I’m convinced that the speed at which each year passes by increases the older I get. It seems like I’ve barely finished taking a chainsaw to the Christmas tree and vacuuming up all of the scattered pine needles when it’s time to pull out the sandals and sunscreen. Then, just when I think I’ve finally found shorts that fit, Pumpkin Spice Lattes are back on the menu and it’s time to pull out the fuzzy sweaters and make a big pot of stew.
This year has been the exception to the rule.
By my estimation it has lasted just a few days short of forever. The conference I attended in Phoenix in February–where the weather was unseasonably cold and we all shivered our way through the outdoor meals–seems like it happened years ago. Had I known what was looming on the horizon just a few short weeks later, I’d have added a few extra days to the trip and enjoyed the amenities of the resort hotel just a little more thoroughly.
Like many other folks, I’ve spent these last 8+ months mainly within the confines of my own four walls, sheltering in place and trying not to turn into some kind of personal super-spreader. Replacing my previous hour-long commute with a twenty step walk from the bedroom to the computer has been a joy (and a money saver). Attending meetings (audio only) in pajamas has been a delight. And, if I’m honest, not having to listen to my co-worker who has a tendency to talk to herself while she works has been a bit of a relief.
It has been a bit lonely though.
I may be an introvert, but it turns out even introverts need actual human contact on occasion, and I’m not sure trips to the grocery store actually count for that. Fortunately, Zoom and FaceTime have stepped up to be major pandemic players here in the shelter-zone. I have been able to attend virtual conferences, seminars, webinars, and even a virtual wine-tasting event (they sent actual wine and snacks for that). During those hours when I previously would have been commuting, I’ve learned all kinds of new things relevant to my day job and explored outside interests that I never seem to have had time for before. I’ve seen the flowers bloom in the back yard and have been fascinated by the hummingbird who seems to have a real fondness for the potted plants outside my window. On the family front, there are weekly FaceTime calls so we can pretend we’re talking together in the same room, and rare socially-distant visits with takeout meals. It’s not ideal, but I’m lucky and I know it.
One thing that has really made these past months just a little less challenging has been humor. Author Julia London posts #BadJokeTuesdays on her Facebook page. Things like:
I always wanted to be a Gregorian Monk, but I never had the chants.
I hired a handyman and gave him a list. When I got home, only #1, 3, & 5 were done. Turns out, he only does odd jobs!
Groan worthy, perhaps. But they to make me smile and gives me a reason to look forward to Tuesdays.
I have occasionally found humor unusual places, like yesterday’s National Park Service Facebook page, which had these two images:
I’m not sure why, but that “Gladys” image cracks me up still. Obviously whoever is doing the posting on that page these days has a good sense of humor. And after months of pandemic and politics and turmoil, I think humor may be just the medicine I need.