|From Ruggles of Red Gap which we watched last night.|
I take walks and see other people walking, some now wearing masks. People make a point of staying away from one another. Crossing streets, walking in the street, waiting in drive ways until others pass. It is the coronavirus dance. The dance of avoidance. Pleasantries are sometimes exchanged. I think in part to maintain some level of human contact with strangers.
Tomorrow I teach my class online for the last time. I, like 75% of the employees working for Language Studies International (LSI) and likely similar numbers for other ESL schools, have been laid off. Don’t cry for me Argentina or Albania or Athens or Antwerp or anywhere else. Teaching ESL online is about 25% is effective as teaching in person and about 10% as much fine. (Three uses of percentages in one paragraph — how about that?)
I still enjoyed my students and got to like each one. But the phrase “it’s just not the same” is most applicable. I don’t think it crude to say that teaching online to teaching in an actual classroom is like comparing making love to having a wank. The proverbial better than nothing, I suppose.
What I find myself missing the most besides going to the gym is having sports around. I, of course, especially miss those games that I would be watching on the telly or attending in person, but I miss all of it. Sports have been the backdrop for my entire life. Unlike every previous March there was no men’s and women’s NCAA basketball tournament. I wouldn’t have watched more that a couple of games — if that — but I would have compulsively checked scores. Here it is April and there is no baseball as there has been every year of my life. Friday would have been the Giants’ home opener and, absent having a ticket, I would have dutifully sat in front of the TV and watched. The European Cup (football — soccer to you Yanks) has already been postponed a year and thus I have to wait an additional 12 months to see Finland’s first ever appearance in the finals. Meanwhile I’ve been missing watching Arsenal and the rest of the English premier league in action with no resumption of play in sight. Even next season’s Cal football season is in jeopardy. Cal home games are a particularly special and integral part of my life. This departure from the norm is unsettling for those of who struggle with emotional issues.
The loss of sports pales in comparison to the other issues surrounding this damned virus, people are getting sick and dying all over the world and it will likely get far worse before it gets at all better. But in the past when the news has been virtually unpalatable and all seems bleak, we’ve still had our distractions. Goodness do we need our distractions now. Being on the spectrum and suffering as I do from depression, I particularly desire the normalcy that comes from having sports events occur like clockwork at their appointed times.
What also hurts is the helplessness of the situation. The most that so many of us can do is just stay at home, maintain social distances and wash our hands. Hardly feels like making a contribution at all when you’re doing your part by watching another movie (three for me yesterday and if you must know: Double Indemnity (1944), Viridiana (1961) and Ruggles of Red Gap (1935) Three terrific films the latter of which I watched with the missus). I also do my bit by reading (currently reading The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee by David Treuer, and selections from various books of poetry) and writing and keeping abreast of the world via the internet.
Please, if you’re reading this (does anyone?) don’t think I want anyone feeling sorry for me. I’m a lucky bloke indeed. Neither I nor anyone I know has the virus — yet — and my health and that of my loved ones is all tip top. We will feel no financial strain, we will share much love and there’s plenty of food and endless hours of entertainment to amuse us. My depression is bad but usually not crippling and the same can be said of my anxiety which, while it sees the occasional spike more often these days does not impede my walks. I know that things will get better and maybe the virus won’t last as long as some people fear. We are deprived of a lot these days but not of hope.
Hope is a good thing to have.