Things I've learned about myself during the pandemic

You and I probably metabolize coffee the same way. Years ago, on an average day I literally drank nothing but coffee - 9 or 10 cups (mugs, actually) a day. But once in a while I’d be somewhere I couldn’t get my joe, and I’d go a day or two without.

During a thorough health exam, my internist found this out and was kind of incredulous: “really? You drink that much coffee on a daily basis but when you skip you don’t get horrible headaches?”

A few months ago I read about some genetic research showing that different people metabolize coffee differently: IIRC, there are fast metabolizers and slow metabolizers. The latter experience coffee much more dramatically, because it is in their systems much longer.

While I can’t say for sure, my assumption is that I am a very fast metabolizer and that’s why I can vary my coffee consumption dramatically with no repercussions. My son is the same way, incidentally - he usually drinks a lot of coffee but doesn’t notice a big difference when he doesn’t.

A friend of my Wife’s got a subscription to the dinner box thing, and gave us a free coupon to try it. It is pretty good. But I’m torn. The amount of waste produced from all the packaging is quite a bit. And I’m very concerned about UPS trying to get to my house in the winter, It’s hard enough to get here in the summer. We got 8 inches of snow last Tuesday. And we are the only people that live on our road, so the county plows us last, if at all.

I kind of like the idea of mixing things up a bit. I guess we do get in a bit of a rut of what we cook. We don’t normally go out to eat very often, so COVID hasn’t changed our eating habits in that regard.

Had goat cheese stuffed chicken breast with cranberries last night from the dinner box thing. It was quite tasty.

I think it could be fun to get 4-8 meals a month, just to break things up a bit. But what a waste (the packaging, the remote delivery and so on)

This knowledge has saved me a lot of money. I realized that Costco usually has a premium or even midrange brand that I can live with very well.

That, combined with the new realization that I actually don’t need to spend the morning blasting my brain with a thousand milligrams of caffeine. That’s just a thing I did to achieve concentration on mentally heavy tasks, in a loud open office, with 2 Slack chats going full bore.

I’m no longer in the loud open-plan office, and interestingly there are fewer Slack messages. Turns out people were using Slack as an adjunct to in-person communication because the office was too fucking loud to have a 1:1 conversation without booking a meeting room (which are always booked for a 0:1 meeting, shockingly).

This, but without the pleasure or enjoyment.

Interesting. We have a large office with big cubes that have 5’6" walls. The cubes are about 90 sq. ft. or so. So nearly an actual office. It was very quiet. The co-worker that I work closest with (physically and work related) is sort of a mumbler though. And I (hard of hearing) always had a hard time hearing her.

Now, using Slack, we can communicate much better, even though we are 25 miles apart.

In fact, we are all getting to know each other better, but haven’t seen one of them in 7 months. It’s sort of strange. But I like it.

This is hard for me to understand. In my open-plan office, at certain times the background noise is so bad I have a hard time conducting a conversation with the person sitting 18 inches from my elbow with no barrier. There’s no way I could understand a mumbler. It seems like if one of us had a cubicle, then we could just huddle up together and get on the same page. That’s what I’d want, anyway.

I also don’t understand why this is harder for me. My hearing tests well for my age, and I don’t notice any impairments. I have a decibel meter app on my phone, the environment is always at least 60dB, usually 64, with occasional gusts up to 70. IMO that’s pretty fucking loud when people are supposed to be working in sustained concentration mode.

I used to get mumble mumble enipla mumble enipla from the other cube. I’d always have to visit her cube to understand her and see what was up.

Now, I get direct written questions that I can read, absorb, test, and respond to. We have big cubes, but still a bit hard to look over someones shoulder and figure out what they are talking about while looking at their screens. I was always coming in in the middle of a book. I would much rather get a succinct question of a problem, the app, database issue or whatever, where the heck it is, and who it effects. Then, I can duplicate it on my own machine to troubleshoot.

I’ve learned I actually would be happy staying home for at least several months, possibly longer than that. I’ve also learned that this makes me weird, and that this would probably not apply to over 99% of people.

Nothing weird about it. It’s home. I’ve made it where I want to be. Sure we travel,and we love it. But are always glad to get back home.

Be it an apartment in the city or acres in the country. Everyone should be able to make home where they want to be. It’s a wonderful thing.

The mask muffle might have something to do with it but people are better at reading lips than they realize. I remember watching the 1988 winter Olympics on time-shifted VHS (remember those?) and the Women’s figure skating finals with Witt, Manley, and Thomas, 1, 2, 3, on the medal platform chatting among themselves as they waited for the medals to arrive. It seemed kind of animated and I wondered what they were talking about.

