HOW DID YOU PANDEMIC?

Were you bored?

It seems like the pandemic might be heading toward over.

We’re twice vaccinated, and as soon as my daughter is eligible, she will be vaccinated too.

I spent a lot of this pandemic time diving deeper into print news than I have ever done before. When things are unstable in the world, I like to be informed; it is how I keep calm. The news may not always be calming, but knowing what the situation is, good or bad, makes me feel better. Some poor folks suffered from my WAPO obsession.

One of the things I noticed over and over in the news was people not at their best, in a way that got them into the news, so really not at their best, and blaming it on how tough the pandemic is. Recently I read about how a guy refused a temp-check @ Disney, and blamed it on the pandemic being tough, and basically tanked his vacation over it because he wanted things to be like they were more than he wanted his vacation.

When I read about incidents like this, I came away with the same thought, over and over, we are lucky.

I believe that, the three of us, are lucky, my husband and my daughter and me. We are lucky #1 because we kept our jobs. We are lucky because we have things to do with our time in addition to jobs and school. We have projects, passions, hobbies, pets, and a friendship between us, aside from our familial relationship, and we are able to keep ourselves occupied, and keep going, and keep each other going, because of these gifts. We enjoy each other. We enjoy puzzles; we enjoy board games. We enjoy personal projects apart from each other. We read. We read together and apart. We study. We work. We had my mom nearby. We were able to help her. We lost my brother in a pandemic-adjacent-way, and he is on my mind all the time. To lose is tough. To lose and lose goodbye too is tougher. So many of us in the same boat in that way. But, truly, I count us lucky.

I just cannot imagine what we would have done if all we could do was wait and want to go back to life as it was before, if all we could have done was miss what had been before, if all our words and thoughts were complaints. I know more than a few people who have a lot of complaints. They have my sympathy, but not my full-understanding, I confess. I don’t want to live my life that way. When I am full of complaints I feel them pull the corners of my mouth down. I feel my mood go dark. I feel my muscles calcify. I don’t like it.

I expect that we will see more, not less, pandemics in our more and more global world. I expect that we will see more, not less change in general as people discover a new bravery around being who they are, and challenge our ideas on society and what constitutes “normal” or “acceptable.” And I see people freaking out over Black Lives Matter or Stop Asian Hate, or trans people, and kids, kids who think they know who they are, and we can’t have kids knowing who they are! Listen all that stuff that feels new and weird for those lucky enough to be completely average, to those people I say, that stuff is not going anywhere. And it’s not really new, or weird. It’s always been around. It was just forced underground before. Those different-from-you people have always been here, and you’ve always been fine. Erect all the dams you can, eventually the waters will come rushing through. In the meantime, why not get to know a Black person, or an immigrant, or an Asian person, or a trans person, or a kid who thinks of themself as a them, not a he or a she? See if it hurts you. And those who hate technology, who think only live-and-in-person works, that is probably because it works better for you. As we become even more consumers of technology, school and work will get more reliant on asynchronous work and learning, not less. And I think many people will want alternatives to life in a classroom or life in an office. And, we may need to have them.

This pandemic has been relatively short. If a longer one were to come our way, what would you do? How would you make it? These are the questions I ask myself. In some ways, this is like the toaster starting a small fire in the kitchen. It’s enough to scare you, to put you on notice. Not to at all diminish the people who died or those who lost people due to the virus. No, I mean the rest of us. Those of us who were just lonely, or bored, or inconvenienced. And those of us who were really unlucky, who lost jobs, who got sick and made it through, who worked front line. If I had worked front line for a little bit of money during this I know that I would have learned that I do not want to work front line for a little bit of money. I’d be thinking about job alternatives, or school.

I worked for a man once who taught fire-safety and he told me every time he ever took his family to a hotel, the first thing they did was find their way out in case of a fire.

Hmmmm…

It’s not a bad way to approach life. Have a plan for the worst, but expect the best.

I know I want to change things in my life after this. How about you?

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