Part-Time Job Return: Sartorially Awkward Anyone?

Ah, yes. The pursuit of the almighty dollar. Even your humble blogger, a progressively-leaning, socially distant, chardonnay-swilling, Dr. Fauci-loving, and about whom the six of you out there know and love: yes, me! I too couldn’t resist the opportunity join the rest of the maddening crowd and dip my toes back into the ‘ol workplace. Blame it on herd mentality; it seems we all have a price.

I went back to work last week.

Well, I should be a little more transparent: I went back to a job that puts a few shekels in my wallet for “walking around” money, plus takes care of the odd utility bill.

As the coronavirus’ first wave shut everything down this past spring, so too did my part-time job. I maintain lawbooks at some area law firms.

A key part of my early-retirement strategy was to find a job that would help defray enough of our living expenses where I wouldn’t have to touch any of my retirement savings. Well, that and also my lovely wife’s insistence that she have at least one day of the week with me out of her hair. Charm only gets you so far in a marriage.

But starting in mid-March, that job abruptly stopped. I instead became a couch potato-cum-armchair epidemiologist. One has to adapt.

We are fortunate. I remind myself of that daily. Millions remain out of work and are struggling to make ends meet. But we have thankfully been able to meet our obligations and also have food on the table, and plenty also in the cupboards. I’ve been donating regularly to a local food bank since April and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future (btw, you can find one in your area by clicking here).

As I said, we are very fortunate: I receive my pension annuity on the first of every month. Gorgeous continues to work full-time from the comfort of her home office, and she has experienced only a 30% decline in her business. She considers herself lucky. We are both lucky.

I thankfully haven’t felt much of an impact with the missing earnings from my job. Nearly all of our discretionary spending (i.e. restaurant meals, gas, etc.) for the most part ceased during those early months of the pandemic. Except for groceries, we actually spent less money.

Well. I speak mostly for myself on that point. Someone else in the home is exceedingly grateful for a stable Internet connection.

Source: CNBC

But as more and more businesses have reopened in our state, I received a recent query from one of my accounts asking if I was interested in returning to work. Shipments of lawbook updates apparently had been piling up, and they wondered if I was comfortable enough to venture in and get the library current again. Conveniently, it was mentioned that a majority of the firm staff remain working from their homes, which means that I’d have to be around very few people.

I read the email aloud to Gorgeous, who at that moment was next door to me sitting in her office. I asked for her thoughts.

There was no response, but I swear I could hear faint whispering.

Source: Giphy.com

My only great concern was to make sure that I could stay within six feet of everyone. My work in these offices is nearly all solitary and without much interaction with others, but for an occasional brief conversation with someone. There is, however, a tiny bit of lawbook material located in attorney offices, so I decided to ask for guidance and reassurance about that specific aspect. I got it from a secretary who wrote me back with the following: “I think it will be fine. If you just wouldn’t mind wearing a mask when walking the halls and entering the offices. I have copied my crew so they will know you will be coming by.”

Perfect. We’re good. I’m ready to do my part in restarting the working economy.

Traffic was extremely light on the I-95 leading to Jacksonville, and I arrived at my usual parking lot in record time. While walking to the job, I bumped into an administrator for another firm I also support (Hi, A.). It was good to see her, and we socially distanced with a bit of a “how’ve you been doing?” conversation. She mentioned that material is piling up at her office too, and that only a small percentage of staff are presently returning to the workplace. She said would rattle the cages to see about my restarting work there.

CHA-CHING!Federal Reserve Chairman Powell on line three, please.”

I ended up working a full eight hours that day and still couldn’t finish with the backlog. Just as I had been told beforehand, there was very little staff present. Those with whom I did come into contact remained at a safe distance.

Most of the time, I worked in my usual private area, which in turn allowed me to remove my mask. The only confusing moment was when I went to the men’s room while wearing said mask, and I got into a brief conversation with someone. I realized I had no idea who the man was, yet he seemed to know me; I know this because he said, “Hi, Marty,” which I think is a pretty good indicator of recognition. He might have been an attorney, a paralegal, or a custodian. I really have no idea because unfortunately my glasses were completely fogged up and rendered me unable to make out any of his facial features. It dawned on me later that this might make our next family get-together more palatable (wearing a mask that is, not meeting in a bathroom).

