What I've Learned (Thus Far)

MAY 16 2020

Last night in a weekly zoom chat I have with some friends, I asked a question about the pandemic:

"What have you learned about yourself during quarantine?"

My response posted on Slack:

I’ve learned that establishments and social constructs that seem untouchable are, and have been, tenuous at best. For instance, very popular restaurants that have experienced all the pizzazz of front-page GQ covers, TV specials, months-long waiting lists, and lines out the door, are now shuttering and maybe won’t come back, like Eleven Madison Park in NYC, considered one of the best restaurants in the world. I’ve bought into the hype that these titans are formidable but in reality they were just barely hanging on month to month, like the underpaid dishwashers they used to hire.

This plays into the bigger picture: That it only takes a couple months for life to come to a screeching halt for 6 billion people on earth. Our lives have irreconcilably changed.

I’ve also learned that having a young kid at home has been a blessing. Ellis has kept my spirits up thanks to his superpower: His god-given ability to live in the present. His story is simple: He eats, he plays, he sleeps. Nothing else that matters: No politics, no status games, no worries about what comes next. I’m lucky to spend so much time with him during this age that parents say is their favorite.

I’ve learned that my life hasn’t changed that much in comparison to others. I feel shielded from the true pain that many are experiencing.

I’ve learned that I have a soft spot for small businesses, for the bootstrapped and the scrappy, for the anti-chain and the mom-and-pop. I mourn the death of diversity as comfort-seeking folk wait for mediocre food in hour-long lines at Cheesecake Factory. It pains me to see people carrying Starbucks lattes past the local coffee shop that’s been closed for two months. Will they survive? Probably not.

Lastly, I’ve learned that I crave nature’s healing power. I am sensitive to sound, and this quarantine has amplified the droning racket of civilization: helicopters, leaf blowers, speeding cars, manic cries from meth heads.

I long for leaves bristling in the wind and being enveloped by the grace of nature’s calm.