Life in a Time of Pandemic: The First Few Weeks

Grilled cheese on homemade bread.
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If you’ve heard more than enough about the COVID-19 novel coronavirus and need a break, please stop here and go find something else to enjoy.  I know that hearing too much about it all can get overwhelming, and I’m not in the least offended if people need to take that break.  If you see a similarly titled post in the future, you can feel welcome to not even click through, because it will also be a virus related post and I want all my readers to take care of themselves mentally and physically during this crisis.

That said, one of my personal coping mechanisms is to write.  Whether that’s a fictional version of myself getting out of a crap situation, a happy story to make me feel better, or working out my thoughts “on paper.”  Writing is how I manage a lot of things in my life, from planning to my emotional and mental wellbeing.  So today, I wanted to share a little of the writing I’ve been doing to think through and process the situation we all find ourselves in.

The spread of COVID-19 in my area was slow to start (or at least was tracked slowly at the start), but that doesn’t mean it isn’t upending a lot of the normal routines of my life (as evidenced by this post going up hours later than typical).

I’m very fortunate that my job can be done remotely, so my income hasn’t been affected by the mandate from my university for all but mandatory employees to work from home that came down in mid-March.  University employees are also lucky because the university is offering paid administrative leave (for now at least) to anyone whose work can’t be done at home.  That’s especially important for our housekeepers and those who work in dining.  It’s really heartening to see that from my institution and I hope that continues until we can all safely return to campus.

Not everyone is as lucky as I am.  Those who work in retail and food service are especially vulnerable right now because they can’t do their work remotely and because their jobs require them to interact with the public.  I have several friends in this situation.  Two of them are recently married, working three jobs between them, and are understandably worried about making ends meet with hours reductions and layoffs happening across a huge swath of this sector and the unemployment benefits expansion being slow to get started.  I have another friend who works at a grocery store.  I can’t even imagine how stressful that is right now with everyone panic buying and freaking out, or just not following proper procedures for social distancing while in the store.

More recently, my county (and several surrounding ones) mandated shelter-in-place and will be enforcing it to try to limit the spread and make people only go out as much as they have to.  The fact that the government is having to make people take this seriously and curtail their movements to protect themselves and everyone else is a little ridiculous to me, and I really wish I lived in a country where the government worked, was respected, and actually had the best interest of all citizens and residents as its top priority.  (Sorry if I’m getting a little political.  This situation is really highlighting what’s wrong with capitalism and the lack of social safety net in the US in relation to basic human survival, human decency, and human rights.)

In light of all that, I know that my struggles may seem ridiculous and easy to manage in comparison.  I’m not losing income, I’m able to get the minimum supplies I need, and I’m not in any of the high risk categories for the virus to be deadly.  It could be so much worse.  But that doesn’t invalidate what I’m dealing with.  In these kinds of situations, it’s important to not see it as a competition for who is struggling the most.  Everyone’s struggles are valid and everyone deserve sympathy and support.  I say that more for myself than anything else.  I often struggle with voicing my concerns and issues when others in a space are obviously dealing with things far worse than I am.

I talked a little last week about how I’m making sure to get the social interactions I need to stay stable and happy, so I’m not going to get into that too much today (this is already looking like a potentially record-breakingly long post).  My writing group and my RPG group are both working to move online so we can all still have fun together without being exposed to each other physically.

My biggest struggle so far has been adapting to working at home.  This is as much, if not more, about physical space than it is about not working from my office.  I have a back issue that means sitting for extended periods of time is painful.  Work got me a standing desk and a laptop stand for taking to meetings, so I do pretty well when I’m at the office.  At home, I have much less professional solutions.  For the first week and a half, I was working from my laptop, with an external keyboard, mouse, and second monitor.

Laptop with spare monitor and keyboard on box and two laptop stands.

That’s all held in standing-height positions by a box full of books, and two portable laptop stands (one mine, the other the one work bought me).  This is not the most ergonomic set up in the world.  The keyboard and mouse are at the right height, but using the mouse for extended periods makes my hand hurt because of how the heel of my hand interacts with the box.  The mousepad doesn’t stay put, and the monitor is a little wobbly whenever I touch the box, move the mouse, or in any way physically interact with the desk itself.

