It’s 1:29 on a Friday afternoon. I’m sitting on my seafoam art deco couch from TJ Maxx that’s 10 years overdue for a steam cleaning. My Dell work laptop, still turned off, is to my left, no more than five feet away waiting for me to log on and reply to unread emails. I’ve been on the couch, for hours, procrastinating, per usual. I’ve not yet eaten breakfast, let alone done my daily workout. The only thing I’ve had is my daily detoxifying ACV drink: apple cider vinegar diluted in water, pineapple juice and a dash of lemon juice. To boost my immune system in these trying times, I’ve starting adding turmeric. The pungent smell and bitter taste took some getting used to.
I’ve been doing Shaun T’s Transform videos on Beachbody.com. I like them because they’re five minutes shorter than his T25 workouts. It’s amazing what taking back those five minutes of glorious torture can do. I’m aware I’m working out less beyond obvious reasons. There was no way I was doing the full 25 minutes of T25 without breaks, and there’s no way I’m doing the full 20 minutes of the more intense HIIT workout of Transform. It’s designed to be a step workout. It’s still intense on the flat floor. I get my cardio and my sweat on, looking like I’ve been dunked in a vat of baby oil when I’m done. I’m getting stronger, endurance is getting better, but my heart and lungs are trying to leap out my chest minutes into it. Who the hell invented burpees?
My workouts are stress relievers, great for my mental health, and make me feel less guilty about my sedentary lifestyle. Depending on the day, I spend nonstop hours on the couch watching TV or working at my currently neglected seat at my Pier 1 round glass dining table that doubles as my workspace. The official-looking designated workspace is abandoned, gathering dust. There’s a 20-something inch monitor for larger viewing than my 14 inch laptop screen and an office chair, but I rarely use that area. It’s a leaning bookshelf-desk combo that I ordered from Crate and Barrel to match my two leaning tower bookshelves. I wanted to keep the aesthetic going on both sides of the TV entertainment center, also purchased from Crate and Barrel, as was my bar cabinet, which transforms into a bar. The funny thing is: I rarely consume alcohol at home. The cabinet is used for storage and years old wines. I’m a social drinker when out, and even then I tend to nurse one drink all night, ice melting, diluting the color and taste of the mixed drink, eliciting unwanted comments from people.
There are two office chairs with wheels fighting for space in my living room. One chair reminds me the strappy, form-fitting Hervé Leger bandage dresses that women (excluding me) made popular in the early aughts. The brown Container Store bungee chair, with arms, (very important because there is an armless version, but who works in an armless chair?), is comfortable for the first 15 minutes or so. Beyond that, my butt and backs of my thighs start to go numb. The seat back stops just below the shoulder blades, so I can’t lean back to rest my head. The other, more ergonomic chair does provide head and neck support. I call it the real office chair.
I’m happy and lucky to have that chair. It was messengered over by my job once I became a bonafide remote employee. To consolidate office locations, some employees were given the option to work from home on a permanent basis. I was instructed to pack the contents of my whole cubicle: stapler, tape, pens, highlighters, file folders, Post-It notes, monitor, keyboard, mouse, mousepad and even the chair(!) to have them delivered–on the company dime–to my Brooklyn apartment from the Times Square office location. A man showed up in an unmarked white personal SUV. He dressed in regular, casual clothes. I believe he wore hard-bottom shoes and white jeans. It was clearly the guy’s side hustle. No uniform, nametag, clipboard, but he had my stuff. I was apprehensive about letting him up, but someone had to bring those boxes up the three flights of stairs of my Brownstone. Years before that messenger delivery guy showed up and before I purchased my brown bandage aka bungee chair, I had looked up the price of these office desk chairs. Mine at $149.99 was a steal, and even then I used a coupon.
I glance at both chairs and both working stations, but ignore both. Neither is as appealing as remaining seated on my couch dressed in Calvin Klein boy short panties, bootleg black long-sleeve souvenir t-shirt that I bought at a tailgating party for $5, and my green silk headwrap. Bright green tie-dyed socks are on my feet. It’s a bit chilly in my apartment, though not chilly enough to put on pants. Outside my third floor apartment windows with cracked blinds, I hear an airplane cross the sky, wind whipping through leafless trees and cars whizzing down the street. Otherwise, the Bed-Stuy neighborhood is unsettlingly quiet. No blasting music from cars, no chirping birds, no laughing kids, not even wailing sirens.
I’m not playing any music. Or a podcast. Or an audiobook. The TV is off. After video chatting with my cousin and his almost four-month-old daughter earlier this morning, I remained seated on my couch, scrolling through social media. I fawned over beautiful bearded black men, watched several versions of the Don’t Rush challenge, clips highlighting Trump’s ineptness dealing with Coronavirus, and of course kid and animal videos. There were posts about self-care and mental wellness, writing prompts, upcoming Instagram live events for music battles, workouts and author interviews. It’s National Sibling’s Day. My brother posted old photos of us, our older sister and our deceased cousin who was like a sibling. I’m fine with those. It’s beyond me why he felt compelled to include the headstone photo. Our aunt would not pleased.
I look down at my exposed left thigh crossed over my right. My melanated skin looks hydrated and moisturized even though I haven’t had any water today and the last time I did moisturize was after last night’s shower. The plan was to shower after this morning’s workout. The plan was to do so many things on this sunny but chilly Friday. The weekend is here, but because the shelter at home order is still in effect, it doesn’t really matter. The weekdays and weekends all blur together. I’m an introvert who enjoys going out. “Don’t think about it as stuck at home,” they say. Think about it as safe at home. So here on the couch, pantless, I shall remain safe at home.
Essay inspired by NaNoWriMo instagram post