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  • Writer's pictureAndrea Benaim

Quarantine Realizations: Best and Worst Things About Our Society

Updated: Apr 12, 2020

Every morning when I wake up I have to come to terms with the fact that we’re living in the crappy sequel of a zombie apocalypse movie. We joke about it, and that’s fair because we’re going through some shit and laughter is a great coping mechanism, but this is real life, and this is a real problem. Many of us know someone who has had COVID-19, or maybe you are the person who has had it, and I think that we can all agree that the rate at which this thing spreads, its effect on our day-to-day lives, and the uncertainty its creating about the future are no joke.

That being said, I’ve noticed a few things about our society that have come to light, and I started writing them down. So, in no particular order, here are some of the best and worst things that this virus has made me realize:

We are not great at following instructions

  • Stock up on basics doesn’t mean please buy out the store. You need enough toilet paper so you can wipe your butt, not enough toilet paper to wipe the butts of every human in the world.

  • Food for two weeks doesn't mean you need 47 cans of beans and tuna. Do you even like beans and tuna? Probably not as much as it seems from your stockpile. Also, PSA, you don’t need to buy only canned goods and bread. This is not a hurricane, your fridge still works, you can buy a vegetable.

  • Stay at home doesn’t mean throw a party, or go to the beach, or take your boat out. It’s not vacation, it’s quarantine. Absolutely stay home unless there’s a real reason to leave, or else the rest of us will be stuck indoors until the next decade.

Even though we need to be 6 feet away from each other, we are very good at coming up with creative ways to show up for one another

  • Companies have come up with a variety of ways to do their part: from supermarkets opening an hour early for high risk populations, to cruise lines turning their ships into makeshift hospitals, to manufacturers switching their production to make masks and other medical supplies, to food companies delivering free food to healthcare workers, to gyms giving free workout classes and wine companies giving away free wine. Companies are finding ways to remind us that they care.

  • People have also been showing up for each other: whether it’s picking up and delivering groceries for others, volunteering to call community members and check in on them, clapping for all the healthcare workers at the front lines, playing music from their balconies to entertain neighbors, visiting grandparents and waving through the window to keep them company while also keeping them safe, calling their friends to check up on them, or having zoom family dinners, we are clearly in tune with how important it is to be present for one another during this time.

We are way too ready to play the blame game

I’m referring to the lady in the line at the supermarket who is inching away from the Asian family in front of her because she assumes they’re from China and it’s all China’s fault. At the same time, she isn’t realizing that the white man behind her is coughing directly on the back of her neck without covering his mouth. This pandemic is no one’s fault, but it’s everyone’s responsibility. We knew the next pandemic was a matter of time, we even knew it would most likely come from bats, and we were not prepared to deal with it. It doesn’t matter who started it, really, we’re here now. Stop blaming the dude who ate the bat. It may not sound appetizing, but I guarantee a lot of you have eaten bull testicles, blood sausage, or put pineapple on your pizza, which is also pretty gross.

I have no idea what we would do without technology and social media

If this pandemic had taken place 30 years ago, or even 10 years ago, this quarantine would likely have been less pleasant. Most of our favorite streaming platforms would not have existed, we would had to “buy” all our music, and we wouldn’t have had a single Instagram challenge. We complain a lot about how technology is isolating us from each other, but in times of real isolation, I find that it’s really allowing us to feel connected to one another. Being able to video chat, laugh at relatable memes and videos on Instagram, and even watch an insane, viral, docu-series about a man who calls himself the “Tiger King,” who allegedly tried to have a woman who (definitely) may have killed her husband killed for trying to shut down his zoo, reminds us that even though we might be distancing ourselves from each other, we’re going through this together.

Politics are not (always) as bad as they seem

Even though we are currently in the middle of a presidential election year, and it seems like politically we can’t agree on anything, I’m happy to declare that the political parties are not as petty as I thought they were. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been let down by a lot of the people who make the rules in this country, and I’m centrist. Republicans and Democrats haven’t even been able to agree how we should address environmental change, or even if it is or isn’t a real issue (even after forests burnt to a crisp). On this; however, it seems both parties put on their big kid pants and got a bailout plan drafted and approved within weeks, and, although it's not perfect, it showed that they are able to come to some compromise. At least that's how I feel, please don't bite my head off, or do, whatever. Now, if we could just have a way to claim unemployment insurance that isn’t a complete nightmare, that would be A+, k? Thx, bye.

We need to appreciate our everyday heroes every day

I think most of us are just now starting to appreciate how much the people around us do for us every day by simply doing their jobs. Yes, there’s the doctors and the nurses, but also the hospital staff, our grocery store clerks, our delivery men and women, our teachers and professors, and countless others. These are people who are at the front lines in different ways, and without whom we would be truly lost. Honestly, just talk to the parents who now have their kids at home 24/7 and ask them how grateful they are for teachers (and how much they think they should get paid for doing what they do!). When this all ends, let’s make sure we don’t forget to keep appreciating each other.

As a society we have chosen to do something amazing: we took inventory of what is most important, and decided that drastically changing our routines and temporarily redefining what is normal, no matter its toll on ourselves and the economy, was worth doing if it meant we can help save each other’s lives...and that’s pretty incredible. Every day, right when I think I’m losing my mind because I’ve eaten three times, napped twice, watched an entire season of Gossip Girl on Netflix (again) and it’s only 2:00 p.m, I remind myself why we’re doing this.

There’s a lot of uncertainty and that can be overwhelming (I know I freak out about it a lot), but remember: we are all going through this together, and we are all doing it for each other. Take this time to do things that bring you joy, whatever they may be. Get to know yourself, catch up with friends, do absolutely nothing for once: we don’t usually have time to slow down this much, let’s make the best of it.

We may not be okay yet… but we will be.

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