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Our View: Trust in the little things

The Union Editorial Board

The litter box is strangely clean.

There are other subtle differences around the house. A freshly vacuumed floor, a stack of washed dishes. Little tasks regularly overlooked, that is, until the coronavirus swept through the nation and forced us to shelter in place.

The cats, at least, like it.

Everyone’s life has been upended. The weekly visit to the grocery store is over. Now we order by email, pay online or by phone and have someone deliver the goods to the doorstep.

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Or, if our age allows, we visit a store that holds senior hours. Only people above a certain age are supposed to shop during this time. We keep our distance, nodding to friends and neighbors, looking for a package of toilet paper.

Please limit your purchase to just one.

No one should hoard, but we also want to buy enough supplies and avoid shopping with our usual frequency. The days of swinging by the store to pick up a gallon of milk are done. They’ll come back, but not soon, and certainly not this week.

We’ve started looking for reasons to leave the house. A scenic drive without stops works. So does walking the dog — an essential task, the dog would say.

Time seems to stretch when we’re at home. We’re finding projects long forgotten. A book that’s propped up a computer screen turned out to be a pretty good read. Dust off the old records and see if the turntable still works.

We’ll twist again like we did last summer, though we’ll be sheltering in place as we do.

There’s an old garden out back that needs tending. Might as well start growing fruits and vegetables. Call it a victory garden.

Cooking is another pastime that’s rubbed its sleepy eyes and woken up. Not just grilling some chicken, but baking as well. Oatmeal raisin cookies or pecan pie. Food that makes you forget, just for awhile, that few people will be able to share it.

People still connect while huddled away, even if through the ether. Phone calls and texts to family and friends have grown more common. Some have started taking online classes. An app like Zoom can bring a Brady Bunch-esque feel to your computer screen as you interact with the teacher and other students. A host of faces on your screen, and yours on all of theirs. You can see and hear everyone like they were in your home.

Almost.

Of course, virtual spaces are for more than learning. Online cocktail hour has become common among friends and businesses alike. Enjoy an adult beverage while chatting with coworkers. See who’s bothered to shave, or even shower.

Be sure to move off camera when you roll your eyes.

Once the glasses are washed and the computer tucked away, the silence returns. At some point all the floors are vacuumed, all the socks darned. We drift toward the television or a mindless game on the phone. Dead time creeps in and settles next to you on the couch.

It’s important to keep both body and mind active. As the days pass you might find boredom grow. That’s why it’s essential we build connections through online classes and cocktail hours, the books we read and gardens we tend, the texts and calls to our loved ones.

These routines help keep us sane and healthy. This surreal time is going to continue for weeks, maybe months. Find the tasks that make you happy.

And be sure to change the litter box again.

The weekly Our View editorial represents the consensus opinion of The Union Editorial Board, a group of editors and writers from The Union, as well as informed community members. Contact the board at EditBoard@TheUnion.com.


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