10 Things We Might Actually Miss About the Pandemic
(or maybe just seven)
Things are definitely looking up. I hesitate to say we’re getting back to normal because who can say what is normal? The rigors of a global pandemic, however, are behind us and the immediate future is looking a bit more familiar.
As I’ve been looking forward, though, I’ve had occasional twinges of a feeling I struggle to identify. I wouldn’t really call it nostalgia, because I don’t have what you would call “fond” memories of the pandemic. Even so, now and then I run across some little thing that I remember as “not-so-bad” about the 2020 adult version of being grounded. Compiling a mental list of such thoughts, I realized I had the makings of a listicle.
“Listicle,” of course, is a portmanteau combining the words “list” and “article.” Listicles proliferate on the Internet; you can’t glance at Facebook without coming across a couple. They are often used as click-bait, which is a ploy to entice a reader to view a linked piece of content. Sometimes click-bait is used for phishing and other deceptive practices, so it has a bad reputation that has spilled over onto listicles.
Listicles have been around since long before the Internet, though. They’ve been a magazine staple since I was a teenager reading “Ten Ways to Know if Your Boyfriend is Cheating” in Seventeen. Many in journalism consider them junk content, but our editor is a good sport and okayed my idea. So here we go with what we might actually miss about the pandemic, in listicle form...
- Traffic, or rather the lack thereof. It was so easy to get around when there was nowhere to go. Traditionally, it’s hard to drive through the area around Richmond Road and I-30 and maintain your love for your fellow human beings. For months it was a breeze to navigate, but lately that’s all changed. It has returned to its regular drive-at-your-own-risk craziness. I liked it a lot better the other way.
- Avoidance of politics. When we weren’t getting together in groups, it was easy to escape getting drawn into a political discussion, provided you stayed off of social media. It was great for people like me who never intend to get into politics but step right off into them in spite of ourselves. The very first time we attended an event this spring I found myself regrettably involved in a political conversation. Later I felt irritated in a way that I never felt after spending the evening watching Dateline. I probably need to work on my kindergarten “plays well with others” skills.
- Pandemic makeup. I never stopped wearing makeup because when I don’t wear makeup, I can’t shake the feeling that I’m taking a sick day. With nobody looking at me other than my husband and myself, however, I wore an abbreviated version of it that didn’t include concealer, eyeliner or any of the fancy stuff. Lipstick was out of the question under those masks. My whole routine was easy and took about eight minutes. I miss it, but the fact remains that I look less tired with a dab of concealer and a little extra effort. So, there’s that.
- Church in pajamas. It’s really great to be back to in-person church; there’s such power in corporate worship. Online church, though, offered several advantages. We never had to miss, even when we were out of town. We could sleep late, get in a morning walk, and still make it to Sunday school on time. Showers weren’t necessary, and I could work the Sunday crossword puzzle during the sermon. (My pastor knows I’m just kidding about that last thing.)
- Jigsaw puzzles. Speaking of puzzles, how about those jigsaw puzzle posts that were all over Facebook? We took the bait and got hooked, finally finishing the one that had been sitting on our game table for almost two years and moving on to several more. Obviously, we can all still work on jigsaw puzzles in our spare time, but will we do it? I did find it fun and relaxing, and a good way to keep my hands busy while I watched Dateline.
- Freedom from meetings. I called my sister yesterday and got that automatic “In a meeting” text that was once so familiar. I guess I’ll have to get used to it again. It was nice not trying to reach people who were in meetings, and even nicer not being the one stuck in meetings. My grandchildren don’t go to meetings, but they do go to piano lessons, dance lessons and soccer practice. All of those things have resumed and finding time to Facetime is back to being tricky. Ah, normal life.
- Good health. Never have I ever gone for such a long time without having a cold. A family practice doctor told me he didn’t see a single case of flu last year. Masks, hand-washing and social distancing are apparently handy ways to stop the spread of all kinds of germs.
I’m stopping at just seven because there truly aren’t many things I (or anybody) will miss about the pandemic. You can compare none of the things listed above with the ability to mingle with friends and family, not to mention get on an airplane and actually go somewhere. Life is a lot more fun in a group. COVID-19, here’s hoping we are bidding you a not-so-fond but final farewell. This calls for a group hug!