Once upon a time, long ago, and back when are reminiscent of days shared with family and friends. Long before social media favorites and cable TV, downtime didn’t mean a blank computer screen or dropped cell phone calls. Air-conditioned homes were rare. Evenings were a time to relax on the front porch, wave at neighbors on their evening walk, and sip ice tea from tall glasses. Memories of aluminum ice trays, telephone party lines, pedal pushers, and Bermuda shorts bring back lazy summers when kids rode bikes in the street while Mom or Dad cranked the handle of an ice cream maker on the front porch.
Shelter in Place during the coronavirus has shifted connections with family and friends to technology. Social distancing keeps us from meeting in person, so traffic congestion has dwindled to the easy flow of the 1950s. Segways, skateboards, scooters, and bikes traverse quiet streets and vacant parking lots. Warm weather has arrived. People are walking more. This time will be captured in future stories from the economic impact and slow recovery to evenings when we waved at neighbors from our front porches, patios, and balconies. If you hesitate when you walk by, you might see laptops or journals.
Gone are traditional openings. Words scrawled on the page or dancing across the screen begin with phrases like . . . Another day of Shelter in Place . . . During the coronavirus pandemic . . . or COVID-19 continues to _____ [fill in the blank]. If you squint at my laptop screen, you’ll see my fingers fly across the screen to begin my next blog post.
Another day of Shelter in Place . . .
My hands hover over the keyboard, but no words follow. Excuse me. I’ll be right back. Perhaps a glass of tea will inspire me.