I keep calling our current Shelter in Place situation by the wrong name; I find myself saying House Arrest.
What a treat I have for you today! My dear friend, Angela Bell, is guest blogging. Angela is a professor of American history, specializing in Antebellum Religious History, which has led to some truly eye opening discussions over lunch (I had no idea about the Oneida Community; I thought they just made cutlery). She is not presently under House Arrest, but is practicing staying at home safety protocols and teaching her students online. And she is sharing some Corona thoughts:
Take it away, Angela:
I have an unhealthy adoration of Sebastian Stan. If you don’t immediately know who that is, then…well, you probably don’t have nearly as an obsessive personality as I do, but that’s another post for another day when I’m not hijacking Shannon’s delightful and well-curated blog. Truthfully, it’s one for something I would dream up, which is a nightmare blog full of drivel and nonsense. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
Sorry, where was I? Right, Sebastian Stan.
You know who he is. I promise. He’s the dude who plays Bucky Barnes in the MCU; the Winter Soldier; the scary guy with the metal arm who used to be Captain America’s best friend before turning into a super assassin. Yeah, that guy. He’s too pretty for words.
(Angela met Mr. Stan!!!! Check out this glorious photo!)
Sebastian Stan guest appeared on his personal trainer’s podcast this week, and because I’m stuck at home by myself during the stay at home order and I’m an extrovert who’s slowly losing my mind, I watched it. I sat glued to a podcast of a celebrity personal trainer talking to an actor discussing health and fitness and nutrition while eating chocolate cupcakes and a handful of Cheetos. And did I feel badly about it? Well, yeah, because I was sitting on a couch watching other people dealing with this quarantine mess in much more healthy ways than I am. It was not my finest moment.
Since you don’t know me, let me explain. I’m one of those people that kind of thrives on being busy and cramming a lot of stuff into not nearly enough hours. It’s an adrenaline high to see how much I can accomplish without dropping all the balls I have in the air. It’s an incredibly stressful way to live, which probably explains why I normally crave downtime during my everyday routine. So, you can imagine my discomfiture now that I have nothing but oodles of time and nothing pressing with which to fill it.
I’m incredibly privileged right now. I absolutely get that. Some people are still going to work because they have to either for financial reasons or because they’re essential personnel. I’m a professor. I migrated my classes online, and they almost run themselves except for the occasional email and essays to grade once a week or something. I have a million projects I’d like to do, a thousand books I want to read, and a hundred TV shows and movies I could stream and still have more to watch. I have time to bake and cook and actually use my mixer that’s been decorating my counter for the past two years. I’ve chatted online with friends and scrolled the internet so much my eyes have almost fallen out of my face. My cat’s so excited to have me home she’s practically a ball of furry, cuddly goo. It’s precious.
And I am restless. Very, very restless as I flit from one thing to another because I’m distracted. I start and stop countless writing things to answer the twelfth message in a group text I don’t really have any right to be in anyway. I make to do lists and repeat the same thing every day because I don’t get around to finishing much of anything. I compulsively make grocery lists in case I somehow can’t survive without the one ingredient I need to make a dish I can live without but desperately want.
It all feels a little bit like a descent into madness—that is, until I saw a post from an internet friend in California who’s overwhelmed from working through the quarantine while seeing others either “gloat or complain” about self-isolation. And I get it. I really do. She hasn’t had a break at all, and that’s all I’ve had. We’re all just trying to survive this, and inaction doesn’t sit well with most of the populace. I definitely fall into that camp.
I don’t really have any words of wisdom, and that’s unusual for me. I can almost always spin a moral from a situation, but I’m at a loss during this crisis. Maybe that’s the lesson itself—that I don’t have to have it all figured out. I don’t have to accomplish something grand and productive and brilliant during this time. I might. I probably won’t, but if maybe I can just learn to breathe a little bit over the next few weeks. Drop a few balls. Stop thinking I have to fill every second with something stimulating and just sit and reflect a while. Maybe I can actually learn to breathe.
But I’m still going to eat another cupcake or two.
Gentle Readers, this is truly an unprecedented time. You are not alone. Reach out. Breathe deeply. Enjoy a cupcake.