"Coronalone". It's like "Home Alone", but without Macaulay Culkin. And without the burglars (we hope). It's our ridiculous name for the surreal and strange circumstances in which we currently find ourselves.
And we currently find ourselves marking the holiday season, the approaching close of an incredibly difficult year, and the end of my 50th revolution around the sun.
That’s right, today is my 50th birthday. Mike’s 50th was in May of this year, and Devin’s 40th, in June. None were marked with the celebrations that might have been planned had it been any other year and, like so many others must also be doing, we found ourselves thinking, “Well, maybe next year”. (That phrase brings to mind the song, “Send In The Clowns”, which I believe has just about the right overwhelmingly melancholic tone to be the theme song for 2020… but I digress.) “Maybe next year.” If not for recent events, that might still seem like a reasonable thought. But not all of us will get to celebrate our postponed milestones. And not everyone will be there for the ones we do get to celebrate, however belatedly. And that breaks my heart.
I am in no way suggesting that any of us should gather despite the scientists and the epidemiologists advising us that to do so would be folly. This virus does not care whether you are gathering “for a good reason”. I urge everyone to continue to isolate and protect their loved ones in every way they can. I’m simply suggesting that we should utilize whatever alternative options we have for marking these milestones. I find myself wishing we had made a no-contact delivery of a cake for Devin’s birthday, then rushed home to get on a Zoom call to sing her a loud— and likely off-key— rendition of “Happy Birthday” with her family and friends. (And yes, it would quite possibly have been the version that ends in “…and you look like one, too”!) There is, of course, no point in the woulda-coulda-shoulda’s, except to give others an opportunity to do the things that, in hindsight, we wish we had.
Call your friends and check in on them. Bake goodies and drop them off on doorsteps. Schedule Zoom calls or Facebook chats with friends to commiserate and support each other. Come up with creative ways to mark important dates like birthdays and anniversaries. (For example, we attended a “drive-by graduation party” in May.) Just make sure to do it with no contact. Let’s spread joy and love in whatever safe ways we can; let’s just do it without spreading this horrible virus. And when the vaccine becomes available, get it. Remember the lessons of the polio pandemic and so many other infectious diseases that, until recently, had been all but eradicated. This vaccine will be vital to our ability to gather again, to celebrate again, and to share our love in person, the way we wish we could right now.
Happy Holidays, everyone. Be safe, be well, and know that you are loved.