A disjointed, disorganized look through a chaotic year…
What was 2020?
The year started like any other of adulthood. Work, work, work.. Impeachment (remember that?) Can we not get this criminal out of our White House? Apparently we can not. Then hearing about a virus in China. I became concerned about it in late January. Because my college roommate works in public health, I was aware of N95 masks. I decided to order a few, just to make myself feel better, we certainly wouldn’t need them. Pre-pandemic they were readily available. Contactors use them, so you can buy them at Home Depot, Lowe’s, any hardware store. But they weren’t available, anywhere. Not in stores, not to order online, not from any stores in my area. One store offered them for a mere $275 delivery fee. Even Amazon didn’t have them, but possibly available in two weeks. Even Amazon! I texted my sister, a nurse, to see what she thought. Someone had to be making massive purchases for the entire commerce system to have no availability. My sister talked me off the ledge, but later told me people stole shipments of masks from her hospitals loading dock. But I knew this would be serious. Six weeks later when my office closed (the Monday before the big close: the day the NBA cancelled it’s season, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson tested positive, and Trump gave a pathetic, terrifying speech), I wasn’t surprised. I’ve been home since, and lucky to be able to work from home. Very lucky. The day we were told to take what we needed and go home, I said goodbye to a co-worker with: I don’t know when I’ll see you again. He looked up, surprised. Nearly ten months later, we still haven’t seen each other, except on Zoom with no real timeline until that changes.
New and exciting ways to live:
Curb side delivery.
A year ago I don’t know what I would have made of that phrase. Now I can provide feedback on the best approach to it: have designated spaces with numbers, pull in, text the space number to you and someone comes out with the order. Perfection (ahem Best Buy, Total Wine). I don’t want to download an app that insists on knowing my location, and then once it does tells me I need to be at the store to do curbside (hello! I’m at the store), then errors out and insists I come inside to get the order where I have to wait in a customer service line for longer than I would have spend shopping. Atrocious, BJ’s. It was the same customer service line for everything. I don’t want to spend 5 minutes listening to the attempt to upsell a credit card to the person in front of me who is renewing their membership. That is why I did curbside. Also thumbs down on stores who didn’t even do curbside, instead strictly limit the numbers inside (which is good, but not as good as curbside): Trader Joe’s, or only offer delivery, Roach Brothers. Roach Brothers is about 3 minutes from my house and where I would prefer to shop, despite their poor frozen vegetable selection, but something about asking a store so close to my house to deliver stops me. I ordered from them once, in the spring, but never again. I did shop there in the free for all, low COVID-19 (spell check told me it must be capitalized!) rates, summer, but not since. So sorry… your fresh produce is the best, but do improve the frozen selection.
Hikes and Walks as social life
I’ve always loved being outside, but my social life was dinners, cocktails and shows. This year it was hikes, walks, and even on one occasion, goats. In the spring, during my very first fearful attempt to leave the house, I walked with a friend a golf course, still not open for golf, which kept goats. I have no idea why. Do they help the grass cut?
I made it a mission to go to parks and other outside areas I hadn’t been prior. I joined the Trustees of the Reservations and started working my way though many of these places that I didn’t know existed before. I went to the Blue Hills, which I have been very aware of and loved, so many more times than any other year. I traveled to beaches I usually didn’t. I saw things I never would have seen.
That I would attend one and only one show I this year, is stunning. Even that one, I decided last minute to do.
Online creativity, from Bill Janovitz’s spring happy hour’s (viewable on Buffalo Tom’s facebook) to Josh Kantor (Seventh Inning Stretch), to whole conferences online, book festivals online, political fundraisers with the casts of your favorite shows online, my whole life online.
On the last day of 2020, my sweetest friend messaged me who now lives halfway around the world that she had been listening to the very same artist that, long loved, that I also happened to pick up listening to again the day before. “Remember when we saw her on Boston Common?”. Kismet. Synchronicity. Must be the moon. Ok, it’s Stevie Nicks, who has been a presence my whole life. (Sara, you’re the poet in my heart. Never change, don’t you ever stop. It’s never gone. It always matters what for. When you build your house, I will come by).
They happened, I guess. No fans, so weird. Mookie and Tom left Boston. Mookie won a World Series, good for you, dude! This is first year that I can remember that I didn’t go to Fenway and I can’t even talk about that or letting Mookie go.
My goal was to primarily read books I already owned, but I couldn’t really read this year. Eventually I discovered that I could manage audio books, so I did that though I don’t remember them anywhere near as well. So my reading goal in 2021 will once again be to read books I own.
An orange Cheeto, narcissistic man baby took way too much of my focus this year. Twenty days from now he’ll be ejected from our White House and I hope never to think about him again.
Ruth Bader Ginsberg, John Lewis, Eddie Valen, Alex Trebeck, Dawn Wells, Charlie Pride, David Prowse, Sean Connery, Jim Lehrer, Helen Reddy, Olivia De Havilland, Regin Philbin, Peter Green, Charlie Daniels, Carl Reiner, Joe Morgan, John Thompson, Kobe Bryant (yes, that was this year), Fred Willard, Jerry Stiller, Mary Pratt, Bill Withers, Kenny Rogers, James Lipton, Neil Peart all left us, along with 337, 419 (latest CDC number of this writing) in the US of Covid, 1,798,050 worldwide (latest per WHO), most of whom we will never hear of, but who mattered to someone.
In the end this year was exhausting, terrifying, endless, full of poor role models, but nothing devastating happened to me, and that maybe that is all I can ask for, so I express my gratitude.