Amy Roberts: The right kind of positive
I’ve filled this little corner of this little paper for roughly the last 10 years. Some weeks I’ve taken a hiatus, but I figure I’m somewhere near my 500th column. I’m not keeping track; there’s no congratulatory plaque or milestone keepsake expected. I definitely don’t remember every column I’ve written, and there are many I’ve encouraged myself to forget.
But I do know that in the last decade, I have never once written about the same topic consecutively. There’s never been a need. Even in 2010, before social media’s pervasive integration into our daily lives, the news cycle always moved on. Every week brought something new to opine about.
And yet, here I am, for the third week in a row mentioning COVID-19. There’s just nothing else as universally important or topical. The news cycle hasn’t moved on — if anything, it’s doubled down on the coverage. That’s remarkable when you consider even the most gripping headlines tend to fizzle out after three or four days.
COVID-19 is a story with staying power. It is now the most shared human experience on our planet. Even for those few countries without cases, life has been interrupted. Borders are closed and travel bans are in place as governments brace for the inevitable. The grounding of flights worldwide means the halt of tourism and business. Many of us have lost money in the markets, or a job, had a vacation canceled, or are now homeschooling a child. Yet we’re the lucky ones. Others have tested positive or are worried about an elderly family member.
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Every day things seem to get a little bit worse. It’s discouraging, frightening, and overwhelming all at once. It can be difficult to find slices of hope and humor in this mess; you definitely have to dig for them. But they’re there. Here are just a few points of positivity amid the uncertainty and chaos.
1. Science is cool again. And widely accepted. There have been massive scientific breakthroughs that will fast track vaccines and treatments. Dedicated scientists have also been able to improve testing for COVID-19, allowing patients to have their results within a couple of hours rather than days, which is helping to minimize spread. Your move, anti-vaxxers, creationists and climate change deniers.
2. Distilleries across the country, including Alpine Distilling and Ogden’s Own in Utah, are making hand sanitizers to help with the shortage. Some are giving it away for free, others like Ogden’s Own announced it will donate all the profits to employees of the state’s food service industry.
3. People staying home has resulted in a drastic decrease in air pollution across the globe, which you’d have to think is especially helpful during a pandemic that attacks the respiratory system.
4. The nation’s dogs have never been so exercised or content. No one gets mad when they interrupt a conference call. They are the true winners in all this.
5. Speaking of dogs, local shelters have a waitlist for volunteers willing to foster a pup. People have stepped up to fill this need, allowing homeless pets to become more adoptable and shelter workers to rescue more animals.
6. Most of us have always wondered what we’d do in an apocalyptic world. Now we know. We’d sit around in our pajamas until 2 p.m. and wonder if we remembered to brush our teeth.
7. Communities are coming together. Neighbors are social distancing from their driveways, people are making groceries runs for those who can’t leave their homes, volunteers are sewing masks and scrubs for healthcare workers, and we’re all finding new and creative ways to connect and check in on each other.
8. It will be a LONG time before any parent tells a teacher, “My kid would never do that!”
9. There is a new and profound appreciation for nurses, grocery store workers, janitors, and truck drivers.
10. No matter how bad things get, remember they could always be worse. Someone out there is quarantined with your ex.
Amy Roberts is a freelance writer, longtime Park City resident and the proud owner of two rescued Dalmatians, Stanley and Willis. Follow her on Twitter @amycroberts.
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With ski season over, Tom Kelly signs off for now. “Like a ride up a chairlift,” he writes, “I hope that you’ve enjoyed your conversation with me this season.”