The Pandemic Made Me Do It

We all have a list like this.

Things the pandemic made me do that I wouldn’t have done otherwise:

  • Read some truly long books. Don’t get me wrong: I would have been reading a lot anyway. It’s just what I do. But since I knew I was going to be home more than usual, I dipped into some true doorstoppers, such as David W. Blight’s Pulitzer Prize winning bio Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom. The only downside was that when people asked how many books I’d read since going into quarantine, I had to explain why I was still on my first.

  • Shattered a bottle of blue nail polish in my bathroom and tracked blue footprints through half the house while cleaning it up. Okay, I can’t blame the pandemic for that one. That’s just on me.

  • Bonded with some college students. I haven’t mentioned this online elsewhere, but since late spring (when colleges and universities sent kids home early to finish their semesters through distance learning), I’ve had two displaced twentysomethings staying in my studio apartment with me. We keep to our own schedules during the week, but on Sunday nights we’ve been watching shows together. Thus far, we’ve barreled our way through some BBC miniseries, alternately swooning and mocking as the situation requires, while indulging in butter-slathered pretzel bread straight from the oven and towering ice cream cones mashed together with a rice paddle because I don’t own an ice cream scoop. A truly delightful summer development I never would have foreseen.

  • Spent actual evenings in. As someone who typically spends ten or fourteen consecutive evenings out before taking a rare night in, this has been a dramatic pivot. And I kind of like it. Don’t get me wrong: I’m still an extrovert. I miss social gatherings. I miss people. I miss talking intensely straight into their faces until their skin starts to peel back. But here in this new normal, having eased into the idea of evenings in, I’ve come to understand how truly unsustainable my former scheduling habits were. Will this realization affect my lifestyle longterm? Only time will tell. But I truly hope so.