Saturday 13 June 2020

The New Regime

A year ago or so I wrote a letter for work about my daily schedule. Apparently many readers enjoyed seeing what the ordinary life of an online journalist looked like. As I was studying German at the time, looking forward to a summer trip to Berlin,  it is now very out of date.

I have been writing up little timetables for myself since I was a teenager, and it was many years before I stopped, knowing that I never stick to them for long. If I met someone who kept the same schedule for a decade, let alone life, I would be in awe of them. I would be in awe of their efficiency. 

 But all that said, here is my new weekday, Covid-era, regime. 

1. Stagger out of bed between 7 and 8. (Hopefully closer to 7.)
2. Wash all dishes.
3. Make coffee while cleaning counters.
4. Put on bathrobe and shoes, go outdoors and check on plants. Remove feasting snails and slugs.
5. Drink coffee while A) checking email and headlines or B) reading something improving.
6. Half an hour studying Italian.
7. Half an hour studying Polish.
8. Researching stories for work. 
9. WORK until 1:30 or so. 
10. (Optional: lunch break. Lunch break activities include hanging up the laundry.)
11. WORK until 6 or 7. 
12. If I really do stop working at 6, go for government-approved exercise walk.
13. Supper.
14. Companionable film-or-show watching with Benedict Ambrose
15. Calling my parents on Skype. 
16. Reading something improving.
17. Gathering all dishes and putting them by the sink.
18. Reading something improving.
19. Bed. 

That's what the last week has looked like, anyway. Today is Saturday, so the staggering and dishwashing happened at 9 AM. Normally I hate waking up that late, as morning is my favourite time of day, but today I didn't mind. I have lots of time for language study, and language study is the activity in most danger of being squeezed out. 

Yesterday I was assigned a story about Poland, and I'm grateful I had returned to Polish studies, so that I didn't draw a complete blank when sending messages to contacts. Most of them are fluent in English, but not all. I sought help over the translation of Andrzej Duda's "Family Card" because, to be honest,  a solitary struggle with "Decydujący wpłw rodzicówna forme, i trześć zdjęć dodatkowych w szkołach" would have spent much of my time and many of my tears over my massive Polish dictionary. As it was, Duda and his Family Card took up most of my working day, and I worked an extra hour to finish a BLM story.  

I am pleased now to see that the Duda story has been shared on Facebook over 9 11 thousand times. Assuredly conservative journalists must not leave Poland to American liberals, for they can't read Polish and get the story from Poles of the far-left and/or they just seize on one thing and go crazy because the vast majority of Poland diverges ideologically from Western Europe and the New York Times. Naturally foreigners are trying to change this by sending thousands, if not millions, of dollars to the far-left Polish fringe. Curious how foreigners constantly lust over Poland at the expense of the Poles. 

Speaking of foreign agendas, I was asked if I thought Rod Dreher (who vastly offended a friend of mine by judging Polish Catholicism by what he was told during a trip to Warsaw) had an agenda when he went there. 

"Yes, but a benign one," I said and then pondered if I have an agenda myself. To be frank, I don't think I have the mental space for much an agenda in Poland besides getting from A to B without getting lost, making a fool of myself, or falling into a dark pool of self-hatred for getting a noun declension wrong. 

I had the mother of all meltdowns on my way to my god-daughter's Lower Silesia christening while squashed into a car with the British choir and a Polish-American ex-Marine. The ex-Marine was leading me through the Apostles Creed in Polish, which I knew, but couldn't rattle through as fast as, e.g., the ex-Marine. I was the only woman in the car, and I completely let the side down by ranting that this had been a terrible mistake and I should never have agreed, etc. I seem to recall the men making suitably supporting remarks, but looking back on it now, it is a pity Polish Pretend Son wasn't there, for he loves drama. In the end, of course, Córka Chrzestna yelled so loudly during the Apostles Creed that nobody could tell if I knew it in Polish or not. 

If I have an agenda it's to revel in Polish uniqueness and singularity, and so the greatest temptation is to ignore the ways in which Poland is similar to the rest of Western Europe. There are, for example, Starbucks outlets in the major cities. 

In gardening news, this morning I caught a slug in the very act of eating the heart out of one of our lettuce plants. I poked fiercely at it, and it was slimy. Ugh. However, I was cheered by the discovery that my broad beans have fruited, so there will be fresh broad beans with supper tonight. 

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