Diary of a service-industry employee during a pandemic with Scott Baker

Almost three weeks into quarantine, a hue of warm feelings were beginning to settle in; Staycation can work if you focus on the positive that surrounds you. For me, family activities, the ability to create music, finish various projects, catch up on reading, and help get household things done, while finally having a chance to wake watching my twins grow stand out the most.

The list is actually endless from that viewpoint.

Feelings of isolation will never be the same for anyone, but it’s a feasible ideal. As we work together awaiting our return to society, I decided to take it day by day and listen to what moves me the most as I fill the gaps of a new ‘time’.

My nine-year-old twins have had a bit more difficulty in coming to understand the situation. FaceTime with friends and family, their classroom reach-out and pending daily ‘homework’ along with Zoom, not to mention daily trips down YouTube rabbit holes of endless head-scratching who-knows-what (usually related to gaming) help tremendously. For my wife and I, being able to interact with what they want to tackle has been a saving grace, be it family games, making music with Dad, art creations with Mom, or long walks with our new puppy. It’s a bit like molding and sculpting through a day at times, but will we ever get this opportunity of time with them again? At this age? We must enjoy it.

We still have ‘adventures’ as we like to call them, they just don’t currently include long road trips and dinner outside our home. For my son being a Scout, he has found on-line activities. For my daughter, her art classes have become home projects. Above all, they miss their friends, which depending on the day, can be heartbreaking to deal with.

Being laid off from my day job as a head cook, I am now able to tend to what I have always wanted to do most. I haven’t found myself physically and mentally drained at the end of the day, which is a blessing. I have been able to write and record music more often now as well as advance a few musical projects with that material in mind. I’ve been able to collaborate with new friends I’ve found through the web as well. Since I have been performing live music and releasing albums for over 20 years, this quarantine has been a new opportunity to perform from home, be it on my own website or Facebook page, or a world-wide interactive one where I’ve met some like-minded musicians. That’s something that I didn’t foresee happening.

As you are reading this, I’ve also been lucky enough to plug back into my degree and become a journalist again. A truly great, unexpected bonus.

Not being able to see my close friends, go to the gym with my buddy, and perform in front of crowds has been rough. The amount of interaction and the energy I get back from all of that is the greatest gift from what I have to offer.

My wife is responsible for many people as an owner of a salon and this has been a trying time for her. Getting straightened out with the unemployment agency, checking on the government small business loan situation, helping members of her crew stay on track, turning off the utilities, and finding help with bill-paying strategies have all been a task. And that’s just in between finishing out the school year as an aide. She is also now ‘masking-up’ to help pass out food to the community, helping clean the school out, and tearfully consoling with teachers and co-workers that have lost their remaining periods of class and instruction, partially turning what is normally a time of joy into sorrow. 

Her bright side comes in our twins, home projects, and long walks with her best friends while practicing social distancing. Silver linings are different for us all.

Outside of groceries and visits to the respective grandmothers of the twins, we are truly grounded. One day we ventured out and had the twins write birthday wishes and love messages with sidewalk chalk to our family and friends we couldn’t see. On another day, they all cut out various colored paper hearts to decorate our windows and door in support and love for everyone’s safety and COVID-19 responders, nurses, doctors and the like. Seeing pages set up on Facebook with different groups has been heartwarming. Every community, city, town, area and state seem to be finding a purpose in a helpless, somewhat purposeless quarantine situation.  

While listening to music and catching up on some movie time, we plan the daily meals, navigate the remaining time ahead, and make note of any deadlines, as the days seem to all run together.

  As we have helped flatten the curve of this pandemic, the quarantine makes me think some things will change as we are reintroduced into society. It’s not naive to think our home life, families, and lifestyles—which are at times a mere fraction of our typical work week—may now take on deeper emotional depth.

Learning to take needed family time, discovering or fully-realizing other energies or interests we possess may make us better as individuals. That positive energy echoes back into our neighborhood, our family, and in return to society at large. ‘Bringing it all back home’ has never had a deeper meaning in this generation or world timeline.

After all, we are truly all in it together.