The mouse problem could be fixed with my pen tablet.  However, the pen tablet installed on my laptop doesn’t play nice with some of the websites and software I have to use for work, so it’s basically unusable.  That lead to me deciding that I needed to borrow my desktop computer from the office.  So I went in on a Saturday (before shelter-in-place orders had gone out), when there was almost no chance of anyone being in my building, and successfully gathered my CPU, my keyboard and pen tablet, and the cables I needed for the spare work monitor I still have at home (I’d only gotten my hand-me-down personal monitor the week before they sent us home, so the work one hadn’t made it back to work yet).

But that still left me with ergonomics issues.  The laptop stands aren’t rated for the weight of a monitor, so I was going to have to figure something else out.  So I took a couple hours to scan through desk options on Amazon (because all my shopping is online now if possible) and found some options for both legit standing desks, and standing desk conversion lift things that were in a price-point I could justify.  I’d been making do with stuff like my stands and boxes because I didn’t use my desk at home enough to justify spending money on one.  But If I’m going to be standing at this set up for 40 hours a week, it needs to be good for my body.  (Self-care is important!)

This lead to the purchase of a standing desk.  Fitting it into my spare room already full of two desks, and a ton of boxes full of stuff wasn’t super easy, so that’s going to get a post all its own soon.  You can have a little preview of the final set up though.

New Standing Desk Setup

The ergonomics weren’t the only thing I was trying to adjust to.  When things are normal (can say things are every normal? Perhaps routine would be better?) I take an express bus to work in the morning.  That involves being awake by 5am so I can do my physical therapy exercises for my back, wash my face, do my hair, dress, pack my lunch into my work backpack, and leave the house by 6:30 to get to the park and ride to catch my 6:43am bus to campus.  I have a set of 20-minutes word sprints scheduled on my NaNoWriMo Region’s chat so I can write on the bus each morning.  It started as a November thing, but people liked it so much we’ve been doing it every weekday for two years straight. So I get some writing done on the way to work and get to campus at about 7:10am.  I use the remaining time before 8am to walk to my building, eat breakfast, do a little more writing, and generally settle in so I’m ready to work at eight.  I have a morning routine that really works for me.  Or at least I do when I’m taking the bus to work.

Now, I’m struggling to get my routine in order.  I’m finding it very hard to be out of bed at 5am when I don’t have a bus to catch.  I still need to do my physical therapy exercises every morning if I want my back to remain in good shape and be able to sit for short periods when I want to (so I can do things like drive when this is all over).  When I do the full set of exercises, it takes about forty minutes.  I can usually get cleaned up and dressed in about thirty minutes.  If I want a shower in the morning, it’s closer to an hour.  So if I have to be “at work” by 8am, I’d only really need to wake up by 6:40am, 6:10am if I want a shower.  If I want to participate in the morning sprints, I’d need to be up by about 6am if I’m doing sprints right after physical therapy but before I get ready for the day, or skipping the first one to use that twenty minutes and the ten-minute break in between as my thirty minutes to get ready.

Originally, I was thinking it would be good to just stick to my 5am wake up time so I was consistent and then I wouldn’t have to transition back to the earlier wake up when we can go back to our offices.  But even after only one full week working from home, I wasn’t sure about that as a long-term good idea.  I don’t want to miss my morning sprints all the time, and I do enjoy getting a morning shower when I can, so trying to work the timing around those two possibilities seemed like the best idea.  So for the second week of work from home, I tried a wake up time of 6am.

In theory, that would translate to 6am out of bed, physical therapy until about 6:40, and then my early morning writing sprint at 6:50am.  On days I wanted a morning shower, I might have to skip sprints, or start work a tiny bit late.  In practice, this has mostly worked for week two.  I’ve been rolling out of bed between 6am and 6:09am (one snooze of the alarm clock seems to be built into my routine already…).  I tried both physical therapy, sprint, then get ready, and physical therapy, get ready, then sprint.  I’m liking the latter best so far.  I’ve also tried out using my lunch hour for my shower instead of doing it before work.  It leads to a slightly longer lunch break if I also eat, but that’s worked out fairly well too.  I can always work a little past 5pm now that I’m not rushing to catch the bus home.

I’m still tweaking my routine and trying out different things, but I’m sure I’ll eventually settle into a routine that works for me.  Routines take time after all.  I’m writing these a little ahead so I can post them in advance and keep working through my thoughts by writing, so this is actually posting at the end of week three of working from home, and week one of mandated shelter-in-place, but I expect I’ll continue to keep you updated on what I’m thinking and feeling about all this.

