At 4pm one year ago today, I walked out of my place of employment without a clue as to when I would return. My boss literally said the words “Don’t come back here tomorrow.” The pandemic had hit, we went into emergency mode and my unit was one that would be working from home. My agency is twenty-four hours. There were/are units that continue to come in. There was no way around it, some services must be handled in person, even in the midst of a pandemic.
That translated to even though the City quarantined, and masks, hand washing/sanitizing and social distancing became de rigueur, on occasion my work wife and I would have to come to the office. It was part necessity and part breaking up what had quickly become the monotony of being cooped home. However, as the weather got cold, every couple of weeks became, once a month and once a month became we have not stepped foot in my office since the very first week of January.
We knew we were entering a ghost town with the barest amount of personnel, so dressing for ‘work’ had fallen by the wayside for my work-wife. I would not wear a full out suit, but I wore slacks and blouses, in my mind it’s the office. Still, we may have visited the office a maximum of fifteen times in this past year. It has dawned to me, now that people are being vaccinated, I suspect my office may reopen by the end of spring. Whether it will return to a full week or some split schedule is undetermined as of yet, as the City as a whole is excruciatingly, but definitely emerging into a new semblance of normal.
I’ve lived in mostly jeans and t-shirts. My wardrobe, work or otherwise, has barely been used in the past year; that is going to change. I know there are clothes in my closet that have not seen the light since Winter 2019. I am not going to lie, I have gained the Covid 20+ and I am not looking forward to going through some of my clothes. And while I admit to the retail therapy I’ve done in the interim, it’s not going to be pretty for some of my wardrobe. Not to mention, 0I have not worn proper shoes in over a year. Can I even walk in my low work heels anymore?
After a year of various levels of quarantine, I am looking forward to regularly seeing friends and (certain), colleagues again, dining in restaurants, going to concerts and movies and Broadway! Above all, I am looking forward to travelling again. Other than a weekend jaunt to Philadelphia last November, I have not left my fair City since I returned from Cuba in spring of 2019. In the words of Lenny Kravitz: I want to get away – I want to fly away – yeah – yeah- yeah
Still, I find myself conflicted. Am I ready for real clothes, five days a week again? After a year of pretty much living in Hermitsville, am I ready for the noise… the people(!)? As much as I am looking forward to being out and about once more am I ready for the world again?
More important is it ready for me?
PS: !! Happy St. Patrick’s Day !!
Such a year it’s been. You captured so well the losses, the gains, the conflicted feelings we have as life begins to return to normal.
Conflicted is the word. Thanks Ramona.
Ah yes. Clothes in the closet. We all know that sunlight helps things to grow. Lack of it causes things to shrivel. Therefore, if some items no longer fit as they once did it is because they have not had the nurturing effect of sunshine and because of this they retreated into themselves and became smaller. It will be interesting to see how offices and other places of business handle the reopening of the world.
HAH! I like your take. Thanks.
You frame the dilemma and the emotions well in this piece, a story that could emerge only from this past year. It’s the kind of piece that will also be great to look back upon, when you’ve made the leap to a new routine and feel settled once again.
Thanks Diane. I look forward to run we’re only looking back on these insane times.
Am I ready for the world again? What a great question. It’s interesting that when we have to do without (dressing for work, shoes, concerts) we actually get used to it! The thing I would like to continue to do without is traffic. I’m dreading having to add all that extra time sitting in my car once everything goes back to the “old days”.
Oh gosh, commuting. I use mass transit for work. I missed having subway stories, I do not miss the hour and fifteen to thirty minutes each direction subway rides. Truly not ready for that.