The act of working has been stripped bare. You don’t have little outfits to put on, and lunches to go to, and coffee breaks to linger over and clients to schmooze. The office is where it shouldn’t be — at home, in our intimate spaces — and all that’s left now is the job itself, naked and alone. And a lot of people don’t like what they see.
And even closer to home:
It wasn’t just the bad sexually harassing bosses who were fired but the toxic ones, too, and soon enough we began to question the whole way power in the office worked. What started out as a hopeful moment turned depressing fast. Power structures were interrogated but rarely dismantled, a middle ground that left everyone feeling pretty bad about the ways of the world. It became harder to trust anyone who was your boss and harder to imagine wanting to become one. Covid was an accelerant, but the match was already lit.
And one road trip, for my birthday, staying within the commonwealth. Missed Tofurky Day at Charlie’s two years running.
Overnight stays in 2021:
The shelf was getting a little unbalanced, with too much fiction, but a tip from NPR’s Books We Love led me to Dreilinger. Of the Thoreau, I’ve got The Maine Woods and Cape Cod to read. The Bellotti is for a book club at work—not my usual cup of tea, but I want to contribute to the discussion. I have promised myself that I will crank through another story in the French parallel text collection; will I ever find time for the Echenoz? Juggling two volumes is too much trouble for the subway.
Say hello to Dr. Hardtacks on his first road trip, already a little dusty from the drive. We’re at the trailheads for Buffalo Mountain in Floyd County, early enough to pick our own space before the parking lot fills up (and it did, on a Friday morning).
With multiple new safety features and an automatic backy-uppy parking trick, the doctor is definitely smarter than me. His surname comes from the name of a turtle that Aaron Posner likes to work into his scripts.
For the first 1000 miles, we’re doing 66.5 mpg.
I’m Washingtonian-famous, for the month at least, recommending Mucca Pazza’s Tiny Desk Concert. Spelled my name right and everything.
Two bits of juvenilia from my business school days, published in the student newspaper, The Wharton Journal, in 1978-1979: a guide to the non-credit courses in computing and calculus offered in the summer, and a satire of too much life hacking. I had about 20 pieces published in the paper, and in exchange for meeting once a week to proofread, I got my name in the staff box with the fancy title of News Editor.
Likewise, I got one road trip in before we all went home. No Turkey Day dinner at Charlie’s this year, alas.
Overnight stays in 2020:
- Titusville, Brevard County, Florida (and)
- Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, North Carolina (Hi, Scott!)
I was lucky to visit two new spaces before everything went behind a screen:
- Bradley Hills Presbyterian Church, Bethesda
- National Sylvan Theater, Washington
- 2019’s list.
- 2018’s list.
- 2017’s list.
- 2016’s list.
- 2015’s list.
- 2014’s list.
- 2013’s list.
- 2012’s list.
- 2011’s list.
Diminished by a year of no book exchanges, no visits to the ARC shelf at work, no used book sales, and judicious avoidance of booksellers; augmented by a couple of thoughtful holiday gifts from friends—I’ve reduced the three boxes plus shelf to one box plus shelf.
Perhaps not surprisingly, I’m not reading that much more these days. I have set aside what was my morning commute time for reading. But evening commute time has evaporated into reading the news and wondering what to stream for the evening. Reading at home, as opposed to reading on the train, is more conducive to material like Chris Ware and books that require flipping back to a reference book. I have picked up a collection of French short stories with English parallel texts that had languished for a while.
At my desk away from my desk, 12 weeks since we started working remotely full-time. I’ve added a larger work table, a second monitor, and a rolling desk chair since I moved in. The overhead lighting is actually flattering in this case. But that’s the end of the shaggy hair: hair salons in Montgomery County reopened this week.