I’m sure there are a lot of other things that I’m adjusting to that aren’t as obvious to me right now, so I will be revisiting this topic from time to time as I feel the need to write a little more to process all this.

Are you dealing with adjustments because of the virus?  What’s been the easiest thing to adjust to?  How about the hardest?  Or do you have any tips for the rest of us who are adjusting?  In these extraordinary times, it’s important for us all to remember to positively engage with one another is any ways that we can.

Camp NaNoWriMo: “An idyllic writers retreat smack-dab in the middle of your crazy life.”

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“An idyllic writers retreat smack-dab in the middle of your crazy life.”

That’s the motto of Camp NaNoWriMo.  And boy could we all use an idyllic writers retreat right now.  This is the craziest my life has been in a very long time (possibly ever).

The spread of COVID-19 wasn’t too bad in my area initially, but that didn’t mean it hadn’t upending a lot of the normal routines of my life.  And now, we’re under mandatory shelter in place for both the county I live in and the county I work in.

I normally take the bus to work every weekday and go to a write-in at a local café on Sundays.  While public transit is still running, my university system mandated that everyone work from home if possible in mid-March.  I’m lucky that my job can be done from home, and thankfully the university is offering administrative leave (for now at least) to anyone who can’t do their work from home.

Dine-in service at restaurants, cafes, and coffee shops is prohibited by the state, and as I mentioned shelter-in-place is being enforced by the county, but at least my write-in can move to the online platforms my NaNoWriMo region has set up.  Which brings me back to Camp NaNoWriMo.  I made a project with a placeholder goal of 25,000 words, since I plan to participate in the April session.  I still haven’t decided what I’m actually going to be working on.  (Yes, I know I only have three days to make a decision.  And no one in my region would be surprised that I’m making a plan this last-minute.)

My current project is book three of the Swords and Shields series.  This is major revision number two, and it’s going pretty well so far.  So part of me wants to just keep chipping away at that project and keep the momentum.  Another part of me wants to chase after some new shiny idea and draft something from scratch.  And yet anything part of me wants to return to some of my fanfiction and try to finish out that series.  I recently started posting it online again after my original fan-run, fandom-specific site went down a couple years ago.  Users from that original site have started to find me again and it’s been really encouraging.

Sometime in the next three days, I’ll have to make a decision on what to work on.  At least in theory.  There have been plenty of past Camp NaNo months were I’ve simply tracked my total word count increase across several projects.  There’s nothing stopping me from working on all three potential projects.

Aside from the writing itself, what I’m looking forward to the most with Camp NaNoWriMo next month is the increased community engagement in my region.  There’s a core group of folks who are active all year, but we get a few more people joining us in April and July and a ton more in November.  And right now, that social interaction is something I’m really looking forward to.

I’m just slightly on the introvert side of the scale on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.  I definitely get my energy back by being alone, and being around other people can be very draining for me.  However, I also go a little bit nuts if I don’t see any other people for an extended period of time.  I discovered this when I did a study abroad semester in Scotland my junior year in college.  I ended up in a flat full of other American exchange students (that’s a whole other story and not how it was supposed to work out) and they were all taking freshman level courses, so their breaks were scheduled a little different from my junior level courses.  There was a period of ten days were I didn’t have any trips around the country planned, all my flatmates were off on trips (because they had two weeks off rather than just one) and I was alone in the flat.

I still went out a little, grocery shopping and the like, but for that ten-day period I think I interacted with maybe three people.  By day seven I was a complete wreck, utterly homesick, and calling my mother crying.  I’d originally had almost a month at the end of the term where I’d still have my housing, but would be done with classes.  I begged to change my ticket home, and Mom let me.  So I ended up flying home two weeks early and scheduled backpacker tours with a company called Haggis Tours for the two weeks between classes ending and my flight home.  I’d already been on one and loved it.

In the end, things worked out in Scotland, and I’d probably have been fine if I stayed the extra two weeks as long as I had tours planned and was getting out of the house and interacting with people.  So now that I’m as close to house-bound as I’ve ever been, I’m trying to make sure I get that social interaction I need.

