I had hoped, today, to work from the new coworking space I’ve been part of for a few weeks now. It’s a 40-minute walk (or 40-minute bus ride, because transit here sucks). The exercise and routine of that commute, combined with a comfortable space with decent snacks and the presence of other humans who are at least pretending to work helps me feel focused and productive during the day. Real boon for my fussy old noggin and its myriad, fragile moods.
But I’m at the coffee shop, instead, which I also love, but can’t seem to work from as long nor as productively. To wit: I just had to pause and wipe my computer down because something near the espresso machine malfunctioned and geysered water all over me. True story! The coffee shop is only a 5-minute walk, so I pivoted here instead because it is colder than a witch’s tit.
I imagine one’s not supposed to use that phrase anymore, but also witches aren’t real??? You’re probably also not supposed to say that witches aren’t real, but I am not going to live in that world. Having grown up surrounded by the blizzard-prone dead winter earth of Nebraska’s many factory farms, our family had quite a few phrases in use for describing degrees of cold:
That’s roughly organized by severity, least to most, but it’s not fully linear. Witch’s Tit means a certain bite to the air. The thermometer could read 20 degrees colder and it would still only be Cold as Balls if there were less wind. I can imagine spending all day on a diagram, which is really not what I need to be doing right now, so the list will have to suffice.
What I need to be doing is promoting my workshops. It’s been hard to promote things of late, and I mean that in three ways:
On that last point, I asked recently if anyone else felt like they were getting any traction, just in general. Because I’m not getting much, and I wanted to know if it was just me. Publicly and privately, people wrote back to say, basically: “LOL, nope”. People are telling people they want things done and then not following through, or asking for work and ignoring the results, or ignoring opportunities to do work, or not responding, not replying, not registering, registering and not showing up, going MIA, on and on, in all kinds of ways in all kinds of fields all over the place. Hell, I’m probably doing it, too and don’t even realize it.
So yeah, not just me. Not just you.
I’m not complaining or blaming, to be clear. It’s explicable and understandable. I felt checked out myself — bordering on disassociated — for most of 2022, truth told. Thankfully, happily, I feel Here, now; ready for action. I’ve finally got my dancing pants on, but there’s no one else at the party.
Ultimately, I think there’s a tremendous amount of quiet and distributed mass grieving happening. Direct personal grief for lives and livelihoods lost to COVID and war and police violence, yes, but also grief over having to accept that the unprecedented times weren’t, really, they were quite precedented and we were just using the wrong scale, and all of these very precedented things are going to continue and deepen and worsen and … you know, it’s hard to go online and seem chipper about UX tools or give three flying fucks about chatbots or whatever amidst all that, yeah?
This is all to say that if you feel like the only one on the dance floor right now, know that you’re not alone in feeling alone. One thing I’ve learned about grief is that it is a large force outside of your control, much like the weather. Some days it’s going to be colder than a witch’s tit, and you’ve got to bundle up as best you can.
Stay warm, friends. I’ll keep the fire going for you, if I can.
P.S. The photo is of a defiant tree that seems to have survived several highway builds that I snapped a few days ago; he seemed an appropriate mascot for this issue.