Essential Workers – Leaving Home

Video Description: White woman with salt and pepper asymmetrical hair signs outside. There is a clear blue sky, a fence running at a diagonal behind her, and a small garden in the distance.

Transcript: As an interpreter, I can fall under the category of an essential worker. Even though my state of Michigan is still under Stay Home, Stay Safe, I will still - on occasion – leave for work. I want to support the ability of the Deaf and hearing communities to communicate with one another, so here we are. I’m not just out galivanting to my heart’s content - but leaving primarily just for work. As I’m leaving for work, I wanted to share what I typically pack or bring with me for the day, and what consideration goes into all of that before I even leave the house.

The most important thing for me is just to keep it simple. This is not like the old days where I had a bag of infinite holding where I would pack books and whatever else I wanted to my heart’s content – I keep it super simple these days. I normally don’t bring more than 5 or 6 things with me. I’ll bring my phone, watch (although that is easy enough to leave at home), keys, wallet (which I’ll go into a bit more in a bit). If I am gone for an entire day, I may bring a water bottle – either disposable or reusable that gets washed right when I get back home. My final item is my own insulated lunch bag. This allows me to pack ice and keep my food cold if needed, or I’ll bring simple food that doesn’t need refrigeration. This means I won’t have to throw my bag in a shared fridge with the subsequent germs from other people’s items. No thank you.

This short list of items is all I want to carry with me throughout the day. Sometimes my wallet isn’t even what you would normally consider a wallet. It may just be a retractable lanyard with my work badge, driver’s license, and debit card – but nothing more than that! It’s such a relief to be able to just scrub that all down once I get back home after work!

Back in the day, I used to interpret in the Maryland, D.C. area and relied solely on the Metro for my transportation which meant needed to carry everything with me that I might need throughout an entire day. Now that I’m back home in Michigan, (and close to the Motor City) I can leave a few simple things in my car without having to bring them in anywhere unnecessarily. I always have a mask ready to go while I am entering or leaving work buildings. I also have gloves if I stop for gas, etc, or I may just use my hand sanitizer instead. This last one may seem a bit ridiculous to some of you, but I also have a roll of toilet paper in my car! Yes indeed! The last thing you want to do is be stuck on the toilet with your pants down and no paper, and some buildings have already had people coming through and taking rolls home for themselves, so it is not a guaranteed these days!

Forewarned is forearmed, so it makes sense to take a look and see if you need to run back to the car first to get your roll. And yes, I am more than aware that this is an odd topic, but it’s better to have a heads up than your pants down!! (This joke found in transcript only, because I am amusing myself while typing, and the English isn’t as funny as the visual description of realizing you are stuck on the pot, so fair is fair.)

I think I have a few other items in my car too, such as my insurance card which is important to have with you, but you may not need to have in your pocket at all times. This brings me to another consideration before I leave for the day – it’s easiest to pick pants as these are more likely to have pockets in them. Most dresses and skirts are sadly lacking in this area which makes it harder to grab what you need and get going out the door.

I’m not looking to use a backpack or a big bag, or even more straps to carry – I’m looking to put a few things in my pocket and to be on my merry way. This also makes it easier when I get back home at the end of the day to wipe down what I brought with me and feel safer about what I bring back into the house.

I’ll be recording a second video about what it looks like after I’ve left the house for the day, and what my processes are for coming back into the house again. I’ll go through my typical structure and what I do to try to protect myself and so forth. Thank you for watching!

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