I Want To Get Away.

The building where I work–although after four months and counting it feels more like the building where I worked–is slowly reopening. There are limits on the number of people allowed in at any given time, and even a form we have to fill out and instruction we have to take before we can be authorized to enter the building. We had a meeting last week to discuss the protocols for coming in. Among other things there was a conversation about restrooms. The restrooms on our floor are multi-person but there are single-person restrooms on other floors, which some people said they’d be more comfortable using. It turns out the building is locked down and everyone’s strictly limited to one floor, which, if he hadn’t left some time ago, would have made life difficult for Jason who liked to go to offices on other floors and steal their coffee, but that’s another story. Also people who go in are only allowed to take off their masks in closed offices.

Most of our office space is taken up with cubicles which means shared breathing space which means masks stay on. Sometimes I used to stand up in my cubicle and I’d remember Les Nessman of WKRP In Cincinnati, and I’d wonder if he’d be satisfied with office walls that barely came up to his shoulders. I’m okay with having a cubicle myself. It’s certainly better than one of my earlier jobs, working customer service for Planetoxic Trucking, where I sat shoulder to shoulder with coworkers answering phones all day.

Source: Twitter

Anyway after thinking last week about how I missed my commute, and this week I started thinking about something else I miss: being able to leave my office. I’d often go for long walks during lunch, or I’d take short breaks in the morning and afternoon to stretch my legs. I’ve gotten to know the neighborhood around the building pretty well so it’s not like there are a lot of surprises, but still there was something about getting out that helped clear my head and allow me to come back with a fresh, or at least refreshed, perspective. I can still take breaks at home, but somehow the long walk to the back of the yard or the mailbox seems much more limited. From my office building I could walk in multiple directions.
I also wasn’t limited to just what was within walking distance. Some days if I had enough time I could take a bus somewhere during lunch. Sometimes I could take it to the downtown library, and once, on a slow Friday, I did. I picked up a few movies for the weekend and, I think, a book. This was before I knew you could check out a ukulele. The bus was running a bit late so I didn’t get back as soon as I planned, and when I did my boss was standing outside my cubicle. I apologized for being a bit late and said I’d make up the extra time.
“It’s okay,” she said, “but you almost missed the meeting.”
Oh great, I thought, someone scheduled a meeting for Friday afternoon. I’m not sure I would have missed it.

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8 Comments

  1. Moonwatcher51

    Meetings. Blaah.! I’m going to have to visit Nashville simply because you’ve made it real. I think you should get a key to the city!

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      If they’re going to give me a key to the city I hope they thoroughly disinfect it first. Seriously, though, if you ever do visit I hope you have a nice time here. I like Nashville because it’s where I live, but I’ve visited many other cities that had a lot of great things to offer too.

      Reply
  2. M.L. James

    Chris,
    Do you remember the last time your life felt normal before the pandemic? I look back and realize I don’t remember what that moment was because I guess I didn’t think things would get to this point ever. I think that’s the problem. We were so used to doing things a certain way and that way is closed off now and we aren’t able to replace that normalcy with whatever this is. We’re wanting to hang on to what was so much better. Even the most mundane things like going to the bathroom has to be re-thought. It’s frightening. Okay. I can’t dwell here. Have a great week, my friend! Mona
    M.L. James recently posted…The Buffalo Not in the RoomMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Mona,
      Wow. Well, I was hoping to offer something funny here or even lighthearted, and maybe I can come up with something if I type long enough. You’ve really got me thinking about how I did certain things that I don’t think I can ever go back to no matter what the future holds. I used to casually cut through buildings on my way to work in the mornings, sometimes to escape the weather. Once I even had a cleaning person ask me what I was doing cutting through since I didn’t belong in the building. Now I doubt I’ll ever do that again. But I think we’ll find a way to a new normal that we can live with somehow.

      Reply
  3. mydangblog

    I don’t miss the commute but I DO miss going out at lunch, walking around the city, doing a little shopping, things like that. I miss my office, but it will be a while before we’ll be back there full-time if ever at all!

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Getting out into the city is something I really do miss too, especially at lunch. And it’s kind of a shame that we’re still months away at best from any kind of real return.

      Reply
  4. Ann Koplow

    It’s amazing to me how little I miss my office, but perhaps that’s because I get to facilitate five on-line therapy groups every week, which keeps me connected with people in a very profound way. It looks like I’ll be doing that well into 2021. Thanks for all the profound connections in this post, my friend, and please stay safe.
    Ann Koplow recently posted…Day 2820: DetailsMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      If there’s a good thing about this pandemic it’s that it’s happened now at a time when we have the means to connect with others even over great distances. I’ve heard several people say “I don’t know what we’d do without the internet.” Anyway thank you for staying connected.

      Reply

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