Ten Things I've Learned During the Pandemic
Ten Things I’ve Learned During the Pandemic
I’m sure you’ll agree it’s been a very strange last few months.
1. I don’t know about you, but this pandemic has certainly taught me a thing or two, starting with a realization that the country is going to emerge from this crisis more divided than ever before.
And you know why. It’s because this president shows no interest in any kind of public good. He takes no accountability for what’s happening, blaming everyone but himself when anything goes wrong. He attacks those who disagree with him. And he is incapable of taking in new information and speaking honestly with the public. As a result, he’s squandered the opportunity to unify Americans in a grand alliance against the coronavirus.
For someone who so desperately wants to be liked, he can’t see the opportunity in front of his orange colored face. Therefore, those who love Trump will continue to see him as a fearless leader and those who loathe Trump will think of him as nothing more than a quack apothecary.
2. Okay, now let’s talk about some rouge colored faces. I mean drag queens. During this pandemic, have you noticed how prevalent they are on social media? And so many! They’re funny and irreverent, that’s for sure, but I also can’t help but notice they’ve been the antithesis of Donald Trump. They send out courageous, positive, and hopeful photos, messages, and videos to remind us just how creative and resilient we can be—and that no matter what, the show will go on. Bravo indeed!
3. I’ve learned how to cope with the whole mask predicament. There are N95 masks and medical masks and homemade masks and none of them are 100 percent effective. I’ve decided, therefore, to simply sport a red bandana and wear it cowboy style. They say it’s not as effective as a mask, but something is better than nothing and it’s the only way I can mask up without fogging up my glasses. Plus, I think it looks dashing. I’m just hoping the gay hankie code does not apply.
4 .Back to resilience for a moment…. I’ve had to master a new recipe to make a bloody mary cocktail. For some reason, there is no Clamato® juice to be found in the local grocery stores. A lack of toilet paper and ground beef I can understand. But Clamato® juice? Seriously? After weeks of experimenting, I’ve finally landed upon a suitable blend of 75 percent real tomato juice and 25 percent Zing-Zang bottled mix. Add a big squirt of fresh lemon juice and a couple of olives. It’s not too bad in a pinch.
5. I’ve also gained a new appreciation for the artichoke. Even when other vegetable bins are nearly picked clean, there’s always a pile of fresh artichokes available in the grocery produce department. Did you know the standard green globe artichoke, aka the French artichoke, is a thistle? It’s the flower bud to be precise and if allowed to bloom, the violet blue flower would measure up to seven inches across. Seems Zeus turned some minor goddess into an artichoke in a fit of anger. Who knew the artichoke had that kind of history? Now it had my attention.
But what I’ve particularly come to appreciate, besides the nutty, asparagus taste, is the ritual of preparing them. Prepping, steaming, and eating them leaf by leaf can fill up a good 90 minutes of time on a dull weekday evening.
6. Chase that with a sleeping pill and a glass of rye whiskey and I can say goodbye to another day, whichever day it may be. I can’t keep track any more.
7. I’ve come to the realization that I should never cut my own hair.
8. Or use a cheese grater as a foot file while giving myself a pedicure.
9. I have mastered the weed whacker. And, I’m quite obsessed with a new pair of iron forged gardening scissors. My boxwoods have never looked so good.
10. The final thing learned is how very interesting I find it that people are generally okay with a little humor in the middle of a global pandemic. I’m sure you’ve seen the hundreds of jokes, memes, and funny video songs. How many #toosoon comments have you seen? Heavy moments are often leavened by using humor as a way to cope. I suppose it all comes down to a question of taste. People are making fun of social distancing and masks, not deaths and overworked medical workers, so that seems okay. The best humor, some will say, comes from a place that’s truthful and a bit dark, or in this case from what’s mundane.
Thanks for listening and take care of yourselves.
Rich Barnett is the author of The Discreet Charms of a Bourgeois Beach Town, and Fun with Dick and James.