A year ago today, the World Health Organization officially declared that the Novel Coronavirus officially reached pandemic levels. Although various experts and pundits were already saying this, the official stamp “pandemic” seemed to make it all real.
I vividly remember where I was at the time. I was driving down 27th street, going by the GFS–basically a store that sells massive quantities of food. Fearing the worst, I made a sharp turn into the lot. I quickly stocked up on what seemed like the essentials. They were already out of white rice, so I went for brown, a bunch of dried beans, several industrial size cans of mixed vegetables, and a ten-pound bag of shredded cheese. Because I am from Wisconsin, dire straits call for large amounts of shredded cheese.
I can’t say that it really made all that much of a difference. Although there were shortages on any number of things, cheese (shredded or otherwise) was never one of them. It seems like a long, long time ago that we hunkered down, trying to figure out how to leave the house, refueling the car only once in a month for under $20, and spending more time together as a family doing nothing than we had since the last maternity leave. I didn’t think so at the time, but in retrospect, it really was kind of nice. Sure, there was the overwhelming existential dread, but we played a ton of board games, and now I’ve seen all of the Marvel movies. So there’s that.
It’s so strange to be living through history. All of this momentous activity, and still I’m yelling for people to move their dirty dishes from the sink to the dishwasher. It’s the little things.
Now that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, I can look back at some of those early, knee-jerk reactions and kind of smile. Not laugh, not yet. But a sort of a winsome grimace is within my power. My early hopes for a common-good approach embraced by all kind of fell flat. But I’ve learned to find grace in my frustration, calm amidst the insecurity.
We ended up donating the beans, rice, and vegetables. The girls hate beans, and we prefer white rice and fresh vegetables. But we ate the heck out of that ten pounds of shredded cheddar. What a year it’s been.