Shit got real today.
Or, at the very least, it felt like the bubble we’ve been living in burst. Consider this: South Dakota is the fourth-least populated state in the country, but the 16th largest. We joke that we’re behind the curve when it comes to a lot of things (we still had a video rental store up until last year); we’re often the last to be affected by things, and the fallout is usually less extreme. This leaves us well-positioned during, oh, I don’t know…worldwide pandemics, just to choose a random example. But suddenly, our mayor is calling for a 60-day shutdown of businesses such as restaurants, coffee shops, bars, breweries, wineries, distilleries (all the good “-ies” in other words!), cafes, swimming pools, health clubs, theaters, arcades, bowling alleys…the list goes on and on, despite the lack of a single confirmed case in Pennington County. I get it: better to be proactive and help flatten the curve, but it stings.
The ordinance isn’t even official yet, but already, so many places have shuttered. I feel very strongly about shopping local and supporting small businesses during this crisis, but it’s impossible to do that when they’re closing down. Friday, we ordered pizza from one of our favorite downtown restaurants. By Saturday, they had closed. Today, I walked down to Black Hills Vinyl to buy a gift card to help them out, but they too are now closed indefinitely. It’s all awfully depressing.
And I am now working from home for the foreseeable future. I’d already been given the okay to work from home three days a week, but by mid-morning, my supervisor told me I could take my stuff home when I left for lunch and not come back. Normally those are the last words you hope to hear from your employer, but in this case, they actually do want me to come back when this all blows over. Whew! So I packed up the essentials: my laptop, monitor, Post-It® notes, Daily Dad Joke calendar (told you I wouldn’t leave that behind!) and brought them home.
Fortunately, I sort-of anticipated this might happen over the weekend and prepared for it. Instead of rocking and rolling to Foreigner in Deadwood as we’d planned on Saturday, we organized the garage and hauled a filing cabinet up to the spare bedroom. On Sunday, I ventured out to Office Depot to buy a nice office chair. Funny story there: the first chair I wanted was out of stock, so I had to settle for another (naturally, more expensive) one. Apparently, with so many people suddenly being forced to work from home, there has been a massive run on office chairs and monitors and even basic copy paper, according to the cashier. The rest of my day was spent purging 25 years’ worth of paperwork that had accumulated in the filing cabinet. Like, I had instruction manuals for products that I tossed long ago. A Garmin GPS, an old digital camera, even a freakin’ CD player. Oh, good news, though: found a coupon from Audrey for “a free living room vacuuming” scribbled in crayon. Can’t wait to collect on that from my adult daughter the next time she visits.
It was all worth it, though: now I’ve got an official home office, where it looks like I’ll be camped for quite a while.
I’m trying to look at the bright side, though. There are positives to working remotely (and obviously, I’m a bit of a pro at it already). I can get up an hour later and go for an outdoor walk on my lunch instead of hitting the treadmill while half-awake. I can wear sweats. I can take petting-the-cat breaks. And this new chair is pretty damn comfortable, I have to admit. It had better be, for what I paid.
How are you all coping?