LOOKING FOR FUN IN THE PANDEMIC
One of the things I hate most about the pandemic (besides the fact that it’s killed millions around the world) is that it’s made it hard for us to have fun.
Remember the old, pre-pandemic days?
Remember when we used to go maskless to restaurants and never think about how close we were to the others seated in the restaurant, never worried about whether they were vaccinated? Remember when we would just walk smiling into our favorite Italian restaurant, and the waitress who we’ve known for years would greet us and show us to our favorite table, and she was maskless and smiling too, and we all existed in a world where everybody was smiling and welcoming and warm.
If you went back to that restaurant today, probably everybody would be masked and anxious, and you might have to wait for a while to be seated because the restaurant is so short staffed. Or what’s worse, the restaurant might have closed down a couple weeks ago – like my favorite restaurant just did – because people had stopped coming and COVID has taken out the staff.
And do you remember going to movie theaters and bars and libraries and museums and bowling alleys and churches? Do you remember visiting friends? Getting a hug when you came to their door? Sitting down on a couch with them? Sitting so close – with no sense of social distancing – that you could actually put your hand out and pat them on the back when they said something really funny?
It’s been two years now since we first heard about the strange virus that was causing Wuhan in China to go into lockdown. And the news hasn’t gotten better. The Delta variant and the Omicron variant have seen to that. As of this afternoon, there have been 66.5 million cases reported in the US, and 851,000 deaths. That’s a million more cases and a thousand deaths since yesterday when I started thinking about writing this column about fun in the pandemic.
So faced with all this bad news, what can we do to have fun in this pandemic?
I’ll tell you what I’ve discovered. I’ve discovered that watching TV isn’t fun. Maybe it’s different for other people, but sitting there in front of the TV and waiting to laugh at some old movie or jump up with excitement when superheroes start flying around isn't fun for me. I’m still thinking of COVID and all the things I’d rather be doing.
What does give me fun, however, is having my family around, talking about the vacations we took in the old days, looking at photos from a dozen years ago, playing board games with our daughter and her daughter, baking things in the kitchen, watching our 12-year old granddaughter practice her ballet moves.
Those are the things that let me forget for a little while the mess this pandemic has created.
My latest column for the Dziennik Zwiazkowy, the oldest Polish newspaper in America.