What the coronavirus gave me

  1. Renewed gratitude that I don’t drink and don’t much care for eating out.
  2. No need to dress up. The realization that I only really wear jeans and black polo shirts and everything else is wishful thinking.
  3. A much better visceral sense of exactly how long six feet is, because human beings really really want to be closer than six feet when they’re talking to you. They want to be closer than six feet behind the next person when they’re in line at the store. They think that being closer than six feet is absolutely okay if they’re moving fast or if they think they aren’t sick.
  4. A better sun-damage prevention routine. The mask covers most of the places on my face where I should have been wearing sunblock.
  5. An appreciation of being able to breathe.
  6. A great admiration for my sociable, extroverted husband, because despite his ferocious need for interaction, he is staying safe and working from home. We bought him a rowing machine and he announces he’s “going to the gym” and closes his door.
  7. A regular daily exercise routine. Since my husband doesn’t leave the house any more, I walk at least an hour a day outside. Sometimes two hours. Or three. I have been married for many years, and I attribute our longevity to my ability to get the heck away from him when I find myself getting irritable.
  8. An appalled realization that joggers (and I was one for a long time) are certifiable. There they are, sweating grandly, often half clothed, trotting along the sidewalk in the roasting heat, wheezing “Excuse me” as they come within six inches of you. They are in a dreadful hurry. They will run through a street protest or a riot. They are on a mission to Get It Done.
  9. Project completion. We just changed Internet providers and dumped cable and the landline finally, after years of waffling. My study is a marvel of orderliness. I have been working my way through the basement again and putting things out for passersby to take on trash day. I vacuum and sweep. And wash dishes. My closet is completely organized.
  10. A great appreciation for timing. My grandson was due March 5 and decided to be born January 28. That meant he was out of the ICU and back home before the shutdown. Also, I started growing my hair long a couple of years ago and it got to the stage where I don’t need it trimmed regularly just before the shutdown.
  11. A deeper appreciation of statistical information and graphs. I calculate risk everywhere I go, and if I decide the risk of getting the virus is less than getting hit by a car, I’m doing all right. This is not a good thing, mind you, since I am highly distracted and I constantly walk into the street while reading or texting. The drug store is relatively okay if it’s sparsely attended and everyone is wearing masks, and so is my mailbox place. Statistically, however, I do not belong in the local health food chain, because people behave like fools in there. Mass transit is scary. I won’t be going back to church any time soon, or in-person inside meetings, or for that matter in-person outside meetings because people desperately want to be closer than six feet and besides I’m a little deaf.
  12. A weekly routine for cooking meals and getting groceries. Before all this happened, I bought a little something every day and then lugged it home. Now I order delivery once a week and plan my meals.
  13. The realization that I don’t really need my car for much, that I don’t need to shop for much, and that our national surrender to consumerism, a service economy, and a social life built on entertainment has meant our noble citizens are willing to die for haircuts, massages, pool parties, and getting drunk with friends.
  14. An appreciation of just how instinctive, superstitious, and marvelously ignorant most people are. Including my friends. Including me. A friend announced yesterday that it was okay to talk maskless and close outside because of the fresh air. We haven’t believed in the medical magic of fresh air since the 1940s. I went to an elementary school with immense windows, which in the 1800s were kept wide open all year long. The students wore their winter coats at their desks. I’m all for fresh air, but it isn’t magical. Well, it is, but it’s not actually anti-viral.

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