So my wife and I had an appointment, one that actually required us to leave the house. Well, one of us had an appointment and the other was coming along to help. And I realized it was the first time we’d left the house together in months. It was a weekday but the appointment was first thing in the morning and I’d be going in to work late, or rather going to work when we got back home, which feels kind of weird to me. Anyway we slept a little later than usual and got up and rushed around and were about two blocks from the house when my wife yelled, “We left our masks!” So we turned around and went back and got them and now we just keep a pair of masks in the car all the time. For some weird reason I forgot my mask but did remember the hand sanitizer which we don’t keep in the car and probably should since it turns out it won’t explode, but that’s another story.
Our ride together reminded me of the weekday morning commutes we used to make together, and I miss those—not so much the traffic, but the spending a little time together in the mornings, just like I miss the afternoon commute by bus because it was a chance to have some time to myself to think about things. For a lot of us who are lucky enough to work from home there’s still an outstanding question of whether we’ll go back to our offices eventually. Some companies have told their employees they can just keep working from home no matter what the future holds. When I started working from home I didn’t think I’d miss the commute but there are advantages to it. It took out a major chunk of my day, anywhere from two to three hours at a time, but that transitional time was a way to adjust my mind, to prepare for work, or prepare to relax at home.
It’s possible that once we start returning to work, and some of my coworkers are already doing that, although with limits. Only a few people are allowed in the office at any one time, and they’re keeping their distance from each other. There’s a communal break room and only one person goes in at a time. Anyone who goes in turns the light off when they leave as a signal that it’s empty.
For me I know it’s really not a matter of if I return to the office but when. Things going forward will always be different. I may not go into the office every day of the week but I will go in some days, and I look forward to making the old commute.
And, yeah, the other day wasn’t the first time I’ve forgotten to take a mask with me when I left the house. A few other times, going by myself on a trip to the grocery store or to pick up a prescription, I’ve been a few blocks away from the house when I realized I didn’t have any masks in the car with me and I turned around and went back. I’d only be mildly annoyed with myself, because it really just gave me a little more time to be alone.