Feeling full of accomplishment for the first time in weeks, I later arrived home with a purposeful gait and a heightened sense of joie de vivre. As we sat for evening cocktails, I regaled Gorgeous with amusing and interesting anecdotes about my day. G-d love her, my bride wore the earnest expression of a woman who has total interest in her librarian man.

Which mask did you wear with that shirt?,” she asked during one of my infrequent pauses. “Um, the one I usually wear,” I responded. “[audible sigh] You have a solid one, green even,” she said. “Why didn’t you wear that one? You clashed horribly.

There’s still much we still don’t know about the coronavirus. States such as Florida, which probably opened up too early, are now seeing a rise in infection numbers. This is a concern for health officials who are monitoring for a likely second wave. It remains crucial to practice physical distancing if you do go back to work. Continue to wash your hands frequently too.

But most important, take it from me: think hard about how you accessorize.

Until next time…

28 thoughts on “Part-Time Job Return: Sartorially Awkward Anyone?

  1. Congrats! To Gorgeous, that is!HA!
    And as a librarian, you’re well used to squirreling away working amidst stacks of books which don’t require being any social distance from themselves or you! Sounds like a good situation for these times.
    Enjoy your new ‘freedom status’ and getting paid for it to boot!
    😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh My Gosh, Marty, Can I quote you to my husband “…she have at least one day of the week with me out of her hair.” My husband does not really ‘get it’ despite considerable communication. I love him, he is wonderful, and I don’t want to hurt his feelings, but…..(you obviously hit a nerve)🙂

    Despite weaving in some serious topics, you did make me smile, as you always do, Marty. We have some serious concerns around here, too, with slowly lifting restrictions. Most of us have been adhering to the “rules” with good results. Yet, we are beginning to see two sets of rules. A complicated topic with a simple solution for another post. Unfortunately, many of us are expecting a second wave.

    I do believe Gorgeous has total interest in her librarian man. Especially when your mask coordinates with your shirt. In the meantime, I will work on Mr. Charming.🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad to be of service, Erica. I’m starting to think of a new sideline involving techniques for brief spousal separations of up to two hours. The men will learn hamburgers, French fries, or cold hard cash are rewards for these temporary moments. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  3. debscarey

    I chuckled (as ever) and am reminded of yet another reason to be grateful I wear contact lenses instead of glasses. I do actually wear reading glasses these days (of course – who doesn’t?!), but they’re hardly necessary for visiting the facilities 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Tammy Horan Bloor

    LOL, Iove the clashing mask!! I’m in the office about 3 days a week and only need to use my mask when I’m in the common areas because I have a single office with a door. Still, my glasses are always fogging up and it’s annoying. I hope that Gorgeous has gotten your office all done with fresh paint!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hehehe congrats!! Over here they are planning to redo the roads and taking away car parks so everyone can ride their bikes on a bicycle path.
    I work in a hospital and we don’t wear masks. I don’t wear it out either. In fact I don’t own one. Lately there’s lots of people around. If I see the tram getting crowded I hop off and walk. I try to keep away from the crowds as if I get sick I can’t work.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Good on you for getting back out into the workforce, Marty. I am proud of you for being vigilant with the social distancing and mask wearing. Who would have guessed that the face mask would become the new fashion accessory? Enjoy your extra cash!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I always find your posts amusing, but the “Hi Marty” in the men’s room almost made me spit out my coffee. I’m happy to report that I’ve returned to my volunteer duties, equipped with mask and hand sanitizer. It’s very nice to get out of the house a bit, isn’t it? Sounds like you’ll be in high demand for a while.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tracey, while we are always glad to know our posts amuse, I must make the following declaration: “This blog is not responsible for coffee stains on carpets!” 😉 Good to know that you’ve returned to your volunteer activities. I’m sure the organizations are glad to have you. Yes, it *is* nice to get out again and feel useful!

      Like

  8. Congrats on rejoining the working world. At the height of a pandemic. While wearing mismatched clothing. You do keep it interesting. Whether that’s be design or accident is difficult to know. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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