Granted, I’m married now, so I’m not living completely alone, and we have two adorable kitties to keep me company, so it’s not as depression-inducing as being literally alone in my apartment, but I still crave contact with others, even as an introvert.  So I’m turning to technology and the internet.  My NaNoWriMo region has both a Slack and a Discord, and I’m active on both, so I have folks to talk to almost every day.  My Sunday write-in is transitioning to Discord while we can’t go to our café, so I’ll still have that three hour block each weekend to hang out with my friends and write.  There’s also a Wednesday evening write-in that was already online.

We’ll have to see if text and voice chat interactions meet the same need for me that hanging out in person does, but either way, I’m planning to write as much as possible in April to keep myself engaged with the things I love.  It can be easy to slide into a pattern of TV show bingeing, reading, and goofing off when I’m at home, so it’s important to really focus on my priorities and not let myself ignore them.

I’d be curious to hear how others are using Camp NaNoWriMo to meet their goals this year, or how you’re going about being normal in light of how crazy life is in the middle of a global pandemic.  What are you writing?  What crafts are you picking back up again?  How are you establishing a new routine (be it for writing or working from home)?  I hope all my readers are safe and well, and I’d love to hear from you.

Image Prompt 062 – First Sight of the Ocean

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I chose the image of the light house on the coast of Ireland as my prompt today.  I’m borrowing characters from another image prompt I wrote a while back (#20).  I’ve continued playing around with that story and what happened next, but this is more just a little side moment with Ian and Ailill, the characters in that image prompt scene.

First Sight of the Ocean:

Ian watched the crowd moving around then, marveling at how effective Ailill’s magic was at hiding what he really looked like.  It probably helped that blue hair wasn’t as weird as it used to be.  Anyone could dye their hair blue these days.  But the wings disappearing was always a little weird.  Ian was so used to seeing them.  He wondered if they were really gone, or if Ailill was just hiding them from sight.

“Have you ever been here before?” Ailill asked, trying to lean to see around some of the people in front of them.

“Yeah, I had an engagement photo shoot here a few years ago,” Ian replied.  “I thought you might like the views.”  Ailill had told him recently that he’d never seen the ocean before.  This was a pretty nice spot to show what the coast was like.

“That’s sweet,” Ailill said, turning to smile up at Ian.

Ian smiled back.  He couldn’t help but smile when Ailill was smiling.

“Not that I can see much from here,” Ailill said, looking at the backs of the group in front of them.

“I can’t either,” Ian said softly.  “It opens up a bit further on and you can see more, this is just the path down.”

“Oh, alright,” Ailill said his shoulder brushing against Ian’s arm as they continued walking.

Ian kept half his attention on his feet and the crowd in front, and the other half on Ailill.  When they got to the end of the path, where everything widened and the group was suddenly scattering further apart, he saw Ailill’s eyes widen.

“It’s so sparkly,” Ailill said, actually stopping to stare at the blue water that glimmered in the sunlight.

“Let’s not block the path,” Ian said, grabbing Ailill’s hand and towing him forward and over to the railing where they could stand and look for as long as they wanted.

“What’s the weird white building?” Ailill asked softly.  His eyes never stopped moving as he gazed out over the vista before them.

“It’s a lighthouse,” Ina explained, smiling as he watched the delight in Ailill’s eyes.

“What’s it for?” Ailill asked.  “I’m guessing it’s not like a silo.  That doesn’t seem like the best place to store grain.”

Ian laughed.  “No,” he agreed.  “You see the top part, where it’s all glass?”

“Yeah, there’s a light in there from the look of it.”

“The light turns in a circle, so that the building is visible to all the ships passing by.  It lets them know where the land is, so they can stay far enough off shore where it’s safe.”

“At night when it’s dark?” Ailill guessed.

“And also when it’s foggy or storming, or anything else,” Ian replied.  “It’s a safety thing, from back before technology could tell you exactly where you were at all times.  And for when the technology fails you, because that definitely still happens occasionally.”

“Humans always come up with such interesting ways to supplement their senses,” Ailill said.  “A Fae would never think of such a thing,” he added in a softer voice.  “We’d just use glamour.”

“We’re good at making up for any deficiencies we may have with technology,” Ian agreed.  “Want to walk around a bit, see more of the ocean?”

“Yes,” Ailill agreed, smiling up at Ian.  “Thank you for bringing me to see this.  It’s really beautiful.”

