It was actually one year ago yesterday that my employer asked if we wouldn’t mind working from home for “a few weeks” while they got this Covid 19 thing sorted out. Several months later, we were advised to ‘arrange a time’ to come into the building and pack up all of our personal belongs, because we would not be expected to return to the office — pandemic guidelines permitting — until our company relocates to midtown in the summer of 2021. This news felt somewhat surreal, but also pretty sweet; because by June I’d grown very comfortable with hardly ever leaving my house.
One year later, a decent degree of normalcy has gradually returned to NYC life. Although theaters and sports / concert venues aren’t quite open for reduced-capacity business just yet, I’ve made multiple visits to most of the city’s museums and art galleries (which has, seriously, saved my sanity) and when weather permits, I enjoy taking advantage of outdoor dining at my favorite restaurants. So I am far from a complete shut-in; but my day-to-day life has changed so much that there are numerous ordinary things I stopped doing once I started working from home last March. By way of example, I confess that it’s been a year since I’ve done any of the things listed below:
Worn make-up. Since I have a mask on whenever I leave the house, the only person who sees my face is me. I’m OK with how I look without make-up.
Woken up to any kind of morning alarm. Even if I sleep until 8 AM (which is rare on a week day) I’m never more that five minutes late to work.
Had my hair cut. My hair is about down to my waist now and so it has become a contest see how long I can go without cutting it. The lyrics to the song “Hair” have become a personal mantra. (“Oh, I do love my hair!”)
Worn 95% of my wardrobe. I am not a working-in-pajamas kind of gal, but I get pretty close. One day last summer I put on a dress and tights to work at home and I felt like I was wearing a ball gown. I miss wearing nice clothes though. Someday . . .
Kissed anyone or been kissed. Dogs don’t count.
Read a book. I’m not proud of this one, but I cannot keep from distracting myself long enough to read a book, unless I am on a plane. You can see the problem.
Traveled outside of the five boroughs. Needless to say, but you can see I am about to, I’ve not been outside New York State, except for a one-week trip to the Berkshires last June, which already seems like it happened one hundred million billion years ago. I cancelled my trip home to California this past Christmas, so — like many of you I imagine — I haven’t seen my family in more than a year.
Been outside of my apartment later than 8:00 PM. I’m almost always in the house by the time it gets dark, because there’s not a lot of nightlife going on, and right now its too cold for outdoor dining.
Visited the home of anyone other than my one neighbor who is in my quarantine pod.
Bought an unlimited MetroCard. The days of taking public transportation two or more times each day are a distant memory to me now. I still take the bus or subway about one per week, otherwise I walk everywhere now. Upside: I’m ten pounds lighter than I was when this whole thing started.
As more people get the vaccine, life will continue progressing towards whatever will pass for normal these days. Eventually, I’ll go back to work in an office (though maybe not five a days week, if I’m very lucky) and I’ll need to set an alarm, take the subway, wear nice clothes and maybe put on a bit of make-up so that I don’t scare anyone. I will also eventually travel again, so I will be able to see my family, and the plane ride will afford me time to read a book (two birds; one stone). While I will no doubt miss aspects of my Covid Life, I am really looking forward to being around people again.