’ve come to regard the past year as a period of hibernation. After all, what exactly is hibernation but a time when many species of animals, not just bears, succumb to a state of minimal activity and metabolic depression. I ask you, is this not an apt description of how most of us have been living these past 12 months?
Before an animal finds a shelter in which to become dormant, it stores energy by having a sufficient amount of food and hydration to sustain itself throughout the period of inactivity. I ask you, is that not what we humans did when we were requested to shelter in place in March 2020?
Those of us who were brave enough personally raided supermarkets, others used shopping services. We stocked up on canned goods, water, and other sustainable food items. We hoarded paper goods and cleaning supplies, and soon there was no more toilet paper. (Fortunately for the animals, they don’t need toilet paper, except maybe the bears.)
But unlike the rest of the hibernating animals, humans could not simply settle down for a long winter’s nap. Instead, we sought diversion inside our caves and contact with other humans. In place of personal meet-ups, we Zoomed and Face Timed. Not able to attend movie theaters or performances, streaming became a way of life; “What are you watching?” a common conversation-starter.
As for me, I may have started with Netflix, but soon added Hulu, Acorn, Prime, Apple TV. Smart TVs offer endless possibilities, as long as you’re willing to pay for them. British detectives and Turkish gangsters became my new best friends, along with Moira and Shtisel.
I rediscovered cooking at home as opposed to overindulging in recreational eating and extensive conversations about what to have for dinner became another way to pass the time.
Clothing became optional. I don’t mean to say that I walked naked inside my cave. But the pretty blouses, fancy pants, high-heeled shoes (well, maybe at my age, not that high) and decorative accessories gathered dust, while comfy clothes needed frequent washing.
Being afraid to go to a store, I learned to shop on line, ordering everything from dog food to an electric toothbrush. One highlight of the day was a text from Amazon telling me my delivery was on its way. The other highlight was actually ripping open the package once it had been sanitized to my satisfaction.
Holidays, birthdays, and other family occasions became two-dimensional celebrations on the flat screen of my computer. Less than satisfactory, but I learned to adjust the equipment so that the light was most flattering to my appearance. This maneuver unfortunately is not possible in person.
When one is home all day, one tends to focus on home improvement. Cabinets, drawers, closets, garage have never been neater. Forks and spoons are perfectly aligned, and book shelves are color-coordinated. Even the clothing that no longer sees the light of day hangs as proudly as if it were on display at Bergdorf’s.
So all in all, I think it’s accurate to claim that life had acquired a different rhythm. There is a new normal inside the cave that we have gotten used to. But three short months ago someone shone a light at the entrance. A shot in the arm was about to change everything.
So, folks who are fully vaccinated, we have some decisions to make. What parts of our former lives will we now resume? Even as we step out of our caves, we are cautioned to remain cautious. Face masks, hand washing, and social distancing cannot be disregarded. But what about everything else?
How much of life will resume as before? What feels safe and what still does not? A reservation for dinner where I’m willing to sit inside? Shopping at a big box store with scores of other people? Going to a movie theater, assuming I can find one that’s open?
Hugging friends? Kissing grandkids? Meetings in person instead of on Zoom? Getting on an airplane?
And what did I learn from life in my cave that I might want to bring to the resumption of my old life? The quieter pace was rather soothing.
Personally, rather than sprint, I think I will be taking baby steps out of the cave. And in the meantime, let’s discuss what to have for dinner.
I have this friend. Let’s call her Nicky. (Short for the five-cent coin.) Nicky is an otherwise smart and sensible woman, but she does have her idiosyncratic causes. For example, she once took on the haters and formed a support group for people over 65 who refused to give up their AOL account. Riding on that success, her latest campaign is the elimination of Tuesday.
My friend Nicky finds this particular day of the week useless and irrelevant. She vehemently argues that it’s a day without purpose. To prove her point, she counts off the other six days of the week and recites each one’s raison d’etre.
Let’s begin with Monday. According to Nicky, Monday’s reason for being is to be the focus of dread. Everyone hates Mondays because Monday morning ends the weekend and restarts the daily grind. That is, unless you happen to be retired and living in Florida. But for the rest of the world, no one particularly likes Monday.
Moving right along to Wednesday. Wednesday has a special nickname. It’s called Hump Day. Why? Because it’s smack in the middle of the week. And once we get over the hump, we’re 24 hours closer to the weekend.
And Thursday. Thursday’s purpose is to proudly stand as the day before Friday.
Then there’s Friday. Nicky feels, and rightly so, that Friday needs no explanation. Spirits automatically elevate on Fridays as we turn to the heavens and recite TGIF, people, TGIF!
Saturday and Sunday are two other days that speak for themselves. Who doesn’t love the weekend? Except, of course, if you’re retired and living in Florida and hardly know what day of the week it is, anyway.
And now we focus on Tuesday. According to Nicky and her followers, (two, at last count) Tuesday is a non-event. It’s the pointless 24 hours between Monday and Wednesday, and should be banished from the calendar.
As much as I would like to be supportive of my friend, as I was when she was ardently defending AOL users, I do find some problems with her current crusade. First of all, one cannot just arbitrarily decide to reduce the number of days of the week to six without the risk of incurring the wrath of the spirits of the ancient Babylonians, who first established the seven-day week as long ago as the 6th and 7th centuries b.c. It is also mentioned in the history books that this temporal division was also widely accepted by the Jews, many of whom are now retired and living in Florida, and having nothing better to do, might seriously oppose such a plan.
Second, the day of the week in question was named after the German god Tiw. (Don’t try to pronounce it, just accept it as fact.) Herr Tiw was the German god of war and combat, so I’d think twice before I engaged in an argument with him, as well.
And in its defense, below is a brief list of notable and not-so-notable events, both historic and cultural, which happened to land on a Tuesday.
In 1845, Congress deemed Tuesday important enough to make it Election Day.
October 29, 1929, or Black Tuesday, also known as the Wall St. Crash of 1929, and one of the causes of the Great Depression. Tuesday is not so proud of that one.
Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday. Now, what killjoy would consider doing away with this carnival celebration, and messing with an entire series of Christian traditions?
Taco Tuesday? Besides being an alliteration, Taco Tuesday is really a “thing.” It was so named by a fast food chain called Taco John’s in Cheyenne, Wyoming, but has been co-opted by other Mexican food establishments.
And without Tuesday, would there be a Tuesday Weld?
And without Tuesday we’d be saying “good bye” to Ruby Monday or Ruby Saturday. It’s just not the same. And we’d be eating from the salad bar at Ruby Thursday’s.
Take away Tuesday and there can be no Hump Day. Think about it.
Senior Discount Day typically falls on a Tuesday. Mess with that and risk the wrath of all those retired people in Florida!
Would the conversations have been the same if Mitch Albom had visited Morrie on a Monday? I believe that Tuesday was significant in keeping that book on the best seller list for four years!
And last, but not least, for all you shoppers out there, I present Tuesday Morning. It’s the great deals-on-everything retail chain that restocks the bargains, you guessed it, every Tuesday morning.
So Nicky, my dear friend, I hope I’ve demonstrated that Tuesday does, indeed, have value, and deserves to be maintained in its rightful place, snugly between Monday and Wednesday. And perhaps a cause worthier of your energy will present itself. Like, I don’t know, figuring out how long after January 1st we can finally stop wishing people a Happy New Year. I would definitely work with you on that one!
About the Author
Susan is the author of two award-winning collections of humorous personal essays: “How Old Am I in Dog Years?” and “How to Complain When There’s Nothing to Complain About.” Check out her Author Page HERE.