If you don’t know what “kvetch” means, google it.
I am about to complain about things my sons call–accurately–“first world problems.” First world problems, for those who may not have heard the phrase, are problems people would be grateful to have in other parts of the world–or for that matter, less fortunate precincts of the United States. I should be ashamed to complain about them while others are facing job losses, illness or death–and especially when people on the “front lines” are risking their health and possibly their lives stocking grocery shelves, delivering much-needed goods, and caring for the sick.
So please know that I am ashamed to kvetch. But I’m going to do it, and I’m pretty sure I’m not alone.
It isn’t just my hair, which has taken on a life of its own. (I’m considering cutting it myself; the only thing that keeps my hands from the scissors is picturing Haley–she who actually knows how to cut hair and who usually cuts mine every three weeks–looking horrified and disapproving when salons reopen.)
It isn’t just the fact that the skin on my hands is raw from constant washing.
It isn’t just that the only person other than my husband that I’ve actually talked to face-to-face was the plumber who came (in mask and gloves) to fix a VERY inconvenient and VERY expensive leak that caused part of the basement ceiling to collapse.
It isn’t just the jeans and old sweatshirts that I wear every single day. Actually, there’s something comforting about not wearing out my nicer clothes (or putting them on and noticing that they’ve become considerably tighter…).
It isn’t just that I can’t hug my grandchildren–but that is a really, really big part of it. Three of our four perfect grandchildren live close by; the two youngest (16 and 18) are only four blocks away and are used to coming over frequently–to raid the pantry, to play pool in Grandpa’s “man cave,” or to do homework away from annoying parents…Now, when the weather is nice, they may walk over (usually accompanied by those same annoying parents), but they stand ten or twelve yards away and wave…no hugs. No kisses.
Drives me nuts.
Before the order to stay in our homes, I’d given notice that I planned to retire. IU has something called “phased retirement,” and I planned–and still plan–to work half-time for the next two years, then say “sayonara.” I’d been regaling my husband with all the things I’d do then–clean all the closets, dust and rearrange all the books in the library, clean out all the kitchen cabinets…. I was going to have an immaculate home environment. When I retired.
I was also going to read for pleasure, not just to keep up academically .
Um…I’ve done all that during this enforced “staycation.” I’ve cleaned everything that doesn’t move. I’ve read at least ten forgettable books. I’ve even finished lingering research projects.
I don’t know what I’ll do when I retire…..
I miss human contact. I miss hugging my children and grandchildren. I miss meeting friends for brunch or drinks. I miss talking to my students face-to-face rather than online. I even miss grocery shopping.
Maybe I’m projecting, but I’ve noticed that the comments to my daily blogs are getting longer. I think you guys are bored too…..
I’ll quit kvetching about what I know is an important and necessary measure to flatten the curve and keep us safe–or at least safer. And I will count my “first world” blessings–a home in which to quarantine, a job that continues to pay me, a supportive spouse who ignores my hair-that-devoured-Cleveland and obediently tells me that, yes, that closet I just cleaned looks great….and blog readers who (mostly) make me feel valued.
Tomorrow, I’ll stop kvetching and return this blog to its proper focus: America’s abysmal federal governance.
Sorry for the detour, but I feel better now……