Excursions

by Amit Gawande

How am I doing right now?

I recently came across this brilliant article at Quartz at Work suggesting to move beyond how are you doing?” and get more serious about the questions we’re asking our colleagues, friends, and family”. It presented a list of questions that one should lead with while talking to others.

I thought I will try and attempt to answer a few of these myself. Maybe you can give it a try too. And if you do, I would like to read how you are dealing with this challenging moment. Here’s my attempt.

How are you taking care of yourself today?

Listening to music — spending some time with myself. It’s been some time that I did that. I used to do that very often. Of course, it was a lot easier to find some lone time. Not that easy any more.

What part of your shelter-in-place residence have you come to appreciate the most?

The corner with my study table, I am happy that I spent some significant time designing it while I was renovating my home. And another room I like to go relax in now and then is the bathroom.

What surprising thing have you been stocking up on (that isn’t toilet paper)?

Body lotion — I do not know why, but I have got many of them now. And biscuits. I never knew I liked biscuits so much.

What’s a story — from a book, a movie, an article, a conversation — that you’ve been gripped by recently? Why did it capture you?

All the stories of sacrifices that get published every single day — when the humans have behaved just the way they should. It has been rare to read about recently.

What habit have you started, or broken, during the quarantine?

I have fallen out of the habit of writing the morning pages. I know I shouldn’t have. But for some reason, there isn’t much that’s different that every new day dawns with.

I have fallen into my old habit of listening to the music — lots of varied music.

I am not listening to podcasts. Or Audiobooks. I am reading lots of books.

Which specific place in your neighborhood are you most looking forward to visiting once this is all over?

Every part of the neighborhood. Everything that’s outside. That’s crowded. The streets. The restaurants.

What’s the easiest part about the quarantine?

Finding stuff to idle the time away with.

What are some things you have realized that you don’t really need?

Air conditioners. Cash.

What’s something you own that feels useful?

Internet. Kindle. Plants and Garden.

What is your COVID-19 nickname/alter-ego?

The chatty, social one. I have been part of many zoom meetings, few even those where I knew no one on the other side.

What problem—either yours, or something more global —do you wish you could solve?

Illiteracy. Stupidity. Rebelism.