Mark Schleusner is a 50-year-old software engineer for the Mayo Clinic, and he’s also on the Rochester School Board. Mark lives in northwest Rochester.

During this time of social isolation brought about by the stay-at-home , Mark sleeps and works in the same room. “My bedroom is a combination bedroom/office, so I’ll spend the bulk of my day there. I’m literally in the same room from about 10 at night until about 5 in the afternoon. Though, I do eat lunch upstairs.”

He says it doesn’t become monotonous because while his body is in that room, his mind is elsewhere.

“While I may be in the bedroom – my mind is on my work so I don’t really realize my environment. I’m thinking it sounds kind of depressing – but mentally I’m not in the room – my mind is working on ideas.”

He says he previously worked at home for five years, while working at IBM, so his transition has been fairly easy.

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Schleusner believes there are pros and cons to most things, including working from home. "I like the casual attire that comes with working from home. Right now I’m in my sweatpants, because it’s comfortable – whereas at work, I’d have a suit on.”

Challenges he faces

“I’m a team lead of eight other engineers and I like to stop by other peoples’ offices and see how they’re doing – and keep that personal relationship with them. It’s not impossible now, it’s just not the same with a text message or an email.”

The social challenges he misses are the common, everyday things.

Like “not getting out on those walks during breaks with a friend – just shooting the breeze and seeing what’s up. Also, just seeing other people. Even now there are times I might just go for a drive – just to see other people. I’ve taken Elton Hills to Broadway, just for a drive. Recently while my daughter and I listened to an audio book, I drove west to Kasson and then north to Minnesota 60 and east to U.S. 52 and back home. We made a one-hour loop.”

Things he misses

“One of the things I do miss is, before this pandemic -- when I’d want something to do -- I’d just go to a store, like Target. I’d just walk around, I’d be around people -- I’d be not at home and it would just give me something to do, to be out in society.”

While he knows he can still go to Target, it doesn’t seem to be the same.

“I do miss being at restaurants, being around other people, trying some good food,” he said.

What food and drink would he seek out if he could eat anything, anywhere, tomorrow?

“I might go to Pittsburgh Blue for a steak and a beer.”

An unforeseen positive

“Another positive is – it’s been easier to keep up on housework. On a break, I will go upstairs and put the dishes away – or clean the living room. When I was downtown, I’d go meet a friend for a walk in the skyway. Now, when I ‘come home’ from work, I don’t have to do those things. It’s actually really nice.”

Lives in Isolation features the stories of people learning about themselves, their families and the world around them as they face the challenge of social isolation. Donny Rowles is a freelance writer who lives in Rochester.