How I make it work: Ray Heigemeir

May 26, 2020
Ray Heigemeir
Ray Heigemeir

Ray Heigemeir, Public Services Librarian, Music Library

Where are you sheltering, and how are you?

I am in my petite one-bedroom apartment in the Castro/Upper Market neighborhood of San Francisco. Coping with “cabin fever” but I make a point of going out for short or longer walks every day. A challenge, as my only options are uphill or downhill, often pushing head first into the fog belt.

What has your experience been like working remotely?

Work from home has its quirks!  My apartment is in a 1902 building with somewhat “vintage” electrical outlets.  This limits what sort of modern equipment I can plug in (e.g., no large monitor unless I unplug the fridge) but my wireless is holding up, for which I am grateful. I usually work at a desk in the bedroom, but I have to charge up the laptop in the kitchen/pantry area. I also have a new upstairs neighbor who occasionally does vocal exercises, which makes me smile, because that’s something I might hear when I’m in the Music building.

Charging area in the kitchen

(charging area in the kitchen)

What sorts of things have you been working on?

Among other things I am relinking audio files for the Bach complete organ works recital series from 2009-2010.  The files were migrated to the SDR. I’ll have a blog post out to reintroduce that resource when my labors are complete. Shout out to Geoff Willard for making the hundreds of files available! I have also been doing individual training on aspects of the website (blogging, creating People pages, etc), and zooming instruction with the Music 42 history students and the ITALIC class.

Has anything proven to be more or less of a challenge than you anticipated?

Trying to do everything on a laptop has been hard, as has fighting the urge to cut my own hair. Navigating the masked, socially-distanced grocery experience and preparing three meals every day turns out to be less fun than it sounds. I’m trying not to snack, but, fair warning--if you are a bag of Nacho Doritos, my apartment is not your safe space.

What do you do to differentiate between “work” time and “home” time?

I stick to a schedule, and I avoid the computer on the weekends. I have a standing morning coffee zoom with friends, and that brings a sense of normalcy and perspective to the start of the day.

What would you most like to do when you return to campus?

I want to see familiar, friendly faces! I want to have lunch with my peeps at Arbuckle Cafe. I want to get back to my manuscripts digitization project which was moving forward at a good pace. I want to see the jackrabbits loping by my window.

Do you have any recommendations for viewing/listening/reading to enrich the at-home experience?

I just finished Jia Tolentino’s Trick Mirror, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments is up next. I listen to a lot of piano music (Bach, Scarlatti, Rachmaninoff) and old Philip Glass works. I thought Mrs. America (streaming) is worth it, and I somehow fell into Tiger King which turned out to be absorbing, lunatic-crazy, and very much not what I had anticipated. It was like Shakespeare with mullets and ill-advised tattoos.

Final thoughts?

Be kind to yourself and to others. Cut people slack. We’re going to get to the other side of this stronger and more flexible than ever. Hopefully we all have a renewed appreciation for what it means to be essential. I’m so glad to be in the Bay Area!

Fog in the neighborhood