Saturday, May 16, 2020

Getting Out and Meltdowns

As this drags into a third month and the realities of canceled summer camps, vacations, and the very real possibility of schools not reopening in the fall starts becoming an inescapable reality instead of some worse case scenario that one can pretend will never happen, the house has gotten more tense and more predictable. It may sound like a contradiction, but we are starting to slide into a schedule. The schedule does include some periods of crying, yelling, stomping, and other behaviors that signal on going emotional strain and possible issues that require intervention, but the episodes are getting predictable. I can generally sense when they are coming and have started picking up patterns in how they play out.
Predictable and tolerable are different things. There are many days, when I watch the clock on my work day tick away as I coax my child to do mathwork or figure out what to do with herself in the absence of a screen, or talk my wife off a ledge, that I reach the end of my tether. Usually, it is work that suffers, but work is really the lowest priority (other than that it pays for the privileges of having a nice house, health, safe access to food...) Work has always been little more for me than a means to end; it pays for the things that matter.
My patience for my coworkers has never been a strength, but I used to have some reserves to make it functional. Now there are more days where it is a liability.  Also, the general amount of work I am producing has dropped. I do have the benefit of knowing where many of the bodies are buried which buys me a little leeway. Hopefully it is enough leeway so I can continue to pay for the things that matter.
I actually got to the point this week where I just needed to get away so bad that I pulled the road bike out of the garage and hit the streets. I was so frazzled that besides what has become normalized behavior, like wearing a mask, didn't even cross my mind. It was nice to just ride until my lungs burned and my legs felt like jello. I didn't even care that the Garmin told me that I had likely overdone things....
The roads were not empty, but the few other riders all did their best to keep distance. The experience gave me a glimmer of hope. It feel like at least one thing that reenergizes me is doable.
Hitting the trails still feels out of reach because there is no way to be distant on single track. Kayaking, at least until the water warms up some more, is still a no go because H worries about accidents.
Road cycling is doable and better than just plodding around my generic suburban neighborhood with the other mask wearing zombies.
So, things are looking up-ish.

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