How Covid-19 Sparked New Conversations With Old Friends
We’ll get through these problems just like billions have before us — together
2020 was supposed to be my year.
I feel that way every year, but this one is my 50th. And I was sure, at the start, that if good things didn’t happen for me, that I could at least find good things to do. I could make my own happiness. On New Year’s Day, I even made a list of the things that I would no longer let bother me.
And because I’m easily bothered, it was a long list.
While one of my friends vowed to start a business and another to get in terrific physical shape, most of my plans centered around travel. I’d honor my pledge to drink no alcohol in January — a kind of offering to the gods — and I vowed to swim in the San Francisco Bay with sharks. I’d hit Las Vegas for a big poker session and spend at least a week backpacking a long trail in one of those big square states out West, far away from the hustle of my Chicago.
But surviving Covid-19 wasn’t on my list. Because the threat of a global pandemic did not, in my world, yet exist.
I had plans, you see. We all had plans.
And none of them have happened.
Ignorant of what was to come, my friends and I talked and texted plans based on a past that offered no foreshadowing. Back then, we could go where we wanted, eat where we wanted, and stand reasonably close to people. In the long-ago of earlier this year, stores used to have signs that read “No masks allowed.”
Things started well. In February, my wife and son joined me on a cruise to the Caribbean. We had a great time. Sure, there was talk of Covid-19, but it was more of an inconvenience then, one that only caused a couple of additional health questions before we boarded the ship.
But by March, it was all shut down. My son was sent home from school, my wife and I sent home from work. It felt strange.
As my friends and I catch up on the phone now, we agree that the most peculiar thing about dealing with a world during a pandemic is that life goes on. Bills…