Lifestyle & Culture

Things We Have Learned

Pandemic nails au naturel have inspired the Washington Post’s Jura Koncius to rethink fancy, time-consuming manicures. / iStock photo.

AS MOST OF US mostly sit at home, working, not working, bingeing (Netflix or M&Ms, whatever), we’ve learned a few things we might not have otherwise noticed.

Our funny friend and (whip smart) former Washington Post colleague Jura Koncius posted this list on Facebook and it got us wondering:

What are five everyday things you’ve discovered during this pandemic?

Here are Jura’s.
1. My husband looks better with long hair.
2. I love my short natural nails and I don’t need to have a manicure again.
3. I miss having a cat.
4. Black leggings and a denim shirt make a great uniform.
5. It’s good to keep some candy hidden away for bad days.

In response, LittleBird Janet had this to say:
1. My husband looks better with short hair.
2. Dry-cleaning clothes is not an essential.
3. The Zoom touch-up-appearance setting is.*
4. Hair looks better when it’s dirtier.
5. Don’t underestimate the medicinal effects of good Italian wine.

Jacqueline Salmon in Charlottesville, Virginia, was quick off the mark with her list:
1. Makeup and a dress shirt, with saggy yoga pants and slippers, is a fine work uniform for Zoom-only meetings
2. I finally found the option to disappear my own image on Zoom calls.
3. Now that I have no commute, I can read books very quickly.
4. The maintenance people in my apartment complex really, really love constantly running very loud leaf blowers.
5. I don’t miss takeout sandwiches.

Longtime friend Madeline Rogers, a New York Feldenkreis practitioner, offered:
1. I wish we had bought a country house.
2. It’s okay to give in to your natural inclination to go to sleep late and get up early, if that’s your thing.
3. I am not as patient as I like to believe.
4. I miss them, but life does go on without concerts, theater, baseball, museums.
5. Food is love, but cleaning is the work of the devil.
Bethesda writer Pat McNees has found:
1. Suddenly potato chips and ice cream seem very enticing.
2. I can’t risk someone else’s life to go buy them for me.
3. I can, however, shop for them at midnight at a 24-hour market.
4. Some housekeeping I’m doing more of, to keep germs down.
5. Other housekeeping I’m doing less of, because who’s going to see the place anyway?
Former colleague Marylou Tousignant in Fairfax, Virginia, has realized:
1. Peanut butter works as a main course.
2.  Robocalls are the enemy of afternoon naps.
3.  If Groundhog Day weren’t already a movie, it would be now.
4.  Some items on a long to-do list were never really meant to be done.
5.  If you’ve been watching the National Zoo’s Cheetah Cub Cam for more than 20 minutes and haven’t spotted a live animal, it’s time to move on.
Our friend Jane Firor in Southern Maryland has learned the following:
1. KFC’s 2-piece chicken dinner ain’t so bad.
2. A complicated needlepoint project adds productivity to watching bad TV.
3. It truly is beneficial to take time for those boring breast exams in the shower.
4. You can get in to see ANY doctor right away if you say you have a lump.
Judy Havemann in Washington DC has decided:
1.  Those single pork chops and half packages of frozen peas at the bottom of the freezer do not have to be eaten now, during this period of social distancing from everything fun.
2.  There is almost no limit to the number of days that a single pair of sweatpants can be worn without criticism.
3.  There is no shame in eating takeout several times a week, especially if it comes with a frozen margarita.
4.  Living alone is okay only if there are alternatives.
In New York, Pat Agostino, LMSW, has realized:
1.  I wish I had a close friend with a beach/country home. I could enjoy myself without any of the burdens of ownership—win/win for me!
2. Always said I could live my life in sweats & flip-flops, which I did the last three months.
3. Always buy black PJ bottoms, for those occasions when sweats aren’t appropriate.
4. Realized what’s important & what’s not!
5. A dog is woman’s best friend!
6. Exercise is highly overrated.
Melissa McCullough in Virginia has discovered:
1. I shouldn’t attempt to cut my husband’s wavy hair with kitchen scissors.
2. I love my house, but it’s nice to have a boat to escape to in a pandemic.
3. I really miss hugging my family and friends.
4. I very much appreciate the great job my cleaning lady does.
5. I’d be a much crabbier woman without wine and FaceTime!
Apples and trees having the relationship they do, LittleBird Nancy’s brother, Bill, in New Jersey had one overarching realization:
1. I found out that the pandemic and my retirement were identical except for the face masks.
To which LittleBird Nancy added:
1. If you have to walk a dog several times a day, the social isolation isn’t all that isolating—except for hiding behind the face masks.
This is a game any number can play! Feel free to pile on by sending a Comment, which will appear below. Thanks, and stay safe.
—The Editors

