Another day done, reasonably productively, so that’s good. I’d been concerned for a colleague who seemed to have slipped through the cracks in the vaccination program but was pleased to hear that they’d been successful in securing an appointment.
Perhaps unsurprisingly I seem to have gained a reputation, at least with my manager, for being able to help distressed colleagues. I’m more frequently being asked to check in on various people so I’m having to remember to maintain my boundaries and not carry things home.
Still, I’m doodling and plotting things for the next few games, so that’s a positive thing. Shenanigans are afoot.
Today’s been a bit odd, but positive. I was up early to go get my first vaccine shot and needed to get to the Harlequins Rugby Club which is the nearest centre.
I hadn’t slept well because I was worried about sleeping through my alarms, but that was fine because roadworks meant I was delayed and got there ten minutes late anyway. That said, nobody batted an eyelid.
From there it was a smooth conveyor belt of positivity from volunteers and staff alike, and I was soon headed back home, freshly stabbed. They gave me the Oxford AstraZeneca jab, by the way. The second dose is due at the beginning of June.
Since then? Tiredness and aching joints for the most part, but nothing more than annoyance level discomfort. Just feel out of sorts, and reminded of the illness I had about this time last year. So that’s a thing…
A year ago I was reading reports of some new virus that was starting to spread, and felt that we’d probably be okay if we were sensible. I never dreamed that a year on I’d be wearing a mask nearly all day as a key worker, and as of this morning breaking the news to staff that another colleague had lost a close relative to covid.
Sometimes I’m numb to it, sometimes I’m angry. I’m grabbing humour where I can find it. Sometimes I wish I could work from home, but most of the time I’m glad I can get out of the house. I remind myself I’m very privileged, even as I want to curl up and hide under the blankets.
But hey, someone yesterday asked to buy the original of one of my sketches, so that’s a nice thing.
I love the Great British Public, even when I could cheerfully be very rude back at certain individuals. I’m so proud of my restraint and professionalism this afternoon that I had a twenty minute rant about the incident during counselling this evening.
I had a young man come to the door and ask to use the computers. When I said I would need to book him in because we have to log people for track and trace purposes he started on a bizarre ramble about how it was time to stop with covid now. It wasn’t that bad and was now being used both as a method of control and a smokescreen to distract from Brexit.
I’m sure, while you unpick all that, you’ll be amazed that I limited my response to a brief statement that I would not be entering into any discussion about it with him and sorted out the access he needed.
I then had to send my Saturday staff elsewhere as he started creeping on them, and had to have a word about boundaries with him.
Repeat after me: the common sense of the British public will get us through this.
Within ten minutes of the announcement of Surrey going in to Tier 3 restrictions I had people coming in wanting to grab as many books as possible. They were afraid we were about to close our doors.
Thankfully I was in a position to be able to tell them that while they were very welcome to carry as many books as they could, we would be remaining open so they could relax. Our existing precautions and spaces, along with the fact we don’t serve food or drink meant we don’t need to alter the service we provide.
There was much relief, and slightly less worry as a result.
I have one more day of work and then I’m off until after Christmas. I feel I’ve earned the break.
We’ve been able to reopen the libraries for browsing by the public, so its nice to see that most of the requests this morning have been to use the photocopier. Given that yesterday we started the consultation phase for a new restructure, that may only be a moderately salty comment.
I read through the documentation, rushed through the seven stages of grief and then got on with the day because I’ve always found there’s two things that help put things in perspective: being actually very busy with customers and their enquiries, and the sudden and unexpected death of a colleague’s relative.
Compared to that, my minor grumps are very small beans indeed.
I had a brief chat today with a friend about how we’re each coping with everything going on, and how it is reported. We both agreed that we were each actively working on not letting ourselves get angry on a regular basis.
I went on to say that I was doing lots of focusing on being firm but kind with people that came in to the library, and helping where I can to at least make my small corner of the world less beastly.
What’s the alternative? Hopelessly screaming, shouting, and ranting is therapeutic to be sure, but helping keep everything stable for others helps me in the long run by requiring less sets of spoons to maintain after a while.
It just feels a lot of effort to be getting there. Being kind is full time work.
Lady M had to pop out this morning to drop some things to the post office, and then get some ingredients to do some baking. All things that sound innocuous enough, but when she returned, she was exhausted – and revealed that her stress levels had spiked so hard when getting to the supermarket that she’d had to stop and have a bit of a breather. This is not unlike the sort of conversations I’ve been having with staff this week.
The UK government decided to lower it’s pandemic severity rating from a 4 to a 3 this week, to catch up with the announcement the week before that it was going to recommend more places opening up. There are more than a few medical and clinical workers facepalming at the moment, but in truth it is a political decision as much as an interpretation of the highly contentious statistics of infections and deaths.
Lady M, like many of my staff, have obeyed the lockdown – in no small part because they’ve been working from home and so haven’t had the experience of seeing people getting used to the strange interpretations of social distancing and mask wearing that different people have been making. I’ve been able to get out and do grocery shopping while she’s been battling work issues so my usual internal grump is around the anticipation of queueing a while.
By comparison, Lady M has also had to battle the stark clash between media sources urging care and the reality of the Great British public who are worse than a bundle of cats for staying and doing what they’re told. I shall continue to bear this in mind as we work to get the libraries open safely for both staff and customers. On both sides we will have people who are rightly nervous on some level about accessing the buildings and the treasures they contain – and I hope we can maintain both understanding and kindness in the process.
I’ve carried on with doing risk assessments with my staff the last couple of days. If there’s been one common observation it has been the look of relief on people’s faces as I’ve let them into the building.
Many of them haven’t been far from their houses during lockdown – for a couple it was one of their first forays out of their house – but each of them visibly relaxed their shoulders and smiled as they re-entered the library and saw colleagues.
I don’t know about anything else, but those moments alone have made the effort of the last few days worth it.