Welcome. Yesterday I noticed a colleague tweeting about the things he’s been missing during the pandemic that surprise him: his daily commute on the subway, making small talk with strangers. Of course we’re all missing things these days: people, traditions, normalcy. Of course we miss hugs, live theater, sporting events, dinner parties, going to the movies. It’s not surprising that filmmakers miss Cannes — many of us longed to attend a glittering film festival on the Riviera long before the pandemic, and we’re not even in the movie business.
But we’re also missing things we thought it would be impossible to long for: the partner we see 24/7, a day spent at the office, that morning commute we once disdained. Those of us who have been staying at home, working or not, these past months, are noticing that even the elements of our daily lives we may have found irksome or negligible have their own particular allure. The company that provides nuts to American Airlines is even selling their elite status nut mix to travelers who miss their mile-high snacks.
I never thought I’d miss tights, those constricting, girdle-adjacent body huggers that I’d dutifully pull on each morning and peel off gratefully each night. I feel nostalgic for tights lately, but I think what I really miss is the audience for tights, people for whom to be presentable from the waist down. Those people could be friends or family, colleagues or strangers on a train. People in front of whom I’d never wear pajama bottoms.
News that a vaccine could be available to some before the end of 2020 has allowed us to think about those things we miss and when they might return. Of course, the advent of the vaccine will not mean an immediate end to the pandemic. It will take months for it to roll out and to be available to individuals across the country. Some people’s health will continue to suffer from aftereffects of Covid-19, and the virus has taken its toll in many other ways: loved ones lost, vanished jobs, education disrupted. But the potential vaccine offers a glimpse of a post-pandemic future, the first suggestion that there might be an “after time” to the pandemic, in addition to the fondly remembered “before time.”
What are you looking forward to about when the nation opens up? What’s on your list of things you’d like to do first? Hop on a plane to visit your mother across the country? Hug your grandchildren for the first time? Sit in a classroom with other students? Fill out this form and let us know.
I’m looking forward to gathering with my Cookbook Club, a group of friends and friends-of-friends who got together at someone’s home once a month for a potluck, each dish prepared from the same cookbook. We’ve been texting each other photos of our kitchen exploits, but thumbs-upping a photo of a sweet potato cheesecake is hardly the same as digging into it at someone else’s dining table, surrounded by pals.
Until then, I’m thinking about this story in Wired by Gretchen McCulloch about “proximity chat” platforms that make virtual parties less onerous.
I’m improving my typing skills while rereading “Anne of Green Gables.”
And I’m listening to Indian classical music curated by time of day via this cool app, Ragya.