Much as I’d like to pretend otherwise, I’m a cranky old man who’s set in his ways. Among other things, this means that I’m used to working with actual, physical pieces of paper when I’m writing. I taught myself to type when I was in middle school; I’ve been double-spacing my stuff since my days of crappy mystery and science fiction rip-offs, diligently making my corrections and notations in the spaces in between the text. It’s what I learned, and it’s still how I function best. If I have a draft to revise, I need a physical copy to work with.
I’m happy to report, Constant Reader, that I have a rough draft ready to revise. (Pulled an all-nighter on Saturday to do it.) For my previous writing projects during these our Quarantimes, I’ve forced myself to work with pdfs, but those were significantly shorter pieces, and even than I could barely focus to do the revisions. With a longer text to work with, featuring a more complicated plot, I’ll need to keep flipping back and forth in the script to cross-check various things, and that’s a lot easier to do with actual pages to, y’know, flip.
Since my home printer isn’t built to handle large jobs, and doesn’t seem compatible with my current laptop anyway, my usual means of printing out a script is to email myself a pdf and swing by a copy store while doing my daily errands throughout the city. (That’s right. I’m that guy.) But I’m not ranging all over the city these days, and in this time of plague and unrest there’s not a lot of casual errand running taking place. In order to revise the script in time for the submission deadline – which, by the way, is this Wednesday – I’d need to travel to the nearest Staples, a mile and a half away, on foot, in the middle of a pandemic.
Which is what I did on Sunday.
Thankfully, the bulk of the route from my apartment to Staples took place along the Brooklyn Greenway, so I was walking along the waterfront and away from people on this desolate autumn morning. And Sunday mornings being what they are, the Staples was rather sparsely populated, so I was able to get in and out quickly. But though my risks were minimized, they were still present. The virus is still present here in Brooklyn, with cases and positivity rates hovering just below the threshold to trigger another lockdown. And there were far less consequential risks as well – the high winds along the water blew off the baseball cap I was wearing, and now it is lost to me forever, stranded on the rocky shore of Gravesend Bay. Upon my return trip, Army helicopters were flying low and landing at nearby Fort Hamilton base, to further amplify the atmosphere of paranoia and apocalyptic doom.
All that to print 110 pages of script – what would, in happier times, be a mundane errand.
I’d say more about the horrific mistakes of a nation that has led us all to this point, but as mentioned, I only have from now to Wednesday to actually revise the draft, which is the whole reason I went on this odyssey in the first place.