By Deborah Schroder
So Scruff and I have become pretty close during the pandemic. He doesn’t share his face on social media but he let me use a stand-in so you could see where he lives. He lives around and under the pretty little bridge in the back of campus. I walk out that way to get away from the screens I’m on constantly, as many of us are.
Initially I played a little game, loosely based on the “Bridge Assessment Drawing” in art therapy. What kind of day was Scruff having? Munching a nut in the shade by the bridge, sitting on the bridge watching the birds, or hiding under the bridge?
And I know he’s been watching me and listening to my stories of being online all the time. He has some thoughts on moving forward through this pandemic:
- Use your “under the bridge time” wisely. There’s a fine line between safely isolating at home and slipping into unhealthy isolation. If you’re outdoors, nature will remind you that time really is passing. A few changing leaves can already be spotted. Scruff said he’d sometimes get annoyed when campus got too “people-y” Now he misses us and wonders if we miss each other.
- Scruff remembers how he’d watch humans share things – art supplies, rides and food. He hopes we still nurture our relationships somehow. So much is lost that used to happen in brief encounters in the hall, on a path or in the parking lot. There’s such a difference between curating an online platform/presence and maintaining relationships. Even when those relationships are mostly online.
- Laugh big! He misses the laughter here especially. He wonders how we do that now. He thinks we might go too long without genuinely laughing (he doesn’t mean the small smirky kind, either). He hates the word “pivot” because it diminishes what we’ve had to do. Pivot happens on a fashion-week runway or a red carpet. He says we “tornadoed”.
His other thoughts were more personal suggestions for me, like what time of day is best to spot hummingbirds and the idea that I could try and be friends with the lizards (nope). We’re both hoping that all of us can ride out this tornado of a year and still find some time to sit on the bridge in the sun and smile.