What It’s Like – Lockdown Edition

I haven’t done one of these in awhile, so I thought… why not talk a bit about what lockdown was like for me, as a blind person?

I think in a lot of ways it was probably very similar to the experiences of most people. The same stress, the same uncertainty, the same feeling that I should be doing something worthwhile with all that free time coupled by the lack of drive to do any of it.

But there were some differences. Some worse, some better. And, well, me being me we’ll address the downs first because that way, I can end on a more positive sort of note.

So, first off. Lack of going out at all. Period. Around here, and I think elsewhere, going out for walks was encouraged so long as social distance was maintained and mask-wearing encouraged. You just had to stick to your own household. And… my household is just me. Moreover, it is difficult for me to go anywhere without touching a whole lot more than the average person, so I just stayed inside for way too long, especially once we were told to stop going for drives (I was going for drives with my mother).

Which is actually the second point. We weren’t really supposed to have contact with anyone not living with us, and I just couldn’t do it. Oh, sure, I ordered online and did contactless delivery as much as possible, but I needed contact with one person. I tried to keep it to a minimum, and I tried not to make actual contact with her, but I did see her. And I felt a bit guilty about it every time I did. Or a lot guilty.

Initially, the things I’ve gotten used to using to make life easier as a blind person, such as InstaCart, got wildly more difficult to use. Gone were the days of same-day delivery. Instead, I had to order one to two weeks in advance and expect that many of the things I wanted or needed would be out of stock. And while yes, I know everyone else was in the same boat, for me it was an adjustment as I’d already been using it for awhile since grocery shopping blind is rather challenging.

But. There is a bright side to that one. It made such services more prominant in the public eye which, in turn, drastically increased availability. so it led to more choices, which is a good thing for me.

You know what else was awesome? There was suddenly a plethora of activities that I could actually participate in almost as fully and sometimes completely as fully as the sighted people. For the first time in two decades, I joined a virtual choir. We even recorded some performances* (recorded individually and then editted together). It was fantastic, and I miss it. I was able to join in a D&D group over Zoom with my best friend, an old friend and two wonderful new friends, and that one is still ongoing, we play every Saturday night.

There were also some services rendered free or less expensive, such as a screen reader that I used to use but had stopped, who generously made their license free for a few months for those suddenly working from home and needing the same ease of access they got from work. Audible started putting out more free content. Lots of things like that began to happen, which was great for me. I just wish more of them were ongoing, but I appreciate that I got to have them for awhile.

So. As you can see, Lockdown Life was kind of a mixed bag. Bad bits but also, yes, good bits. Very few things in life are unrelentingly bad, you just sometimes need to go purposefully looking for the good.

As always, please be kind to those you encounter, and be kind to yourself.

Want to follow or interact with me on social media? Find me on Twitter by following @jennifermorash or head over to https://www.facebook.com/jennifermorashblog. I post blogs every Wednesday.

*(Here is the performance in which I am actually in the video, the first one I was only in the audio: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_0ckk-s0Ur8 – I love the “Happy” segment of that medley)

Things That Won’t Surprise Me In 2020

It’s been a crazy year so far. I mean, yes, the pandemic, but all the other things, too. Murder hornets. The government releasing and confirming UFO sighting videos (note: i mean the acronym literally, I’m not trying to tell you that aliens came a-calling, just that there were flying objects that could not be identified). Dust storms from the Sahara hitting the US. As I write this, there is not one but two potential hurricanes brewing in the Gulf of Mexico.

I think I’ve reached a point where my suspension of disbelief is at an all time high. So here’s a few things that, if they come across my news feed, might not make me do much more than shrug and continue on with my day.

Big Foot comes down out of the hills and wanders into Los Angeles. Just make sure the guy has a super sized mask and keeps six bigfeet away from everyone else, okay?

Psychotic Beavers on the rampage. Well. We already have murder hornets, what’s one more creature with a scary name? Watch out for the big teeth.

Atlantis rises from the sea. Someone should probably tell them to go back down for a few more years, though, until they don’t have to worry about quarantine.

First contact with aliens. Just because I told you that I wasn’t claiming this had already happened doesn’t mean that I’d be surprised if it did. Well. I might question their poor timing, but other than that, not so much.

Snowstorms in September. Actually. This one isn’t so far out there when you live in Nova Scotia. I’ve never seen it, but I think I’ve seen snow in June once. Either that, or I’m remembering a dream. Still, I wouldn’t be surprised, we’ve had some bizarre weather this year.

