Flexing Haircut 100

So, yesterday I caught myself flexing on the lady givin’ me a $25 haircut.  Afterward, I walked out of the place and while driving home, examined a strange, yet familiar, feeling like something was wrong…(I’m a bit slow about these things)  Then it hit me “OMG I was totally rude to the lady who cut my hair!”

“WHY?”  I screamed to the mountains!
“WHY?”  I yelled to the sea!

The selfie I sent my friend when she asked to see my hair cut, “–nah, its OK..”

During this serious shitstorm of a time in history WHY would I flex during a standard life interaction with another human?  Here is what happen…  We started to share how the lockdown had effect us and compared notes.  I basically bragged about how fortunate I was that BOTH my jobs were essential and how incredibly busy I’ve been.  Then I handed the talking stick to her and she blew my mind.  She is in her early 30s, newly married.  Found out she was pregnant in March. Lost her job in March.  She filed for unemployment.  Received about two months’ worth when it stopped with no notice.  She called in an inquiry, the state said she did not qualify for unemployment and would have to pay all of it back.  She protested their decision. This resulted in her having to defend herself in court.  She won. Now the judge has ordered that the unpaid 6 weeks of unemployment be sent to her asap, which hopefully will arrive by mid-July.

“I’m all stressed out with the baby, my job, stupid unemployment being all messed up, and this virus thing. It’s horrible.”

Now, hourly pay at Supercuts Hair Salon ranges from an average of $8.10 to $13.36 an hour.  Let’s say she worked 28 hours a week because those cheap-ass companies don’t want to pay their workers health care so they keep them under 36 hours.  …and let’s guess she is making about $11.00 an hour, that’s $1848 gross, with 10% taken out for taxes that’s a check for $1664.  That is some hard-earned cash!  (BTW, this is the third time a person has shared a similar story with me about their unemployment payments being denied.  WTH Washington?) The only saving grace for the haircutter was that her husband’s job is considered essential and he has worked through the whole lockdown, keeping them barely housed and fed.

So here I was getting my haircut for the first time since November 2019, waltzing into Supercuts thinking I am a boss. Sons of the bitch!  This was rude.  I didn’t even think about how rude until my drive home.  Perhaps an evil side of my sub-conscious drove that whole event.  Perhaps I was forgetting when I was a new mom and we couldn’t freakin’ afford a gallon of milk!  I couldn’t buy new clothes for my kids.  We couldn’t even afford for me to go to work, in town–because we only had one car–and due to the cost of daycare!   I’ve been there.  Really I have.  Also, I’ve stood in the company with affluent upper-middle-class people who assume everyone in the room is like them. Going on and on about vacations, new cars, private yoga sessions, and seeing their doctor, one flex after the other.  Felt their words grind up against my reality.

Yes, I do feel like I’ll need a vacation after lockdown.  I’ll be honest.  But I must always use my words carefully.  I can’t control what others do, but I can control what the heck comes out of my mouth! Each home is having a different experience during this difficult time.  Please learn from my mess up.
Be kind to each other.

Day 43: Negative

Shower Thoughts: It’s adorable we thought 2016 was a terrible year because about 40 famous people died.  

People are comparing 2020 to other years.  Is this the worst?  Maybe.  On a global scale, I would have to say “YES.”  The economic damage worldwide is like nothing we’ve seen.  The extreme pressures on a household to survive AND keep healthy is felt on every block.

Last week I took the COVID-19 test.  It came back negative.  I work with tenants, some of who are high risk for the virus.  Whatcom County has opened up testing for workers like myself.  After announcing the results, a co-worker mentions, “you are negative as of last Wednesday.” Gulp!  What the heck?  We’d need to be tested every day or week?   Wait, is there a Fit-bit app for this? The antibody blood test is what I am really interested in.  I’ve met many people, who, like myself, suspect that they had the virus between the months of January-March before the lockdown began.

Lockdown fatigue is noticeable.  Irritability leading to miscommunication is not uncommon especially with email messages, even video meetings.  I like the philosophy that it is a time of grace and space.  To give it out quickly and in love, to the folks we interact with.  Everyone’s situation is different.  It is easy for me to imagine that a small percentage of my neighbors have 3 to 6 months worth of monthly income saved up in the bank.  Desperate times.  The weight is too much to bear.

I wrote this poem three years ago.  Thinking about it today, looking at my “Apocalypse Shelf”

Apocalypse Pantry
by Shannon P. Laws

I have found the warm caves in the woods
filled them with boxes of mac n’ cheese
tuna fish cans and cheap scented candles
Innumerable goods
A possessed witch is misunderstood
no matter how frugal
I am such a witch
waved my nude arms at the townspeople
walked the streets, survived the shrinking dollar
I have been her kind

 

Here is my current mood expressed by meme.  Take care and be kind. -Shannon

 

Day 30: Zoom Fatigue

Yesterday, Washington State entered its 4th week of lockdown.  On Tuesday, March 24th our governor declared that everything but essential businesses close and for citizens to shelter in place TFN.  Weeks prior folks and businesses started to practice social distancing.

So here we are.  What can we say?  What can we do?  We can stay creative, read more, exercise, work if we have it.  I heard of a new sensation called “Zoom Fatigue”.

Your screen freezes. There’s a weird echo. A dozen heads stare at you. There are the work huddles, the one-on-one meetings, and then, once you’re done for the day, the hangouts with friends and family.  Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, we’re on video calls more than ever before – and many are finding it exhausting…”
Being on a video call requires more focus than a face-to-face chat, says Petriglieri. Video chats mean we need to work harder to process non-verbal cues like facial expressions, the tone and pitch of the voice, and body language; paying more attention to these consumes a lot of energy. “Our minds are together when our bodies feel we’re not. That dissonance, which causes people to have conflicting feelings, is exhausting. You cannot relax into the conversation naturally,” he says

Do you think you might have ill feelings for a person with slow internet?  A study says yes, yes you are judgemental.

Silence is another challenge, he adds. “Silence creates a natural rhythm in a real-life conversation. However, when it happens in a video call, you became anxious about technology.” It also makes people uncomfortable. One 2014 study by German academics showed that delays on phone or conferencing systems shaped our views of people negatively: even delays of 1.2 seconds made people perceive the responder as less friendly or focused.

This is a time of grace, allowing people more space, more time.  Be kind to the folks you encounter during your day.  I’m learning, a little kindness goes a long way right now.

Here is a poem from my first book Madrona Grove

WINK*

Morning sunlight, sun low stretch shadows long,
twinkle through the branches
that sway in the current, bath me, please
Stronger the light
Harsher the dark
Sun cannot be everywhere
nature’s landscape prevents it
God made or not

Crow flies by
nods it’s head
as if it remembers me
Your life so simple Crow
Please brood over my features
A wink when you fly by will let me know
They are fixed in your mind

The Sun may not always find me
Yet your wings move you amongst the penumbras
and illumination
Your nod,
Crow, brings me comfort for somewhere, by someone
I am remembered
####

My current mood expressed in a meme.  Take care of yourself, be kind to all.  -Shannon


“The reason Zoom calls drain your energy”, By Manyu Jiang22nd April 2020
https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20200421-why-zoom-video-chats-are-so-exhausting?fbclid=IwAR3Qmi_9rA7gRAfYb_AIQhjVVksWuAoBlwWqJB5MeyYhSZG2nnqC-AyNHho

*Copyright 2020 Laws, Shannon. Madrona Grove: Poems Written Under the Canopy. Chickadee Productions. Kindle Edition.