* How to find the “Touch Up My Appearance” filter on Zoom with your computer:

  1. Open Zoom on your Mac or Windows computer.
  2. On the homepage, click the gear icon for Settings in the upper right corner.
  3. Select Video.
  4. Find My Video, then “Touch Up My Appearance.” Check the box to turn it on.

If you’re already in a meeting, you can still change your settings by selecting the up arrow next to the video camera icon on the bottom of the screen. Then, choose Video Settings and follow the same steps before clicking back to your video screen.



6 thoughts on “Things We Have Learned

  1. Judy Bowns says:

    1. Having a dog who loves to watch television with animals has made me a real fan of Dr. Pol.
    2. The app All Recipes has me trying new dinner entrees…so far we’ve both survived!
    3. Pot-banging to thank the medical staff at nearby Conway Medical Center [in suburban Conway, South Carolina] has become a Thursday and Sunday shift change event.
    4. Note-writing to nursing home residents has become a weekly pleasure. (Letters in Isolation)
    5. Having a room each of us can ‘retire’ to for a long stretch of time is a very good thing!

  2. Nancy McKeon says:

    Holly Pollinger of Washington DC has learned that:
    1. Plants and flowers are a comfort.
    2. Maker’s Mark is also.
    3. I like sitting under a shade tree wearing masks with newfound friends.
    4. Some things are better on Zoom than in real life.

  3. Nancy McKeon says:

    Caroline Mayer of Arlington, Virginia, has found that:
    1. Chocolate, Brie and Cheezits are very dangerous to have around the house…in any quantity.
    2. It’s wonderfully easy to arrange spur-of-the-moment socially distant picnic dinners with friends now that no one is traveling or heavily scheduled with meetings.
    3. I miss going to the grocery store; home delivery is just not the same.
    4. There’s a reason cleaning the attic (and basement) have been on the bottom of my to-do list for years.
    5. At the end of each day, I still don’t understand where all my time goes; there’s so much else I had wanted to do.

  4. Nancy McKeon says:

    Walter Wisniewski of Chevy Chase, Maryland, says he has learned:
    1. You don’t need to shave nearly as often.
    2. When you do shave, and you’re trying to get that neat finish around the sideburns that a barber gets with cream and a razor, DO NOT use that old straight razor you recently found while cleaning out your desk.
    3. If you must experiment with that damn straight razor, be extremely careful, or you could end up looking like you really were trying to slit your throat.
    4. Straight razors make surprisingly long, bloody cuts in a twinkling of the eye.
    5. Band-Aid doesn’t offer a shape that suits your neck.
    6. But there’s a good use for that flimsy black fabric mask you picked up as a giveaway: It conceals all the gore.

  5. Carol says:

    Love and agree with all
    Especially the importance of wine every day 🙂 And occasional social distancing from my partner who I love dearly
    Also lots of thank you’s. Once I read the most important phrase in a relationship was not “I love you,” but “thank you.” I have taken that to heart ❤️

  6. Eliz Anderson says:

    1. Zoom meetings are highly overrated.
    2. Writing notes and mailing them to friends is very satisfying and a great way to use up all those notecards charities send when asking for money.
    3. Country living is even more wonderful now that much of the wildlife is seen more because of fewer people.
    4. Gardening, and especially weeding, has become a competitive sport among our neighbors.
    5. I miss driving across country from the West Coast and spending time with grandkids (and my condo!) on the East Coast. Will I ever again trust the cleanliness of a hotel?

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