Archive | May, 2020

What a difference a year makes

26 May

Last year, on the last Tuesday of May, I wrote about my 2019 Summer plans. This year, I have no plans to make plans. In fact, I have a list of the cancellation of things I’d planned or hoped to do:

  • the ALA Annual Conference in Chicago
  • the Black Sheep Gathering, a fiber festival in Albany, OR
  • the Oregon Basset Hound Games, which I help organize.

I have already heard that one September event I usually attend, the Oregon Flock & Fiber Festival, has been cancelled. I fear that this list might grow.

Things are starting to open up, but I am leery of venturing out. So, I decided to compile a list of things I could do to have a terrific summer staycation 2020.

  • choose a location then read books and watch movies about that place
  • knit a blanket or large sweater when it is hot outside, but cool inside with AC
  • learn something new – a craft, a simple musical instrument

With only three weeks (11 days!) of school left, I am resolved to focus on the positive. I am thinking of other things I can add to the list to make summer staycation 2020 as fun to anticipate as last year’s trip to Montreal.

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Packing up the room

19 May

Two years ago, I was told on the last day of school that I would be moved to a different grade and team. I had anticipated this news and had started packing up weeks ahead.

Last year, on the last day of school, my entire hall was told we would be moving to a different hall. I packed my room in one day, fueled by frustration and anger.

This year. Oh, this year!

This year, we are being given three days to pack up. Only one teacher per team can be there on any given day. A spreadsheet sign-up has been sent out. The school will provide boxes and gloves. It will be a bring your own mask party.

I hope pack up 2021 is less eventful.

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Zoom reality

12 May

I have to admit, I love the informal dress code of this new normal. And yet, despite my love of this informality, I try to “dress up” for meetings. Usually, that means wearing a shirt with a collar.

Last week, I had an important meeting with people I didn’t know well. I wanted to make a good impression so, before putting on the collared shirt, I brushed my teeth. I knew they wouldn’t be able to smell my breath, but that fresh minty flavor makes me feel fresher and more alert than coffee breath does. I returned to my bedroom. Should I wear the red shirt or is that too flashy? I wondered before grabbing  my light green  polo shirt from the drawer. I put it on. I was ready.

The meeting started with intros before rolling into business. As someone was speaking, I reached my hand up to play with the buttons of my polo shirt. But the buttons weren’t there. I focused my eyes more intently on the screen as my attention diverted to my errant buttons. With slow and subtle moves, I felt around. There was clearly something hard and buttony there, but I couldn’t understand why it was covered in cloth. I stifled a groan when the realization hit me:  my shirt was on inside out.

Can anyone tell? I worried. Continuing to divide my attention between the speaker and the screen, I scanned my image. The collar was outside and laying the way a collar should. The buttons were clearly not visible, but neither was the stitching that might have revealed my gaff. Thank goodness I chose the green polo.

At this point, I relaxed and rejoined the meeting with my full attention. There was nothing I could do to fix the situation, and – I hoped – no one could tell.  As the meeting wound up, I vowed that, next time, I’d skip brushing my teeth and be certain I had my shirt on properly.

 

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Behind the mask

5 May

Everybody in Whole Foods, the nearest grocery store to my house, wore a mask. Most wore gloves. That day, I was only wearing one glove because, when I got there, I discovered I must have dropped one between my front door and the store.

I had my list and wandered purposefully, paying attention to the yellow markers on the floor that helped shoppers understand the concept of six feet. It was a short list, mostly fresh items, and before long, I was in the checkout line. Here, too, there were yellow lines. Display shelves had been moved to help funnel people the most socially distant direction.

As I waited in line I watched the two clerks. One was still checking someone’s groceries, the other finished up and then cleaned. She sprayed they belt as it ran, wiped down the card reader, sprayed and wiped the counter, before wiping down the counter. Then, she made eye contact with me.

I walked over, smiling. That’s when it hit me, she couldn’t see my smile. And yet, I knew she was smiling because I noticed the crinkle around her eyes. We are going to have to start learning to read new social cues,  I thought as I unloaded my groceries.

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I contemplated this as I walked home. There weren’t many people on the sidewalks, but I veered into the street as I neared people. I didn’t look for social cues about who should step out of the way. I have always had a big personal space bubble. My idea of six feet is really more like thirty.

As I mounted the stairs to home, I found the missing glove. I threw it into the washing machine along with its mate and the face mask.

 

Randy Ribay

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