Tropical Christmas in Canada. Oh, wait, never mind, that one happened just a few years ago. AC and open windows and everything.

Lizard People take over world governments. I’m not naming names, but I can think of a few places where that sounds like an improvement.

My phone develops independant artificial intelligence. So long as it doesn’t try to tell me about 5G, scamdemics or other conspiracy theories, I’m okay with this.

Obviously, I’m kidding. Sort of. Mostly. Still, I have absolutely reached a point where news that might normally have struck me as being really noteworthy is just another thing on the pile. And I don’t even read the news religiously. What strange happenings would you fail to blink at? Let me know in the comments.

(Note: my mother told me to write this one after I made a wisecrack comment along the lines of the Bigfoot one. I was also instructed to inform you all that she told me to do it. This week is her birthday, so she’s getting what she wants.)

Be kind to yourselves, and be kind to those you encounter, even if they’re aliens, lizard people, psychotic beavers, Atlantians or a very confused sasquatch. And especially if they are your suddenly intelligent phone.

Want to follow or interact with me on social media? Find me on Twitter by following @jennifermorash or head over to https://www.facebook.com/jennifermorashblog. I post blogs every Wednesday.

Dear Me

Dear Me,

Hello from a year in your future. For you, it’s July 22, 2019. For me? It’s July 22, 2020.

I know you’re feeling a bit under the weather right now. All that stuff with your thyroid. Then that radiation treatment you just got. And right now, you’re feeling a bit sorry for yourself because you’re stuck in a two week long quarantine until you stop being radioactive. Actually, you’re feeling a lot sorry for yourself, stuck inside for two whole weeks. No work, no socialization, no going out.

Oh, you sweet summer child.

Okay, so, let’s start with the good news. The radiation is going to work. I mean. More or less. You’re not really done with this, you’re going to lose some hair, but in a few months they’ll get you onto the right medication, and it will be better. So that’s good, right? Oh. And don’t freak out too badly about the hair, it’s just a bit of thinning, it’ll grow back. A year from now, you’ll see that it’s not important or particularly worth fussing over.

Oh, and your writing career is going to go somewhere unexpected, but I won’t spoil the surprise for you. Just be prepared to go for any opportunity that pops up.

Aside from that, you’ll find the rest of 2019 kind of uneventful. Girl, you enjoy that uneventfulness. Just… just trust me, okay?

2020 sounds like such a great year, doesn’t it? You like to play D&D, and hey, that’s two critical rolls. You’ll even make that comment on New Year’s day. Well. I did. Maybe… don’t. Or don’t make too big a deal out of it, okay?

While I’m giving some advice, can I suggest stocking up on some toilet paper in, oh, mid-February? And hand sanitizer. Oh, and lysol wipes. You might also want to try to sock away a bit of extra money, if you can. But not in cash.

And maybe don’t make any big plans for the year. Especially travel related ones. But you could look into streaming apps that you haven’t tried yet. Only don’t sign up just yet if there’s any sort of free trial. Just, you know, be aware of it. Except Disney Plus, I know you won’t be able to wait on that one. Yes, it’s as awesome as you think it’s going to be.

Try to brace for change. But also kind of brace for monotony. Look. Just trust me on this stuff, okay?

Oh, I forgot something in the good news front. You actually find a new D&D gaming group. On Zoom! Oh, wait, you’ve never heard of Zoom, have you? Trust me, you’ll learn. Hey. You don’t have any spare funds for buying Zoom stock do you? Shame. I joke, I have no idea if they even have stocks. Also, you’re going to join a choir for the first time in over twenty years! So that’s fun, right? I mean. It’s also on Zoom, but it’s fun.

Listen, me, it’s kind of going to be a bit of a rough ride. You’re going to get used to some crazy stuff happening. A lot of it’s bad. Some of it is really bad. Things you never thought you’d live to see. Generation defining stuff. Some of it is super sad. Some of it is going to lead to some changes that the world needed to make, though.

So I guess you can ignore all the earlier advice and just go with this: be kind to people. Be kind to yourself. Kindness has never been more important than it is now. You might want to start reminding other people of that, too.

Hang in there. You’re going to make it through.

love,
Me

Want to follow or interact with me on social media? Find me on Twitter by following @jennifermorash or head over to https://www.facebook.com/jennifermorashblog. I post blogs every Wednesday.