Friday, Mar. 20, 2020 - 8:28 pm.
The first case of COVID-19 in this city arrived over the weekend: A rich, white dudebro who knew he had the virus but had a destination wedding to attend. Andrew and I found out about this quickly because his best friend's girlfriend was on the flight with him. She and her partner went on lockdown as soon as she found out, and thankfully they're doing OK, no symptoms in sight.
Andrew and I have not left the apartment since last Sunday, except to go to the supermarket, twice. No toilet paper was needed in neither trip, luckily. The first time around, on Monday, it was madness, people panic-buying whatever they could get their hands on. We were there just to buy fruit, lucky us we'd gone grocery shopping a few days earlier. We went today again, and the supermarket had a lot of preventive measures, which was good. We went very early so we didn't have to stand in line waiting for our turn to get in.
The university closed on Tuesday. Our adoption meeting for Thursday got postponed until April 6th, to which I say fair enough. We still haven't gotten the results of the postdoc funding application, but my boss is enforcing plan B (I do think it's plan A now) and she's been setting up a post for me at uni. I even had a psycho-labour interview over Skype yesterday. It went well, I think. The post is tailored for me, but I still have to shine and show my boss that I'm worthy of all the support she's providing me.
I did panic a bit early this week because she smokes a lot. Just the past few weeks I'd been thinking that all my work stability is due to me being her protégée. Nobody else in this uni would even look at me, let alone keep me around, if she was gone. I'm sorry, I don't want to sound heartless. know it's a terrible thing to think of her health in terms of my job. I care a lot about her as a person, and I hope she remains safe and healthy. She's so smart, and hard-working, and fair; I look up to her. But it's true, I don't know where I'd be without her.
All the more terrible it is to think about this considering that waiting for the postdoc grant results cost Andrew a job. He was waiting for these results to either take or pass an academic post in another university. The results didn't came this week (they were supposed to be announced on the 13th), so he didn't get in touch with the person at the other uni. He did today, fed up with waiting and with how his stupid alma mater works, and learned that this uni has just stopped hiring for the time being due to the pandemic.
He's broken. I'm frustrated and angry at how his university has always exploited him, underpaid him. It's like an abusive relationship he can't quit because he has nowhere else to go. This one time a way out comes along, he holds out on a possibility of his uni, and then this uni doesn't even respond. I wanted him to take the other post and just leave behind his postdoc application (which we're both very likely not to win), just tell his uni to suck it, but I didn't say anything because that was his choice to make, not mine.
Yes, of course, now I wish I'd said something. I'm heartbroken for him, but there's nothing I can do. If anything, the two of us got undergrad thesis groups to supervise from a third uni, so perhaps that could help him focus on doing something of his interest. But the whole of academia jobs is just so precarious and nearly inhuman.
Other stuff going on with me:
- Self-isolation and lockdown has yet to get to me. I'm used to spending days without leaving the house and without talking to people. I have no complaints.
- I have the contract ready to publish my book(!), but I have to make a payment in euros (yes, I know, but that's how it goes for nobodies like me) and getting around that is taking time, specially during the pandemic. I wrote the person I've been in touch with to let her know that's why I haven't sent the signed contract, and I received a very human response from her, sharing how bad things were in Spain. That was reassuring in more than one way.
- It turns out I have a shit-ton to do, and thus all the better for me to stay home:
* I have a column that I was sort of asked to write for the digital newspaper. And by the way, my poor editor is in a shelter, isolated and in quarantine. She was on her way to our home country when our home country went on lockdown.
* Brother #3 and I are carrying out a small study of mental health during the pandemic in our country.
* I have to prepare the materials the publisher needs to get my book going, besides the contract and the payment.
* I'm also re-reading my manuscript, yet again, tweaking some words before I submit it to the publisher for proofreading (which must be like cleaning up the house so that the cleaning lady you hired won't find a mess).
* I have comic strips that I'm hopelessly compelled to write.
* I received feedback on a manuscript from my PhD thesis that I submitted to a journal. It was finally well received! They sent minor corrections so hopefully I can submit the revision in the upcoming days.
* I should prepare for my thesis groups, too. They were to help me if I won the postdoc grant, but since it seems that isn't happening, I have to see if they can do some preliminary work on the measures I want to take. Psh, who needs funding to do research (kidding. Give me money, please).