pandemic time

Early in the summer, before the wave of reopenings and the new activities of summer, I'd regularly marvel at how much time had passed since March. In lockdown, May felt like warmer-march. It doesn't feel like March anymore (thank god), but things don't feel "normal" either. Today I've been thinking about the little time-marking habits I lost with lockdown.

I used to keep a journal - a written one. I'd keep it in my bag and carry it with me everywhere. I'd pull it out on the street or in the subway, and (at least try to) keep tabs on my projects and goals. I also carried a sketchbook and a set of pens and pencils with me. I'd draw people at cafes or on the subway, or any scene where I found myself waiting.

I never had great talent for these things - no great drawings or brilliantly-scrawled insights, but it occurs to me now that it was a record of what I saw and did throughout time. The pages of my journal and sketchbook filling with the days, and more on the days I "did" more.

I've basically stopped doing those things. I've kept a periodic (digital) record, but I haven't sat down to write a physical journal entry to myself since March. My drawing pencils have literally collected dust beneath my computer. It's regularly occured to me that it would be nice to take a walk to the park and do some drawing or relfect into my journal, but I haven't done it.

Somehow, the physical acts of chores and waiting in line helped me mark time - they fed my journal and my sketchbook. I'd always thought of these as habits for filling dead time but, flipping over the empty pages of my notebooks, it's the time since lockdown that feels lost, empty.


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