I’m not myself, and that’s OK.
On May 24, I’ll have worked as a journalist for a decade. That’s 3,650 days.
Being a reporter is not an 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. job. You take calls from sources at night. You work the weekends. You work. All the time.
During these 10 years, I’ve talked to crying mothers and fathers who couldn’t cry. I’ve seen dead bodies. I’ve seen people who have lost everything in a fire. I’ve been to situations involving gunfire. I’ve been at that fatal car crash minutes after it happened.
But I’ve never done what I’m doing now.
For the last four weeks, I’ve been working nonstop. I wake up. I get to work. I go to bed. Then I do it again.
I do it because I’m part of a team that aims to provide information to our community.
I thought that’s what I’ve been doing for the last decade, but the past four weeks have shown me different.
Accurate, reliable news has always mattered. But right now, it matters more than ever.
And providing it to readers at this pace has been hard.
I’ve stayed at home for a month because of the coronavirus.
I haven’t gone out on my beat. I’ve just sat at my desk, taken information from sources, made phone calls and I have written dozens of news briefs to try to bring new information to our community.
The isolation has had an impact and so has the work. I’m more aggressive than usual, including with people I like. Getting annoyed happens faster.
A dear friend posed a question to me recently: As a journalist, how are you handling your job and COVID-19?
The answer is I don’t know.
I really don’t. I haven’t thought about it.
The only thing I’ve thought about is getting the latest, updated information, impact and the spread in the Rio Grande Valley.
There is, however, one day that’s been on my mind, and that’s March 15. On that day, some friends of mine accompanied me to the park. I haven’t changed my calendar from that day so it can remind me of the last pleasant occasion before we all became consumed by the coronavirus that invaded my community.
Fittingly, the calendar has a word of the day for the 15th, which is umptieth: the last in an indefinitely numerous series.
Thursday will mark the one month anniversary of a Hidalgo County judges meeting I covered the day after that park outing. That’s a long time to be longing for brighter days.
While I haven’t yet navigated the impact these four weeks have had on me personally, I do know this: Are we tired? Yes.
Will we stop reporting?
The answer is no.
Editor’s note: The coronavirus pandemic has changed everyday life across the Rio Grande Valley. To document that change, The Monitor is publishing personal accounts from journalists and everyday citizens. These are the stories of ordinary life in an extraordinary time. If you have a story to share, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.