I have more time for exercise and chores and projects now. So I’m feeling a little run down ... and when a person gets to feeling run down, he tends to complain, so here you are: things I miss because of this damned pandemic:

-- People with less time on their hands. People and publicity agents all across the globe have more time now to email. I am getting about 10 times the usual amount coming to me through the newsroom account. Some of it is just plain junk and some of it is insidious  junk.

Junk emailers are getting more savvy. They are putting a local place name at the top or in the subject line to make it look like it applies locally. I have to take a half minute to open the file, curse at it and delete it.

I always struggle with email. I’ve written about it before. It’s such a handy tool ... but such a bothersome thing. I make up these schemes ... I jot down the total of emails waiting for some action and swear I’ll reduce the number by 20 a day until they’re all gone. But it takes time and herding emails isn’t all that productive... So I start feeling like I’ve accomplished something if I make any reduction at all. Hey! Yesterday I had 589 emails in the queue and today, by golly, I’ve got the total down to 582. 

And then I go away for lunch and come back ... 

-- Personal conversations, like when you go to lunch with someone you know really well so you’re comfortable saying whatever pops in your head and you’re also fine with not talking constantly.

Now days, it’s phone conversations and messaging people. You can’t stand to have silence on a phone call ... the whole point of a call is to talk and if you don’t you feel like you’ve violated some law. Face to face, we could say a few things then pause as we drink our beer or chew and swallow something fattening. On your cellphone, you feel like one of you must be talking. And also you come to believe that you must be doing something while you talk. Exhausting.

-- Kids playing. We live near a schoolyard. Rarely, but once in a while, it would be a little annoying (when the first graders decide to have screaming contests). But usually, it’s a pleasant noise ... like a flock of blackbirds in the evening ... just a big amount of talking and yelling and laughing ... you miss it when it’s gone. 

-- Untidy yards. Everyone around the neighborhood has more time to keep their yards trimmed and manicured ... so ... I guess I have to do that.

-- Marysville Kiwanians. You could go to a club meeting every week or two and it was sort of like a family reunion. You could only manage to talk to one or two people and overhear a whole lot of chatter and someone is likely to make fun of you or give you some “feedback” about something and someone would have some sort of joke and if you were lucky it would be a joke suitable for a family newspaper, but not always. And if you missed more than a couple times someone would say they’d missed you ... and then they’d fine you for not having your stupid name badge on.

-- Being part of a crowd. Sometimes you just get worn out and you don’t need to talk anymore because your brain has gone mushy, but you feel lonely for other people ... so you’d go to the Silver Dollar or the Viking or Sopa Thai or Dragon Inn or any number of places to have something to eat, but what you were really doing was just being part of the herd. 

Buck up, I tell myself, it’s only been a month or so.

Hang in there, everyone, it’s only been a month or so.

*

Ugh: 

-- Since the beginning of the pandemic, I’ve been jogging a mile a day. Now I don’t know where I am.

-- Lots of people are getting back into the walking/jogging routine, since they’re not working. Yesterday I came upon an older guy in a jogging suit who had collapsed on the sidewalk. I got to him just before he died. His last words: “I had a good run.”

-- Since the pandemic shutdowns started, I tell my wife every day at breakfast that I’m going to jog three miles. Then I don’t. It’s my longest running joke yet.

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