listened to something, like I have learned to do. I’m glad I did. Turning the pages now is a pleasure as I recall this and that thing I actually did. Meetings, committees, parties, birthdays, dinner dates, theatre, and concerts, and a first date with the gentleman who became my permanent date (as in husband).
The Outlook calendar doesn’t have the same heft. Should I leave the event or delete it during this time when it ain’t gonna happen? And now, I’m melancholy.
The hair salon, the nail salon, and the massage I bought myself as a gift – when will this happen again? Bye-bye spontaneity. Hello Zoom-a-zoom-zoom meetings. Sigh. Things could be much worse I know. That it was so much better before, I don’t think I fully appreciated “cause you never miss your water til the well runs dry and you never miss your baby til she’s said goodbye.” (Lightnin’ Hopkins)
Who wants to receive emails from places I used to buy from about the new shipment of spring shoes? Who gives a damn about new spring shoes that can’t be worn anywhere special right now? The ads are so tone-deaf for the time we are in. “Save up to 60%: tens of thousands of new markdowns.” NO. I will not. I understand you’re trying to keep the money coming but no, I cannot purchase frivolous things now. In fact, the purchaser in me has been changing for a while and this quarantine has diminished the urge.
Can I keep participating in all these planning meetings and exercises where no one says what we are all thinking: yeah, like that’s going to happen. Yeah, we will probably have to change the date again. Yeah, this is going to time out because the money to have the thing and pay the people is evaporating.
Inviting me to a fucking planning meeting for something scheduled in late fall as if anything now can really be planned that far out. Pressuring in an email that you want the answer to the doodle survey you sent today in two days. And what’s with all the 12 o’clock and 5 o’clock appointments? Damn, don’t y’all do lunch or have dinner? Some places pride themselves on not turning off the clock. Now for my gigs, I have to do what I got to do but for this volunteer crap, I think not. Folks need to slow it down.
I’m sick of the reminders – the pings from all of the devices. The constant updates and feeds. I’ve learned not to read the newspapers or turn on the news or check out social media early in the morning because my day will be decreased if I do. The overload of information that creates threads of panic (that I mostly suppress) will color my whole day instead of the tiny corner to which I am trying to restrict this overflow.
I could go back under the covers with only a book. I could throw that damn cell phone against the wall and let it shatter into pieces just so it wouldn’t be the link to all the unwanted stuff it sends.
Deep breath in, two, three, four, and out, two, three, four. I am getting through despite the churn of the rest of everything. Technology delivers good stuff, too, the connection to family, information, art, music, recipes and laughter.
Wash, cook, work, distract, sleep, repeat.
Even harder than the recent and current calendar is the future calendar.
Summer visit from the grand kids. Will there be camps and programs? Can we take the T to all the places we used to – museums, parks, beaches, neighborhoods, malls, movies, college campuses – all public spaces filled with people, glorious and inglorious people, in close proximity! Can there be a summer trip to Saratoga, the Vineyard, Charlotte, St. Louis, or any where? Can I make myself get on a plane or a train? How can I plan?
I’m trying to stay safe and be sound. I’ll let the calendar do its thing while I quiet down and start all over again taking it day by day – on some days hour by hour until this or I end.
I thought I was the only one! I’m getting totally Zoomed out. There seems to be no lines of when work begins and ends. Text messages and phone calls on Sunday morning. I have to put my phone in another room because when I hear that ping I need to answer it. If I don’t answer, I start worrying that something is wrong and that it might be an emergency because who would send you a message at 3am? Perhaps there should be some form of etiquette introduced as to how and when to communicate virtually.
You are definitely not alone. I am leaving my cell phone on a different floor and turning off the reader when I don’t want to be disturbed. THere is an intrusion as the lines between work life and home life are blurred. Even thought I have an office in my home, I still feel work spreading throughout the other rooms. I appreciate Zoom for somethings but it still is intrusive. Thanks for reading and leaving a comment.
Your wisdom is guiding YOU and we ALL should take heed.
Take assumptions out of the equation of your thinking.
Be courageous in your wisdom to take one-nano-second at a time..
Why in this NOW MOMENT will it take courage “to take one-nano-second at a time”?
We’ve been programmed since birth not to do so.
Planning evokes assumptions that this or that will or will not happen.
Just let the moments flow as you address what comes up in front of you.
Let’s enjoy our new mission in a “mindful” way admitting that we “REALLY DON”T CALL THE SHOTS” … we never did and we never will.
Thank you for reading and sharing your advice. Living in the moment is something that requires discipline and a re-programming. I’m trying.
Candelaria, this really hit home for me, particularly the part about lunch and dinner – the lines between work and home have become so blurred. This past week I stepped back from a couple of Zoom meetings. I also have questioned whether to cancel the plans on my calendar that were there pre-Covid.
Thank you for sharing
I’m glad this post resonated with you. Thank you for taking time to read and make a comment. A part of me thinks it’s best to leave what was planned. It would be hard to have blank pages. Stay safe and sound.