My office is in Virginia.
There was a lot of us [at work] and when they started saying, "You need to start social distancing," and I would be like, "Okay." It's like sometimes you can't think [but] you need to, because you're used to just go[ing to] talk to someone. You're like, "Hey, I need to talk to you about this ABC." And then you realize, you're like, "Oh, no. Six feet, you're close by," and then you're like, "Oh, let me move back." [Laughs]
I think it was March somewhere they asked us, the county asked us, to start working from home. So since March, I've been working from home and connecting with my clients over the computers or phone calls or Zoom.
It has been a relief for maybe saving money on gas and stuff, but at the same time, I feel like that one hour, even though it felt long, [it was] the way to process (like transition yourself from work stuff to home stuff). So when I'm working from home, it has been really hard sometimes. I would just come down if I'm done and I'll be like, somebody wants to talk to me, I'm like, "No, I really didn't have a good day so please... " Or can I just do something out of the house. People leave me alone. So that has been a little challenging, even though sometimes I'm able to step outside of the house, just walk or do stuff around the house.
I connected with my co-workers very well. We could just ask each other to hear you when you're having a bad day because they have the same experiences. I miss that a lot. Even though we call sometimes, it's not the same. We're still able to call, but it's not the same. Sometimes you're just like, "I don't know if that person is busy. I don't even want to call them." But in the office you could tell, they're right there, they're doing something or maybe you can ask right away, "Are you busy? Can I talk to you?" or "Let's go for lunch." You can arrange for a lunch break or just a break together but here it's like you can't do a lunch break together. You can call on the phone. It's not the same. It's just like something is missing…
You're bringing everything at home and you're like conscious too. We have to create that HIPAA to protect the information. So it's like people are here. I can't be here. I have to be in a room where there's nobody else in the room. So my husband, he works at sometimes random times, so if he's gonna be in the room where I have my office, I have to carry everything and go downstairs and go, "Nobody come downstairs. I'm down here." [Laughs] I'm gonna talk on, like do a Zoom, I'd be like, "Everybody don't come to the room. I'm going to be [doing] this," and lock the door. [Laughs]
— Christine Colbenson
Stories of Wisdom from Bodies in Separation (SWaBS): Archiving the Coronavirus Pandemic Through the Lens of Humanities has been made possible by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this project, do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.