“I’m glad I could bring you to see the ocean,” Ian replied, walking slowly away from the railing and further along the walkway.  If they were lucky, the pier would be open to visitors today and they could walk out over the water.  Ian was pretty sure that would fascinate Ailill.  Both the platform of the pier being out over the water, and getting to look down into it and see the fish and other things through the water.

Ailill continued to point out interesting things that caught his attention.  Ian tried to see it all with new eyes.  He barely remembered what it had been like to see these views for the first time and he didn’t actually remember his first sight of the ocean.  His mother had send him and his sister to the shore every year since before he could remember.  He didn’t even remember who had gone with them before his sister was old enough to mind him on her own.

They were near the entrance to the pier, and it looked like it was open today, when someone bumped into Ian.

“Sorry,” a familiar voice said.

“No harm,” Ian replied, stepping away slightly and turning his head as the person when past.  Except they didn’t go past, they shifted to move behind Ian.

Ian shifted, suddenly feeling uncomfortable about the person being behind him.

“Careful,” Ailill said softly, suddenly standing between Ian and the stranger.  “We don’t want to draw attention,” he added in an even softer voice.

Ian stepped back a little, giving Ailill more space.  The last time he’s made a comment like that, they’d run into another Fae by accident and the woman had almost gotten into a fight with Ailill.

“We don’t?” the man in front of Ailill asked, tilting his head a little and smiling.  Ian knew that smile and recognized those bright green eyes.  What the hell was he doing in Ireland?  Blair’s little piece of Faery connected to Scotland.

Image Prompt 062 – Wedding Rings and Irish Lighthouse

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It’s the Second Friday of the Month, so today is an Image Prompt day.

I’ve included two images to work from.  Pick one (or both if you’re feeling ambitious) and write something inspired by the image.  You can use something in the image, the feeling it invokes, or whatever the image makes you think of.

If you write a piece and end up posting it somewhere online, please link back to it here on a comment so we can all enjoy it too.

I’ll be posting my own piece next week.

Image Prompt 062-002 - Rings (2)

Image Prompt 062-001 - Shamrocker Tour05-04-23 004

Introspection in Images: Fascinated by Decay 006

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I have always been fascinated by the decaying remains of human structures.

That sounds weirder when I say it out loud, but I always knew I was weird.

I love to take pictures of stone buildings being overgrown with ivy, old gravestones, wooden houses being reclaimed by nature.  Old monuments.  Mossy stones set up by ancient people.  It all fascinates me.

My first digital camera probably took more pictures of things like that, than it did people.  I have hundreds of photos from trips around town and around the world of the things humans have built that are now wasting away.

Today, I’ll share a few of them with you.  And I expect in later posts I’ll share some more.

I hope you can see the beauty in them that I do.

Collaborative Storytelling

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I’ve been playing Dungeon and Dragons every other week with some friends for a couple years now.  And recently, I was reading back through some fanfic that I wrote with a friend, and it got me thinking about collaborative storytelling.

I’ve actually been collaboratively telling stories since I was a kid.  That was one of the ways my best friend and I played.  We’d act out stories with various stuffed animals, plastic figures, or other toys.  It usually worked in a way where we each had one (or several) characters that we ours, and we talked through what was happening and who was saying what.  And that’s basically what table top roleplaying games are, except there are dice and rules for resolving combat and other contested interactions.

I’ve realized that’s how I did my collaboration with a writer friend several years ago as well.  She liked a magical power I’d given someone in my own fanfic and wanted to use a character with that ability in hers.  So instead of her borrowing the idea with my permission, I came up with a couple characters and we wrote the scenes together.

It was a ton of fun to sit around her living room trading documents back and forth (this was before Google Docs had really taken off…) and working through the scene together.  It’s the kind of collaborative storytelling my RPG group tends to engage in.  We’re all coming up with ideas and taking turns and steering the story in various directions.  It’s the kind of collaborative storytelling I most enjoy.

There are a lot of opportunities out there for this kind of collaboration.  From table top RPGs to text-based online RPGs to working with a real human being on a story.  I think I’d like to continue making time in my life for this sort of collaboration.  How about you?  Do you like participating in collaborative storytelling?  Where do you do yours?

Image Prompt 061 – The Face of a Cat

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I chose the image of the black cat in the black back pack for my twenty-minute sprint today.  I set this in the same world as my books, with a student at Black Ashe University, the Wiccan University in Fort Madison as my main character.  I hope you enjoy.

