The great COVID-19 shutdown changed lives for a lot of people.
More people are unemployed than in recent history. Some of us are working harder than ever.
Front-line workers who never worried about getting sick — or dying — from exposure at their jobs are now paying attention to having the right protective gear.
Some people are isolated and lonely. Another faction says the numbers are inaccurate and they are angry about staying home, wearing a mask and being restricted.
Others — you know who you are — are probably eating way too much comfort food or drinking way too much alcohol. Combine that with gyms being closed, and we’ll be sad sacks when we have to don work clothes and head to the office.
But the shutdown has given us an appreciation for many things.
• Hamburger never cost $5 a pound before. Most of us never considered the people who worked in the meatpacking plants and the truck drivers who brought it to us. We just went to the grocery store, bought as much as we wanted, and we didn’t have to give our firstborn to pay for it.
• Toilet paper is another one. Hoarders, raise your hands. I am not a hoarder, but I do buy things when they are on sale. I had 30 rolls going into quarantine, and there are just two of us, so we were good to go — pun intended.
• Hair dye. Hair cuts. In the last week, I have seen several people post they were taking their hair into their own hands. I cut my hair between appointments on a regular basis. A long time ago, a hairdresser showed me how to cut my bangs because she was tired of trying to fix them. Is that side a little shorter than the other? Another snip? Where did my bangs go, and how long can I wear this hat? Let’s glue them back. Hint: When this is all over, be very nice to your hair stylist. Remember him or her with generous tips and a Christmas present.
• Teachers. People who said teachers are overpaid might be dancing to a different tune since they have been thrust into the job on a daily basis. Dealing with math and meltdowns — and I’m talking about the parents. Who knew it was this hard?
• People who can sew. When I was a kid, my mom made a lot of my clothes. She helped me to sew my first interview suit. An olive green corduroy blazer and skirt, with the nap going the right way. Luckily, we didn’t have to worry about nap when making masks, but people who could do it right were in high demand.
• State parks and hiking trails. Suddenly, everyone is stopping to snap a selfie in front of a waterfall. This is a positive because we didn’t always take the time to walk the path of nature when we were running the life race.
• I could go on, but I’ll end with trash takers. If it weren’t for them, who would take away the evidence of all the junk food wrappers?
Editor’s note: Marta Gouger is the editor of the Times News, our sister daily newspaper in Lehighton.