Coronavirus Diaries: Week Fourteen

May 31

There were riots in the city last night. In my city.

There were peaceful protests for a long while. And it seems that those who were protesting were not those who were rioting. Could have been white people who were trying to be jerks in multiple ways. So that’s a whole new level of depressing.

Protests during a pandemic. As if the world couldn’t get any stranger.

But hey, you gotta do what you gotta do when you gotta do it, virus be damned.

June 1

Jesus, the start of yet another month.

Today my governor lifted some aspects of her stay-at-home order. Come Thursday, retail spaces can open. Come Monday, restaurants can reopen.

To be honest, it’s been easy to forget that covid is even still happening. Sheltering in place has become second-nature; it’s almost like I sometimes forget why we’re doing it and yet I don’t even question it. I just stay home.

Plus, there are “more important” things happening in the country now; I mean, I wouldn’t even try to compare which is more important, racism or pandemic–they’re both pretty epic–but the racism seems at the forefront while the pandemic is taking a back seat.

June 2

I got an email last night just before I cooked dinner telling me we were going back to work a week earlier than planned because of the governor’s order being partially lifted. So where I thought I had at least two weeks of working from home left, I now have six days.

It’s no matter, really, if I go back this coming Monday or the next. My mother-in-law is ready to come babysit like she did before all this started, and that’s really the only preparation that needs to be made.

But I suddenly felt sad to give up this lifestyle I’ve become accustomed to. Change is always hard, I suppose, even if that change is returning to “normal.”

June 3

The library is really moving things along quickly. They’ve announced they plan on opening to patrons (at 25% capacity) right after Fourth of July. So I’ll go back on Monday, we’ll start curbside service the next Monday, and then two Mondays later, people will be coming in the building. And they announced it to the public, so it’s a pretty done deal.

It is somewhat worrisome to think about people coming in the library. And we aren’t even allowed to refuse entry to people who won’t wear masks. So there could be a high risk there.

But it’s not just the virus that has me worried.

I live in a very diverse neighborhood. I started the audiobook The Hate U Give when I went for a walk last night. I didn’t realize that in the first two chapters, a terrible crime happens, one that mirrors the crime that has inspired our recent riots. And as I walked, my fists pumped, my breath quickened, and hot tears pooled behind my eyelids.

As I listened, I passed two Black girls, a Mexican couple on bikes, an Indian family out for an evening stroll. When I saw them, I said in my head, I see you, I hear you, I’m here for you. When they saw me, they might have been saying in their heads, I see you, and I’m watching you, and I’m ready to protect myself. I hate that is the atmosphere we’re living in now.

In our time working from home, we’ve been trained how to respectfully interact with homeless patrons. We’ve been trained how to deescalate situations where patrons have a conflicts with staff. We haven’t yet been trained on how to handle racial disagreements.

Not that we haven’t seen them before. Not that we haven’t had to deal with them before. We’ve kicked out a white woman for shouting at black kids, condemning us for letting “those people” into the library. We’ve called the police when a white man threatened a black man for no good reason.

Will these occasions be more frequent now? Just like everything else right now, we’ll just have to wait and see.

June 4

We had a work meeting via Zoom this morning. My manager talked about what to expect. It sounds like a disaster. She asked if anyone had any questions. We all had plenty of questions, but we all remained silent. No use asking questions. This is happening, and we just have to figure it out as we go along. There is no way to know how it is going to go.

My coworker said he thought he was mentally prepared to go back to work, but then they moved up our return date, and he doesn’t feel so prepared anymore. I don’t know if I’m prepared or not. I don’t like how messy it all sounds, how unpredictable, how hostile people might be for losing access to their library for three months.

But at the same time, Amelia has really taken a liking to make-believe games that she insists on playing with me, and I have a hard time staying awake to play, I’m so bored. So I guess I’m ready to go back.

Ready or not, here it comes.

June 5

The zoo is open for timed tickets. Chris bought tickets for tomorrow morning. It’s exciting to go do something that we used to do, something we love to do. It’s also a little scary.

The rest of the weekend will be properly cleaning the house (not cleaning like the way I’ve been half-assing it for three months) since my mother-in-law will be a regular guest again. I’m excited for both her and Amelia to have each other again.

I’m not excited to clean the damn house, though.