#WFH Diaries: Tristen Norman of Getty Images
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc globally, we're checking in with the people in the creative industry to see how they're doing. Here, we catch up with Tristen Norman of Getty Images.
Give us a one-line bio of yourself.
Troublemaker, pop-culture junkie, amateur art snob and all-around life enthusiast from Flatbush, Brooklyn.
Where are you living right now, and who's with you?
Living alone in Harlem. I actually moved from Brooklyn to Harlem on March 13, right before we got the guidance to reduce movement in NYC and work from home. Having to move out of my storage unit in Washington, D.C. (I lived there back in 2017, and when I got this job at Getty Images, I left my large apartment stuff stored there while I stayed with family in Brooklyn) required some logistical acrobatics, made all the more complicated by the panic and uncertainty surrounding the pandemic. But all turned out fine in the end.
What's your work situation like at the moment?
I am fortunate enough to have one of those jobs where I'm able to work from home. I'd originally planned to toss my current desk and live without a new one for a while, but that idea went out the window once I actually settled in and realized this would be going on for a while. Not being able to do my usual IRL thrifting and random furniture buys has been a bummer with decorating in the way I want, but I've been making do with this little setup in my living room, which gets a massive amount of light.
Describe your socializing strategy.
FaceTime, FaceTime, FaceTime! I have never FaceTimed this regularly in my life, nor do I usually abide unannounced FaceTime calls, but it helps. I also have several active, debauched group chats going. Rays of hope and shenanigans!
What are you reading?
A bunch of things: the spring issue of Domino magazine, Blue Nights by Joan Didion, and nearly every single article the New York Times is putting out.
What are you watching?
The better question is probably what am I not watching! I love going to the movie theater, so I've made it a point on weekends when I have more time to watch as many movies as I can. This weekend I watched Portrait of a Lady on Fire, I Am Love and Brittany Runs a Marathon. During the week, it's mostly TV since that's more digestible with my schedule. I've been re-watching Sex and the City and High Fidelity (fifth time re-watching since it came out on Valentine's Day this year—yikes?) and just started the new season of Ozark.
What are you listening to?
As with movies and TV, I guess I have a schedule in terms of what I listen to while at home as well. In the mornings, I listen to podcasts—either news ones like The Daily and On The Media or more playful ones like How Neal Feel, To L and Back or Keep It. In the afternoons and evenings, I listen to music. Little Dragon's new album New Me, Same Us, Dinah Washington's Essentials playlist on Apple and High Fidelity's Spotify playlist are all giving me life.
How are you staying fit?
That's funny. I've been thinking quite a bit about this, the proliferation of online workout routines, tips for "staying active" and the inherent privilege of that sort of conversation. It feels luxurious! It just isn't something I've considered a priority personally, though I understand why it may be for others. I'm mostly concerned about staying healthy overall, rather than losing out on my physical routine. While living alone could theoretically be less hazardous since I'm exposed to fewer people, my mental health, my spiritual health and my emotional health all feel taxed by the necessary, but enforced, solitude.
I'm also extremely concerned about my friends who are still working because they're considered "essential," concerned about the balance for my friends with young children, concerned about my parents who are over 50, concerned about my grandparents who are over 80, concerned about my sister who is a travel nurse and recently finished a contract in New Orleans to take a contract in Westchester County, concerned about everyone in my life—directly or indirectly—in my old neighborhood in Brooklyn with not enough rooms to isolate if necessary. I'm also concerned especially about my pregnant colleagues, high-risk colleagues, my recovering colleagues and their extended communities.
That's the balance I'm trying to maintain, so I suppose the better question would be, "How are you taking care of your health and well-being?" I'd answer that by saying, I've cooked more at home in the last two weeks than I have in the last three months. As a native New Yorker, I have always walked wherever mass transit could not take me, which these days is pretty much everywhere. My usually insane work travel schedule didn't allow for stillness, and now I'm relishing being still, in being quiet, in doing only the things that give me pleasure, joy, peace or the right combination of all three. Finally, I'm staying in touch with everyone I can, making wellness pacts with my friends who, like me, are living alone away from immediate family and having a laugh with all of the people who matter most in my life. That's how I'm trying to stay well.
Have you taken up a hobby?
Not sure if very diligent unpacking and furniture assembly is considered a hobby, but if yes, that's it.
Any tips for getting necessities?
I'm pretty committed to going outside to buy necessities in the early afternoon during the week, post-morning rush and pre-evening rush.
An awkward moment since all this started.
Large furniture deliveries have been VERY awkward. Not sure if I should chat the delivery people in my home up, stay far away, offer them hand sanitizer. A combination of all three? Stressful.
Best work email you got since all this started.
The one to do this.
An aha! moment since all this started.
Wow, it only takes two minutes to make my bed.
What's your theory on how this is going to play out?
No idea, but I hope we're all better at being humans in the end.