COVID-19 Wolf Pack
At the risk of coming off as an isolation rant I will attempt to give my audience an update on how this virus has taken hold of my life specifically. I was part of pack once. A wolf pack in a way. Finally finding the people and places that let me be myself and use my skills. Finally, our pack has found a way to not starve, not suffer, and share our voices with the night. COVID-19 started with my pack before the forest felt the full impact. My team and supplies were scattered with little to no information on how long this separation would last.
Not being able to mingle on campus completely cut out my ability to support events. I literally touch everything when it comes to my job; lights, sound, and action. One job called not to come in. Then the next job gave me an extended vacation. Then performance projects began to freeze all around me. With all the online transformation theatre departments seems to no longer need my help, even as a staff member. If I can't operate the equipment, I am useless. Now, everyone is figuring out how to operate their own equipment. Every classroom and performance space is only a laptop away.
As long as students know how to log in they have everything they need. My keys and my backstage badge are now sitting and starting to gathering dust. There may come the day when either them or myself come up with the grand idea on how I can use my talents during this quarantine period. Sitting at home on my hands is not my biggest problem. The biggest problem was what would come next.
My daughters are excused from school for two, no wait . . . three, maybe six, okay now officially 8 weeks. Again little information and BAM, they change my life. My kids are now attached to my hip. Hanging on to my apron strings as I am trying to keep my chin up. I never really bragged about my ability to work with kids. There was a reason for that. I don't like to "mess around" or "waste time". They are so excited to be home everyday contrary to how I feel. They make messes everywhere. As parents, we did not just become homeschool teachers; we are also the school kitchen staff, we are the custodial staff, we are responsible for their every moment of social interaction. It takes all of me to not scream "Leave me alone for ONE WHOLE MINUTE".
There are good times too. I have all the time in the world to photograph my kids. Less the fact that they are mostly in their pajamas all day. We have become a wolf pack of our own today. Before I found joy in identifying with my colleagues and students in our joint passion for the arts. However, this pack is different. My girls swarm behind and under me like the fog that drifts onstage with a mega villain. These visual metaphors are helping me get through this. Don't judge.
Where else can turn for support? My friends have form virtual pack all over the social media networks. I suddenly find myself accepting requests to listen to live music, play readings, and some nightly "phone a friend" chilling to decompress for the tiresome days of managing this physical distancing. Each time I see my face included in several squares. we are packed in and happy for it. Each time I look around and begin to feel a bit more normal again. Some friends were already a part of my work pack or my class of clans and others are new people I would have only met in this form.
I don't knock these mode of expression. I don't knock my new fellow wolves. I may not have a start date for getting back to the real world. I may not have this home schooling thing figured out. What I do have is the will to keep moving forward. I have the technology to accept that virtual event invitation. I have the friends to play around with me on video chats even though I am usually in the comfyist clothes I have. My last load of laundry looked like a years worth of sweatpants and it's only been two week.