Today is my last day at my day job. I’ve worked there for 12 years–most of my professional life. Had COVID not come along, I’d work there still. There was nothing personal about the layoff. It’s just one of those things that happened because of the pandemic.
I’ve made my peace. And I’m not the type of person that can stay sad–or at least, not only sad. This has been a tough year. I’m up to four dead relatives since April. Yet compared to many, I’ve been fortunate. Our family has enough food to eat and I’m sitting inside a warm house. There are people who love me and tell me so. I write things that people want to read.
On average, I’m overwhelmed with gratitude for all the wonderful things in my life. And it’s rather poetic to end a career the day after the winter solstice. Things will literally get brighter from here on out.
And speaking of brighter things, watching footage of people getting vaccinated last week made me happy. So happy that it sent me into a dream sequence. What is a dream sequence, you ask? This thing I’m about to share with you right now. This flash fiction piece has nothing to do with remote work so if you don’t like frivolity feel free to skip to the next subheading.
Absurdist Fictional Interlude: I Dream of Vaccine-y
When it’s my turn to get the vaccine, my phone rings with the Mission Impossible theme song. A vaccinated Laurence Fishburne steps out of the bushes dressed as Morpheus and says “Get on it, my light brown sista!”
I reach for my car keys only to discover that I’m dressed in a leather duster and black combat fatigues. My hair is perfect. I slide into the window of my sportscar like a Duke of Hazard and tear out of the parking lot, Boss Hog hot my tail.
Traffic parts for me. I’m a one-woman police motorcade. Boss Hog gets stuck behind a downed taco truck, his shouts fading like cigar smoke as I speed away.
I pull right up to the steps of the clinic and flip my car keys to the vaccinated valet. We’re at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. A vaccinated nurse in 80’s workout attire hands me a form, then I jog up the stairs to the Rocky song. Despite the leather coat and months of couch-surfing, I fly up the steps like Olympian marathoner Eliud Kipchoge.
The shot burns like freedom. It opens a portal to a new location, where I’m at the head of a Soul Train line. James Brown sings Get Up Offa That Thing. Vaccinated octogenarians dressed like candy stripers boogie on either side as I dance until I feel better. This is a three-month process. At the end of the train, I get a purple wristband with the word ‘Vaccinated!’ printed in sparkles. I join a congo line of the newly vaccinated, and we dance to the nearest bar, where we cram ourselves into a karaoke room and sing until the sun goes down.
Things I’m Working On
I have two major writing projects. One of them is a book of personal essays about my time during COVID. Many of those are in first draft status. The other is the business book I talked about in my last post. I won’t have the outline done by end of the month, but I’ve decided I’m going to take a month or two to focus on the book before becoming an employee again.
This has been a big year for my writing. I submitted roughly 32 pieces out to 104 publications, and 26 of them were published. That doesn’t count writing on the blog or writing the keynote speeches I’ve given this year either. Nor the single-panel cartoons I’ve collaborated on.
This is why I keep a spreadsheet. I was feeling a little inadequate the other day–feeling like I hadn’t written as much as I wanted to write this year. But really, that’s just the inner mean voice talking. I took a look at that spreadsheet and told that voice to go take a hike. If you suffer from the same mean voice, maybe try keeping lists so you, too can throw data at it.
What’s That Douglas Up To?
I was on the Gifters Podcast in early December. This podcast asks guests to share a succinct gift with the world. We talked about remote work (for about 10 minutes), and managing interruptions from children.
I also wrote a bunch of different things, not all of which have been published yet. My fearless dog columnist Aggie is back in Good Girl, Aggie! (No3). I heard the phrase ‘twat waffle’ in a runner’s forum a few years back, and I’ve wanted to use it ever since. Aggie gave me that chance.
Right around Thanksgiving a squirrel got drunk on some fermented pears in Wisconsin, and fellow comedy writer Susan Sassi and I paired up to write I am Lil’Red, the Squirrel that got Drunk in Minnesota, and I need to Clear My Name. Someone asked me to describe our writing process for this one, and the best I could come up with was “a Google doc free for all.” We wrote it in 34 minutes, and then spent hours editing it. It was big fun.
This is Probably the Last Blog Post for the Year
If 2020 has taught me anything, it’s to hug my people while I can. My kids are on winter break and my husband’s workload is light. We’re going to eat cinnamon rolls, beat the crap out of a piñata, and enjoy each other’s company. We have fake mustaches and we aren’t afraid to use them.
The next installment of the blog will come out around Thursday, January 7th. Before I take my break I want to say thanks for reading the blog. I wish good things for you. I can’t wait to see what we all do in 2021.