There are so many ways to see the negatives in the current world health situation. I will not list them all here. We have TV and social media for that. Instead, I will risk being the Pollyanna at the Pandemic. I think it’s okay, since I’m generally not the person to look on the bright side of things.
Here are a few things, though, that have been positives for me in this terrible situation:
Thing one: Social Distancing. I was speaking with one of my brothers-in-law the other day (Don’t worry, this was a long distance interaction. No germs were shared). He was talking about the awkwardness of social distancing when you see someone you know in public. No hugs, no handshakes. “Do you fist bump with someone in their 70s?” I mentioned to him that this was actually right in my wheelhouse. I have never been much of a hugger with acquaintances. Who am I kidding, with anyone. This may have to do with my Scandinavian roots. We are “reserved.” I have also never been adept at small talk. This is definitely due to my tendency toward introversion. Seeing someone I know in the grocery store always brings anxiety. First, I am very good at remembering faces (I know that person), but not very good at remembering names (Is that Carl or Charles…I could just mumble, I guess). Second, I never know what to say to people until about ten minutes AFTER an awkward conversation (“Yeah, I’m doing okay, but, you know, I’m struggling to tell the difference between cilantro and Italian parsley….God, why did I just say that?”). So, really, this social distancing thing is great. I stay home, I avoid encounters with people outside my family, and I have zero instances where I have to ask myself, “Do I hug them tentatively, kiss their cheek clumsily, shake their hand limply, or wave awkwardly?” Now, I just perform my civic duty and avoid them altogether. I was made for this moment in history.
Thing two: Cabin Fever. My wife had foot surgery last week. I took a day off from work, which is not a big deal to most people, but it is very challenging for me. I am not a very good planner. I am very slow at writing plans for substitute teachers and even slower at getting all of the supplies laid out the afternoon before.
Also, we decided to get a puppy.
The puppy was supposed to come to us a week and a half BEFORE my wife’s surgery. He got delayed. It wasn’t a TSA thing or a visa problem. In fact, it was a little surgical procedure of his own. He’s asked that I not share any details in mixed company, but hey, he doesn’t read very well yet Anyway, his not-so-elective surgery required him to stay longer in Arkansas. This meant that he would arrive four days AFTER my wife’s surgery, which seemed like very unfortunate timing. Puppies have been known to need care from people who are reasonably mobile. So, while I was of course concerned about the pandemic and the inconvenience of our school closing its doors, I did see the silver lining of staying home with my wife and then enjoying the puppy. Research shows that being home-bound with an unpredictable, comical, clumsy and furry creature is pretty effective at bringing down a cabin fever.
I could go on, but I have several reasons to stop, now. First, some people may already be offended by my glib tone; second, Dr. Seuss only came up with two Things; and third, I really have to let the dog out.