What a difference 60 days can make! Two monthly columns ago, I was admittedly a bit dismissive of the approaching coronavirus pandemic. Then, the state basketball tournament ended. Then, the normal second semester ended for schools. Then, social distancing became a thing. Then toilet paper disappeared. Then, we were told to stay home. Then, we started looking for someone to blame.
Now, the state and country are trying to reopen, whatever that means, and whatever that will look like. Some people believe it is a good idea; others disagree. Only time will tell. But, one thing is clear; everything has changed. What have we learned from all this? Quite honestly, maybe nothing. With the death toll still rising, at least we will be able to go shopping and sit down in restaurants and lie around the beach.
I have a few personal observations about the past 60 days that I would like to pass on to you, the gentle readers of this column.
I appreciate Netflix much more than I used to. I think the programming is much stronger, especially if you don’t mind sex, violence and cussing. I did take in the new Jerry Seinfeld special, “23 Hours to Kill.” If you are a fan, check it out. You won’t be disappointed. I don’t laugh out loud often, but I guffawed several times during his 90 minutes of standup.
I can wear the same pair of pants three days in a row, and nobody notices or cares. I do, however, recommend changing underwear daily. Personal hygiene is still important. Even if you are working from home, you don’t want to be smelling yourself.
I have discovered that good students will be good students, no matter what the circumstances. Conversely, unmotivated students will remain unmotivated. My hope is that parents now understand more clearly how their children learn…or why they don’t learn. Call me old-fashioned, but I still believe a live teacher in a classroom setting is the best possible educational environment.
Zoom can be really awkward in a lot of ways. Now, instead of having a group of students ignore me collectively, they can ignore me individually. Some things are still the same. I ask a question in what is meant to be a group discussion, and they all look down, hoping I won’t call on them. It just feels a lot more personal somehow.
I have learned to appreciate stable employment, even if I have to work from home. My wife goes off to her job at the post office every day. My children are gainfully employed. We are not among the millions of people who have lost their jobs. Our inconveniences have been minimal compared to theirs. I sit at my computer for hours at a time, and I have become much more efficient at typing on a laptop, though I refuse to go mouseless.
My hope is that, just in other times of crisis, we will come together. I see some evidence of that. Nurses and doctors are finally receiving some of the recognition they deserve. Also on the plus side, levels of pollution are dropping. Perhaps we will better understand the effects we have on all inhabitants of the planet, even wildlife. And, as an added bonus, spending more time indoors protects us from the murder hornets. Stay safe, everyone.