It has been interesting to hear about some of the changes people have made while quarantined.
Even though we’re in phase one of reopening, many of us are only slowly and cautiously emerging. For now, we’re continuing with newly acquired practices.
From what I’ve heard, folks have been cooking more and taking more walks. Both are true for me. Sadly, the walking has not fully offset the effects of the excellent food my wife has been preparing over the past couple of months. Clearly, I need to step up (pun intended) the exercise.
We’ve done our share of takeout, trying to support the local eateries we enjoy, but there is no question our at-home eating has become more frequent. Not only has my spouse, a superb cook, revived some old standards, but she has also introduced some excellent new recipes that are sure to become favorites.
I know I have talked more with my neighbors, including the ones next door who have recently planted a garden. They’ve promised me their overflow and I’m pumped about that. And I promise I did not go visit them in their backyard to solicit that.
Perhaps the biggest change for us – my wife and me -- is my being home around the clock. In addition to my working remotely, my travel, which was generally two to three days a week, has stopped. And it looks like this will continue for a while.
I won’t even address my wife’s thoughts on this. She has been very kind, but she’s also human, and I know it has been an adjustment to have me home every hour of the day.
As for me, I have mixed feelings. I enjoy the camaraderie and personal interaction with my colleagues, and I miss that. Over the years I have made some great friends in workplaces.
In addition, remote working kind of messes with my mind. Work is home and home is work. That’s weird.
And as I said, I miss the interaction – the in-person kind. Videoconferences and conference calls are great, and we’re fortunate to have this advanced technology, but I think we miss something over those airwaves and soundwaves.
If I were 10 or 20 years younger, I don’t think I would be in favor of virtual work for the remainder of my career.
But, as much as I don’t want to admit it, I’m no longer young. Although there is no retirement date on the calendar anytime soon, most of my working years are behind me.
So I can go either way. If eventually I go back to work in an office, I am OK with that. But I’m also perfectly fine sitting at my laptop in the comfort of my home, dressing appropriately when I’m going to be seen on camera, but sometimes staying in more leisurely clothing all day.
And it’s nice I don’t have to drive anywhere. I’m saving plenty of money on gas.
I still have those longtime work friends, both past and present. It might take a little more effort, but I’m confident we will keep those friendships going.
Hopefully, even if it’s not for work purposes. we’ll see each other in person again soon. Non-virtual eye contact is not overrated.
Revival of letter writing
I have learned people have been checking on each other during this time, maybe some with whom they have not been in contact for a long time. Some folks are even writing letters. That’s right, letters -- posted in the U.S. Mail.
While I have called or sent a text to check on some friends or family members over the past several weeks, I have not written a letter. I should do that. (And maybe I’ll receive one in response).
I’ve always had a fondness for writing and receiving letters. I have some each of my parents sent to me when I was in college and law school, and a few my wife wrote to me when we were dating and engaged. They are cherished keepsakes.
And while I know emails are the norm today, we taught all three of our children that, whenever possible, a handwritten thank-you note is preferable when someone has been kind enough to give them a gift.
If, because of constant computer usage, your handwriting has become illegible, it is acceptable to type a letter and print it.
And taking those next steps of putting it in an envelope, addressing it and placing a stamp on it before dropping it in a mailbox?
You’re speaking somebody’s love language when you do that.
Bob McKinney is a longtime Brentwood resident, happy husband and proud father, father-in-law and grandfather. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.