#LockdownDiary – One of many – Day 94

#LockdownDiary – One of many – Day 94

Day 94

I walk with my friend to work this morning, through the known trodden ground of the nature reserve and the labyrinth of paths between streets and housing. At the end of our walk, she dives into the mouth of the warehouse where another colleague stand. He is wearing a mask and a set of gloves. I wave at him. He waves back before turning back inside the warehouse. The shutter closes behind them, the dark blue metal appearing cold in the grey morning light. I turn around and follow the paths we have just walked back to my home.

In a few hours, I will receive an e-mail update from work. I have no doubt that I will be ignored again. As my manager puts it the week before, there are only six of us furloughed in my department, so it is only normal that the e-mail from work address the 400 employees of the other much bigger departments. I shake my head at the thought of her words. I don’t think that it matters that the furlough status of 6 employees out of 400 is different. Those six employees should still be cared for. I stop my trail of thoughts. There is no need for me to spiral into my growing resentment towards my workplace. I cannot do anything about it currently.

Back home, I set to work on Queer Out Here. I want to finish the rounds of edit I’m currently on so Jonathan can work on creating an introduction for issue 05. Halfway through the process, I check my e-mails. There are two from work. The official one that I quickly disregard, and one from the head of my department that send my blood boiling.

My annual leave is stripped away from me, allocated partly at the end of the month, over Christmas, and relegated to 2021. If I need a break between my return to work and December, I am unlikely to be able to have one.

I immediately text my manager to confirm how many days of annual leave it leaves me with. She replies quickly. Four. Not even a full week. I take a deep breath and read over her words again. In them, she hints at the fact that I am unlikely to be back at work before August, something nobody has ever mentioned before but here it is, as a stray comment in a middle of a paragraph about something else.

I hammer away at the keyboard on my phone screen before deleting the entire message. There is no point in sending an angry message. It will not achieve anything. Instead, I turn my phone off and return my attention to Queer Out Here but my focus is gone. All I can think of is how much I hate how work communicates with me. There is little care, no consultation, and a sense of information being dumped on me as and when managers remember they have furloughed employees. I understand the uncertainty they too face but I do not understand the lack of care. All it would take is a change of words in the e-mails, a mention of shared humanity, an understanding of the stresses that furloughed employees have. But increasingly there is less and less of that. I am stranded, apart from the company, different, irrelevant.

I walk out of the study and join my partner in the living room, sharing my concern with her. My voice rises in volume as my anger spurts out of me. I can hear the echo chamber I am creating, my words looping on themselves. I am going nowhere but I cannot stop. I am angry. My partner tries to find ways to make me see the situation differently but I do not want to. Instead, I text a friend I know I can moan with. She shares my anger and through our interaction, I calm down. My anger reflected back at me triggers my brain out of the vacuum it has created.

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