2020-05-07 19:45:57 (UTC)

Prompt 074: Weekend Obligations

74. What are some of the things you have to do on the weekend? How much do they cut into your attempt to have an awesome weekend?

"And every day is Saturday, my friend:
Go to sleep, wake up, yo it's Saturday again."
--Black Sheep, 1990 (?)

Social distancing is such, and has been for long enough, that even retired people don't know what day it is anymore.

I think I was in a phone conversation with my mother and she mentioned she really couldn't tell what day it was. Apparently they were all blending together for her. Being retired has its benefits, obviously, but I can also see how it can be an inconvenience to determine your own schedule. Particularly if you've already spent the majority of your life beholden to someone else who scheduled it for you.

Since COVID-19 emerged as a pandemic, I haven't left the house for deliberate pleasure or entertainment. I would likely have taken the bicycle out to some trails, somewhere, or at least went walking in nature, somewhere. Although the state I live in hasn't lifted its state of emergency or stay-at-home order, the last time I checked I think it was still okay for people to walk outdoors, go bicycling, etc. for outdoor time as long as they observed social distancing rules.

I've not felt any such urge. I hang out in the backyard in the mornings, at least long enough to kick off my breakfast with an apple and a coffee. Otherwise, I'm indoors most of the time. As far as weekends are concerned, things are just a bit quieter. Since there's nowhere for people to go on Friday or Saturday night, traffic is at a consistent lull. People get drunk or high at home instead of out somewhere, and they stay off the road. It's just quieter at night now. I can leave the back door open if I want, and won't be constantly annoyed with the sounds of automobiles.

It's Saturday and Sunday afternoons when the motorcyclists are on the highway. Their high-pitched, buzzing engines can be heard above whatever persistent trundling sounds of conventional automobiles might be happening. There may be two or more, a cadre of crotch rocketeers zipping by at 70 MPH.

Being at home is interesting enough that I don't mind staying there[here]. I wonder if I'm contracting agoraphobia? The fear of going outdoors. Prior to COVID-19, I was already introverted. I had little desire to spend time with large groups of people, to go out and do things. I did like to go out for a meal, sometimes with someone else, but consistently on my own. It was an urge to spend money, I think, just as much as it was a chance to catch a meal with a friend. I even enjoyed attending films at the cinema without accompanying anyone. I would say hello to the staff, chit-chat a bit, then roll in and grab my seat. Alone in the dark. As I come out, I might see the manager or staff again, and bid them farewell. I wouldn't linger to chit-chat again.

Maybe these indoor habits will stick once the stay-at-home order is lifted. On the one hand, there's no telling how long it will be until our order is lifted and since some states are lifting their orders at a time when I, personally, think it's too soon, I believe it's reasonable that there will be a resurgence of new cases, more deaths, and a reactivation or lengthening of stay-at-home orders until later this year. How much later? I think a reasonable estimate is the end of the summer. Maybe it will be lifted at the start of the children's school year. I remember telling my mother in a phone conversation, "See you in September."

On the other hand... Now that people have reorganized their lives due to stay-at-home orders, how comfortable will they be with simply dropping that routine? My mother is urging me to visit her and the rest of the family as soon as possible, and I doubt she's the only one with that kind of sentiment. But will it be too soon? That thought will plague me (no pun intended). I have a pair of elderly landlords in the home I live in, and my mother isn't a spring chicken herself. I don't want to put these elderly folks at risk while going about my business and/or being sociable.

One thing I actually -do- want to do is support local businesses. Having routines and usual stops throughout my week and on the weekends - the cinema, the comic shop, the Subway sandwich joint - these places are hurting, and I want to do at least something positive for them in the interim. The cinema has been hosting "virtual screenings" where you can rent a film and they split the proceeds with the distributor when you pay "admission." The comic shop ships out "mystery boxes" and I purchased one of these as well. It was jam-packed with good reading and a couple other odds and ends I might share with my younger nephews and nieces. The comics themselves weren't the typical superhero fare - I requested "weird fantasy and weird science fiction" - and aren't appropriate for kids. But I found them to be captivating reading, and/or suitable for eBay once it's okay to visit the post office. I'm strongly considering picking up one of those every month, maybe every other week.

So at the very least, I'll want to rejoin society for the chance to support local businesses. Oh, and it goes without saying that the monthly bicycling event will be back on my agenda. I'll consider attending (and staffing) those when both they've been rescheduled and my day job office is back in regular staffing.

If I am laid off and have no office to return to, I might just flat-out move. Head out to Montana at the eco-compound and stay there for an indeterminate amount of time, living off savings and the food I grow. Eh, who am I kidding? I can't move that far away from my mother while she's still alive.

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