Tuesday, May 12, 2020

A Distant Mirror*

Yesterday, I had this stray thought that at some point, I'd look back and miss the quarantine days. We're figuring out how to slowly re-open school for onground, face to face stuff that needs to happen. We have some classes that MUST have a face to face lab--at least that's been the traditional approach.  I wouldn't want someone drawing my blood who had only practiced on a computer simulation. 

Some of our faculty have been making interesting decisions about how to do labs virtually, while some have not. There's some great computer software out there, simulations and such. The school will pay for some of it, but some of it we can't afford.

Having students back in school won't be the old normal, however. We'll be locking up the student lounge  (which is more like a lunchroom) so that students don't linger. For the first time, I've been glad we don't have booming enrollment, since we can't have more than 10 people in a room. There will be lots more sanitizing and wiping down--we're trying to figure out who does the wiping and who does the monitoring to make sure the sanitizing is happening and who will be the hall monitor making sure that people aren't congregating.

The thought of it exhausts me, and yet at the same time, I feel lucky to still have a job.  I'm keenly aware that we may open up and in a month or two, need to go back to being more/completely online.  It makes it very hard to plan and to think about what's best--both in my work world and in the larger world.

As I drove home last night, after an exhausting afternoon considering these issues, I heard the president's press conference, the end where he unraveled and then walked off in a huff.  It was startling.  I don't know why I continue to be startled by the approach of the federal government, and in particular this president, but I am.

My Amazon book order came.  It's the first time I ordered books that came late instead of early.  Included in the shipment:  the next 2 books in my spiritual direction certificate program.  On the one hand, I was happy to finally have them, and they look much more interesting than the book I just finished for the program.  On the other hand, I look at them, and I think about how full of hope I was when I started the program, and now it's all I can do not to fall into a deep pit of despair.

I feel like I'm looking in a distant mirror, that I see a reflection that I sort of recognize, from a time that feels very far away.

Life is uncertain, and I've always known that, but I found it easier to cope with the uncertainty on an individual (and often theoretical) level, not in our current national and international situation.  I would have thought I would find it easier, with the "we're all in this together"vibe.  I'm not sure whether I do or not.

And now it's time to get ready for school.  Today we stay later for New Student Orientation, a different sort of odd mirror.  In some ways it's so familiar.  In some ways, it's so different, as we do it remotelywith a skeleton crew.

*I'm reverting back to a habit from my early days of blogging this pandemic, when I tried to reference earlier works about plague.  Historian Barbara Tuchman spends some time on the effects of the plague outbreaks in the 14th century in her work by this name.

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