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6 Pandemic Habits I’d Love to Drop in the Dumpster

COVID things that have got to go

Published on: July 27, 2021


It’s been ages since I sanitized groceries. I took very little joy in slathering Pop-Tarts with hand sanitizer. But no more! And we’ve been going outside with other people for, like, months now — awesome! 

And yet, there are a few more things I’m ready to slam the dumpster lid on …

It’s nice to be getting out of the house more. But I’m done with getting food at a restaurant and then scurrying away like a troll running away from a magic bean. Wai-- I think I mixed up my fairy tales there. It’s just that now if you do try to eat out, you have to study the layout of the tables and analyze where everyone is sitting and how they’re behaving. It’s like middle school lunch hour all over again. 

Everyone’s tired of Zoom meetings. And Microsoft Teams conferences, and Skype reunions, and Google Chat happy hours and FaceTime butt dials. Messenger, Signal, Discord … I could keep going, but I’m too busy installing more programs. I have to admit I’m not a tech guy, so I’m not batting a thousand with any of them. To paraphrase Notorious B.I.G., mo apps mo problems.  

I am done with remote learning. I’m going to broaden this complaint and say that I am done with multitasking. You go to work but also you’re in charge of day care today, and the teacher of your older kids emailed some assignments but good luck getting anyone to focus on that, and the Wi-Fi’s down anyway so you have to call the IT guy — who is also you — and finally, you manage to struggle through and joy-of-joys it’s five o’clock but then you hear those three little words that sent icicles of dread down your spine even before the pandemic:  “What’s for dinner?” 

Speaking of kids, boy, do I miss discipline. My go-to used to be taking away screen time. But that’s just shooting yourself in the foot. And then dipping that foot in a bucket of lemon juice and then shooting your other foot. As for my own parents’ old standby of grounding us, you know what doesn’t work when your kids are home all the time? Making them stay home all the time. But I may have found a loophole. Now I leave dirty dishes in the sink and send myself to my room for not cleaning up after me. That’s sane, right?  

They say absence makes the heart grow fonder. But the corollary to this is that if there isn’t any absence, the heart will not be growing any fonder.

If you’ve got a new baby or a precious little one at home, this next part isn’t for you. I’m speaking now to the parents of teens. And preteens. And even pre-preteens. And my message to you is this: I know. I know what you’re going through. I’ve heard older parents say, “Well, it’s the age. We had to deal with that, too.” Yeeeaaah, but you didn’t. Your kids could storm off or escape to a friend’s house or be shipped to grandparents for a long weekend. Many of us are stuck with our kids every minute of every day. And you can’t lock them away — I looked into it. They say absence makes the heart grow fonder. But the corollary to this is that if there isn’t any absence, the heart will not be growing any fonder.  

I’ve got one more. I miss reading the news and not thinking it’s a horror show. Okay, this one probably predates COVID and points more toward the blurring lines between entertainment and news. But COVID certainly isn’t helping. And while we’re on the subject, maybe people can cut down on all the overused phrases? “Superspreader,” “the new normal,” “WFH.”  Now more than ever, we need to stop using phrases like “now more than ever.”  

Whew. I’m glad I got that off my chest. And now I must be off. Because *it’s wine o’clock somewhere!

* Editor’s Note: This phrase has been deemed “overused.”  

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