Some of the steps seem small, this one felt enormous.
We’re still masking at Mass (ugh!) and I masked to attend a very small nonprofit event this week. Organizers had warned that masks would be required, even though it was held in a building that is mask free. Very weird, but the event I was attending is run by a very small group of well-meaning volunteers, and I did not want to hurt their feelings.
While I roamed around among many unmasked, I struggled to see with my glasses fogging up. It definitely didn’t help the ambiance of the event, and I spent far less and stayed a far shorter time than I would have had I been unmasked and comfortable.
But the big thing that happened concerns our hallowed, cavernous hall of journalism.
I would have absolutely loved to have worked downtown on Second Street in what is now FC Outlet, but was born as the Tribune Building, 216 East 2nd Street. I may be old, but that was used as a newspaper building from 1920 to 1963, so I missed it by 15 years.
I did start work at 111 S. Jefferson, in a building that was designed for the paper and occupied in 1963. It also didn’t have windows.
The giant building where we now spend our work lives was finished in October 1981.
It is mostly known for its lack of windows, which makes it tricky to know if there is a blizzard ranging outside. But if there is a violent summer thunderstorm or hailstorm, we know it for sure because the three-story glass atrium sounds like it is being shelled.
So there is a lot of room in here — a lot.
And as I’ve written before, 99% of the news staff chose to work from home when the pandemic began in March 2020. Their reasons are their own, and they were given permission to do so, but that didn’t make it any less lonely for me.
A couple of weeks ago, I was told that because vaccines were so readily available, regardless of age, and because the pandemic numbers were improving locally, coworkers felt okay about trickling in with more regularity.
Last week, there was a day with two meetings. Everyone in the news department was at both meetings — together — in the same room. For the first time since March of 2020, no one had to be on the Zoom. It was glorious.
Also last week, we welcomed a new reporter to our fold, state politics writer Victoria Eavis. She will be an amazing addition to the group. In celebration of her arrival, I treated the room to the “good” donuts, as opposed to grocery store donuts, which, sorry, are not close to the same.
When I went to pick them up, the owner said she is thinking of giving discounts to people who won’t wear a mask. A sign in her front window proclaims, “America Enter at Your Own Risk.”
The donuts are great. But better than that was actually seeing people in chairs, instead of on a screen. It was like a big reunion, everyone talked at once and it was hard to focus.