It’s hard to find a silver lining in a pandemic. The cards are out as to how we as individuals arrive at the other end as more centered and introspective. We all agree on a more solid appreciation of home and hearth, food, and the importance of socialization. Jokes abound about natural hair color, living in the same four gym outfits, doing our own house cleaning, and gaining weight/ or losing weight with extra time to swim and hike. I seek out structure walking with rotating buddies and attaching (as never before) to Netflix and “Shark Tank.”
My mother said, “The things that you worry about are not usually what gets you.” Last high holiday season, no one could have predicted our “new normal” outside the realm of vision. The pandemic has redefined our thinking about time. Initially we considered a 90-day shutdown experience as unthinkable. What if we knew up front that it might be a year?
Taking for granted living in a multi-family residential community, I had an enlightening experience. Weeks ago, in 90-degree weather and the preciousness of food storage, my refrigerator/freezer crashed. Panicking in the pandemic, homeowners are buying up secondary appliances to keep in the garage for overflow. I found that stock was backed up for weeks. A silver lining was the appreciation and value of neighbors. I had three neighbors storing my melting food. Another three rotated ice deliveries. My young family neighbors showed up in masks with insulation and ice blocks. I texted them once at 10 p.m. to leave one frozen ice cream bar at their front door.
Think of William Wordsworth’s sonnet (1807) “The World Is Too Much with Us” lamenting man’s connection to materialism and away from nature. Somewhere in the middle, we will find our balance. One day we will again shop for lipstick. For now, it doesn’t do well under masks.
Marcia Caller Jaffe is a regular contributor to the Atlanta Jewish Times.