Sue Anne W. is a library assistant working from home in University City, MO. Due to the COVID-19 stay-at-home order, her son’s wedding has been postponed. She understands the necessity of social distancing and longs for the day when she can hug her son again.
Sue Anne is frustrated with one aspect of the early morning shopping hours. “They put these hours for people over 60, but everything’s not open at that hour. Bakery, meat, fish—none of those places are open for you to go to somebody and say, ’Can you give me this …?’”
She says grocery shopping has become emotionally and mentally tiring. “Even though I don’t mind shopping, I have found when I get finished with it, there’s this kind of anxiety,” she says, “It didn’t start out that way. Now, when I’m getting ready to go to the store, I’m putting on the mask, I’ve got my hand sanitizer in my purse, and you’re looking to make sure you stay a certain amount away from people. When you get home with it, and you do what they’re telling you to do, you’ve got to disinfect all of the stuff!”
When her library had to close to the public, Sue Anne and her coworkers made videos of them reading children’s stories. When the stay-at-home order was extended, she had to learn how to record herself on Zoom.
Sue Anne feels for the people who would come to the library to use the computers to look for work or use the internet. While she knows the administration cares for her safety, she worries about social distancing when it reopens. “If they say the library is open and you have to go to work, what are we going to do?” worries Sue Anne. “I love my job. I love the kids. But, what?”
Sue Anne gets her COVID-19 news from KSDK, the Post-Dispatch online, and PBS News Hour, but she takes a day off occasionally. “I don’t need it to be sensationalized; I just need you to tell me so I know what’s going on,” she says. “I think there’s a piece of ‘I wonder what’s going to happen now?’ You’re almost afraid not to look, afraid not to know what’s going on. At the same time, you have to realize when to back off a little bit so it’s not too much.”
For the time being, she will read her Bible in the quiet of the early morning, enjoy scented candles, and text sunshine images from Pinterest to her coworkers.