 

The Face of a Cat:

Kyle padded out of his room into the kitchen, starting the coffee maker more by feel than sight.  He’d been up late last night finishing up his essay on metaphysical translation spells.  He’d thought this was going to be one of those boring, reading dusty old tomes kind of metaphysics classes, but the professor was new, and was actually having them research spells, discuss how the mechanics worked and how they could potentially rework or recombine different mechanics for different spell effect.  It was the most fascinating class he’d taken as Black Ashe University so far.

Once the coffee was brewing, Kyle stopped in the bathroom, then returned to the kitchen, actually turning on the light this time and opening the fridge.

There was a soft noise from near the door, almost like there was an animal outside growling.

Kyle straightened up and looked toward the door.  He had the food for his late class in a bag hanging behind his backpack so he wouldn’t forget to pack it.  They were taking turns providing snacks so everyone had something since they met during normal dinner hours.

The noise came again.

Kyle walked toward the door, and when he came around the counter, something in his backpack moved, eyes shining in the dim light from the overhead.

“You better be a raccoon that broke in or some such,” Kyle muttered under his breath, grabbing the emergency flashlight from the counter.  He turned it on and shone it at the bag.

There were eyes, and a mouth, and they looked like they were part of the backpack.  They were on the front, where his initials were embroidered.  The bag had been a gift from his grandmother, complete with customization and extra straps.

Kyle approached the bag slowly, still hoping whatever animal would either duck down to hide, or jump out to try to get away.

No such luck.  He was crouched right in front of it now.  The bag had been made mostly of nylon fabric before, but now it looked more like suede in most places, and a little more like actual fur around the face.

“Are you friendly?” Kyle wondered, reaching toward the bag just to see what happened.  The bag made a noise, and Kyle really wasn’t sure if it was a purr or a growl.  The face on the bag looked mostly feline.  It had that sort of triangular shape to it that he associated with cats anyway.  Kyle touched the bottom corner of the bag.  It was soft, softer than most suede, and warm.  Like body heat warm.

“Okay,” Kyle said softly, meeting the eyes of what used to be his backpack.  “I’m going to call my professor now.  Hang tight.”

Kyle shuffled backward still in the crouch before standing up and retrieving his phone.  He took a quick picture of the cat bag, and attached it to an email so he could send it to his professor easily if needed.  Then he found the number on the syllabus for emergencies related to class.  He dialed and waited for it to ring, still looking at the bag.  He’d been talking in his paper about how to leverage the mechanics of a spell designed to make a book able to defend itself, and how that could be applied to a variety of objects.

“Hello?” someone answered.

“Hi,” Kyle said.  “Is this Professor Scriven?”

“Yes,” he answered.

“It’s Kyle, Kyle Melbourne, from your Metaphysical Research class.”

“Is something wrong?” Professor Scriven asked.

“Maybe,” Kyle said.  “I finished my paper last night, and I was postulating about some things,” Kyle said, giving a very brief explanation of the book defense concept and the possible applications.  “And when I got up this morning, my backpack appears to have changed.  It has a cat face, and it’s either growling or purring at me.”

“A cat face?” Professor Scriven asked.

“Eyes, mouth, fur, I think there’s a nose but it and the bag are black and the lighting isn’t great in my apartment.  The bag used to be nylon and now it feels like super soft suede and it’s warm to the touch.  I have a picture I can send you.”

“That would probably be helpful.  Your paper draft too if you can.”

“It’ll be two emails,” Kyle said.  “Hold on a sec,” he added, pulling his phone away from his ear to send the picture.  “The paper’s going to take a minute since it’s not on my phone.”

“That’s the bag you usually bring to class?” Professor Scriven asked as Kyle pulled up an email.

“Yeah,” Kyle replied, typing in the professor’s email and attaching the paper.  “There used to be initials were the face is.”

“I have a colleague who has postulated that this kind of application would be possible,” Professor Scriven said.  “But she’s never tested it.”

“Mostly I just want to know what I should do now,” Kyle replied.  “Is it dangerous?  Do I need to feed it?  Should I never use it as a backpack ever again?”  That would be a shame.  He really loved that bag.  It was super versatile and really comfortable.

“Let me just scan through your paper,” Professor Scriven said.

“This bit is on page three I think,” Kyle offered, turning back to the cat bag.  He wondered what his grandmother would think when she saw it.