Then after the games the news came out that Thomas was engaged to be married. I still had the tape and with that clue found the spot, and had no trouble. Manley leaned behind Witt and said to Thomas, “Congratulations on your engagement.” Witt got this surprised look on her face and said, “Oh, really? When?” Thomas shot Manley a look and said, “About a month after the games, but don’t tell anyone – it’s supposed to be a secret.”

As I wrote in more detail on another thread, I learned that what I love about Scotch vs. other whiskys/whiskeys isn’t the peat (though I like that too) but the barley. Other than that, I guess I learned that I know myself pretty well, because this has sucked exactly as much as I would’ve predicted, and for the exact reasons I would’ve cited if I’d known what was coming.

I was already working remotely almost exclusively so that part hasn’t changed for me - ut I gotta agree with those who say that staying isolated because I want to is very different from doing it because I have to.

I’ve never thought of myself as an impulsive person, but I’ve learned that I do really miss the ability to go out for a quick shopping trip or whatever is something I took for granted.

Hearing speech / masks: Ooooooh yeah. I often have to have people repeat themselves - not that I’m face-to-face all that often, but when doing things like a grocery store pickup. I’ve actually quipped for years that I can’t hear as well without my glasses and I think there truly is a bit of unconscious lipreading going on. When I had my eyes fixed in 2018, that wasn’t an issue - but then masks made it an issue again,

I retired in August 2019. This really wasn’t how I had planned to spend my active retirement years.

I’ve learned that I can drink a whole bunch and not fall off the steps after dark while yelling at a skunk. Of course, I had to start working up to that, but practice makes perfect.

I’ve learned that its better to start with a few drinks of the good stuff and then move to the cheap stuff cause I don’t care anymore.

I’ve learned that starting the morning with coffee mead and then moving on to red bull and vodka is a really bad idea if you plan to do anything after about 2 pm, even if your plan is to drink all day.l

I’ve learned that not only can I out stubborn a feral cat, I can train a spider to come when called. (Not really, it just comes to the top of its tunnel when it feels/hears me come out and whack a grasshopper. The freshly dead grasshoppers get flung into its web and I get to watch a spider do its thing for a while).

I also have not been drinking nearly as much coffee as I was before, but that’s probably just the retirement.

That’s adorable. The spider trained you to hunt for it.

Bet it brags to all its spider buddies down at the bar about how it has a semi-feral human all trained. Like those YouTube videos of people who’ve somehow befriended a lion.

Another thing I’ve learned.

I will not die from hunger if I wait until 9:00 to eat breakfast. I have always been able to do this on the weekends, but never on the weekdays. I get up at 5:30-6:00 am on weekdays, so pre-pandemic it seemed logical to eat shortly afterwards before leaving for work, whether I was hungry or not… Because that way I could be full of energy and focus as soon as I got to work…and also be pleasant to people, not being hangry and all.

But now that I’ve been working from home, I have come to the realization that I don’t feel hungry until 9:00. Since I don’t have to be pleasant to anyone but my cat, why not wait till then? I don’t know if fasting for 12 hours has had a positive effect on my metabolism, but I’m finding it a lot easier to do than I thought it would be.

Spider doesn’t go to bars anymore, she went once and got knocked up, so now she’s staying home and spinning a nursery.

I tossed a grasshopper at the edge of the web just to take a look at spider. She waddled out and spun silk around the offering, then squeezed herself back down the tunnel.

Its very possible that I will seriously regret feeding spider. She might not send her spiderlings out into the world because the world is not very safe and there is a trained human right here. At this point in the pandemic, watching baby spiders sounds much more fun than watching Netflix or whatever.

I’ve experienced something like this as well. Been experimenting with not eating unless I’m just straight-up deadass very hungry. I get down to 1-2 meals a day, saved a few hundred dollars, lost 8 pounds (I could stand to lose 45 more TBH). The general apathy and listnessness has been a godsend in this regard, sometimes I get hungry and just don’t give a shit about anything except coffee.

Just as a few of you have said that there’s a difference between staying home because you want to and staying home because you have to … my experience is that the less I can do, the less I want to do. I used to have something or other going on at least several times a week. Book club, gym, yoga, hiking, running to the mall, meetings before or after work, out to lunch or dinner, movies and plays and the Moth and travel … and I used to feel like, “Life’s too short to sit on the couch.” Go, go, go, sometimes just for the sake of doing something. But once all of that running around wasn’t possible … I felt totally comfortable with it. I don’t miss it at all. I’ll get busy again when things ramp back up, but I’ve had enough distance now to realize what I actually enjoy doing and what I don’t. Life’s too short to do things you hate, too.

This is absolutely adorable. How have you not started a thread about her yet @JaneDoe42 ? I bet Dopers would love to know your tale of The Mama Spider Who Trained You.

Sounds like the title of a James Bond film.

Shaken or stirred? (The gin, not the web)

Sounds like a great thread. Can’t wait to buy a ticket.