• Jody Kussin

In Times Like These #18 4-1-2020

My neighbor and friend told me she has leaned into the ‘shelter in place’ order and that, in her words, ‘if I get any more relaxed, I will be comatose.’ RESPECT!

I however, am not feeling relaxed. If anything, I’m starting to feel a constant sense of pressure. Not from life indoors, but from all the time I seem to be spending checking out what everyone else is doing, on every social media platform and app I have mastered. In these times, it now seems like we are slackers if we do not host a dance party for a thousand, play piano on the front lawn for our neighbors, or start an Etsy industry of home-made knit gloves. I want to let you know; underachievers unite!

It’s lovely to see so much industry, creativity and passion. I was impressed to see my nephew and his lovely girlfriend, for instance, create BEACH NIGHT in their place in Colorado – snow outside, margaritas inside, and all in Hawaiian shirts, including the dog. It is exciting AND upsetting to find people who have taken to sewing masks who two weeks ago did not even know how to sew. And people who are volunteering to help others and are organizing fund raisers and grocery delivery for at risk shut ins (although, I think at this point, aren’t we all at risk shut ins?) And all of our hilarious entertainers who are at home letting their very bright two-year olds film them doing mini stand ups (although, to be fair, many toddlers know more than their parents when it comes to AV and IT.) And there are all the singers offering concerts from their home ‘studio’ which honestly, is ten times the size of my home home. And yoga instructors and Zumba teachers working from home, to help others, in their homes, potentially break a wrist or sprain an ankle. Hats off.

I know it should be motivating to hear from friends and colleagues who started a pod cast last week and already have 7480 followers, or who are hosting a virtual nightly wine club for the state of California. It’s like how theoretically, we should be touched to see our neighbors’ perfectly groomed and perfectly behaved children while ours look like we forgot them in the garage for a few hours and honestly did NOT hear anyone banging or pounding on the door.

I know it should comfort us when we reunite with a friend from middle school to learn s/he anticipated this pandemic and moved their family to the moon back in November. Or more likely, to Hawaii, pre-quarantine, and to the island with ‘the good hospital.’

Then there is all the new essential knowledge we need to acquire quickly. For instance, per my friend Jane, per her daughter in law the scientist, per a video she received: “We should be washing vegetables and fruit in soapy water. And should also be learning the laws of refrigerating or freezing vegetables and fruit to make them last longer. Who knew that apples need to be in their own crisper drawer because they release ethylene gas? Or that celery, to make it last longer, should be washed, cut, and wrapped in aluminum foil before putting in the fridge?” Who knew indeed!

We cannot escape the new normal. But, we can either quit observing/lightly stalking others OR, keep on watching, like it’s a new episode of Tiger King on Netflix. Be fascinated from afar, knowing our lives are our very own, and it’s not a competition and humans are fascinating (as are tigers.)

So those of you who are taking this opportunity to enroll your teens in astronaut training programs with NASA, or who are ensuring your child’s entrance into Juilliard at some point by taking time to teach them the tuba – kudos.

For the rest of us…. sit back and enjoy the show!

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