Looking Back, Looking Ahead

Looking Back, Looking Ahead

Today marks one year since DC shut down for the pandemic. I wrote a Twitter thread to memorialize that fact, and realized I should probably have written a blog post, even though it’s not very association-y. So here it is.

One year ago today, DC shut down for the pandemic.

One year ago yesterday, I went to my last in-person boxing class at Nuboxx and had my last meal in a restaurant (brunch with friends at Coconut Club at Union Market).

One year ago the day before that, I went to my last in-person dance class, a zills technique class, at Sahara Dance.

Earlier that week, I’d been to my fourth Spanish 1 class, gotten my hair cut, had lunch with another friend at Busboys & Poets in Takoma Park, and had dinner with the friends who, as of October, became our pod, at Chez Billy Sud in Georgetown.

I even had an on-site client meeting.

I had also done my last in-person tutoring session at Anne Beers Elementary School.

Two days ago, my asthmatic, over-50 spouse got the Johnson & Johnson vaccination. (I won’t even be eligible to have my number drawn in the DC vaccine lottery for another 6 weeks, but that’s OK – he was the priority.)

Some things have morphed but continued: I kept taking online Spanish classes through the end of last year and achieved my goal of the level of proficiency of your average small child.

I’ve continued to take online boxing and dance classes, and I’ve been doing once a week outdoor masked PT with my boxing coach, Donte, since July. Which has been a REAL sanity-saver.

Starting in June through when it got too cold, we met up outdoors, physically distanced, BYO food & drink with one household of friends per week. Those meet-ups *just* restarted at the end of last week, when it got so warm for a few days here in DC.

As I mentioned, our Chez Billy Sud friends became our pod in October, which meant we had friends to spend the holidays with, and it will be more than just me and my spouse celebrating my upcoming birthday.

But I haven’t had a hair cut in over a year. Good thing I had already decided that now was the time to grow in the grey, but what was supposed to be a managed, gradual process turned into a Hard Grexit.

I’ve resumed going to the dentist and kept up my visits with the doc who makes sure I’m not dying of skin cancer every six months, but I haven’t seen any other medical practitioners.

I’m doing online tutoring with an adorable and VERY energetic kindergartener from Beers now, and it’s working OK, but it’s nowhere near as effective – or as much fun – as being in person.

We get carry out once a week. It’s definitely not the same experience, but we have gotten to sample the cuisine of some previously hard-to-get-into DC restaurants and helped keep some beloved small places in business.

But we haven’t seen any members of our families (aside from each other) in person in more than a year. There are many friends in that category as well. Sure, Zoom, but we ALL know that’s not the same.

Likewise with theater and live music. We’re watching and supporting local (and non-local) companies, venues, and artists we love, but IT IS NOT THE SAME. It’s not even close.

The farthest away we’ve been is Annapolis. My luggage is DUSTY. My passport is LONELY.

Family members and friends have fallen ill from coronavirus. Some have been hospitalized. None – knock wood – has succumbed (so far).

Now I’m going to say the thing consultants are NEVER supposed to admit to anyone, no matter what: 2020 was a VERY rough year for my business.

Thankfully, Spouse is still gainfully employed and lockdown has a tendency to DRAMATICALLY reduce expenses. But still, it’s been hard.

We’ve found some good things, too: our fabulous Black-owned, woman-owned CSA, Deep Roots Farm. Baldor Specialty Foods has substantially dropped the amount of their minimum order to regular-folks-not-restaurants levels (the quantities are mostly still restaurant quantities, but that’s a story for another time). We’ve taken  MAJOR advantage of our proximity to the National Arboretum.

What’s my point? I don’t know that there is one, other than it seemed like the right time to reflect on what’s been lost, what’s changed, and what’s persisted, and to begin turning to the future as we’re hopefully nearing the end of this dark period.

Photo by Aron Visuals on Unsplash