Amy Roberts: Calendars in the time of COVID
A couple of months ago I attempted to teach my 6-year-old niece the concept of days, weeks and months. Undoubtedly, 2020 seems like an odd year to take on this lesson — I haven’t known what day of the week it is since last spring — and it hasn’t exactly mattered.
But like most kids, my niece gets excited for events like her birthday and Christmas or the next time she can go to the park, and she always wants to know how much longer she must wait for something she’s looking forward to. Some events can be measured in sleeps. The week before her birthday, we implemented the shuteye countdown. “Six more sleeps until your birthday,” then five, four, three, two and one. But when she started asking me how much longer it will be until she can come skiing in Park City, which is currently planned for mid-March, I decided it was time for a more realistic way to measure the space between now and something more exciting.
I bought her a calendar filled with pictures of puppies and kittens to keep her attention, then explained how each square represented one sleep. I noted special occasions on certain squares — when she turns 7, and when Santa comes, and when, if all goes according to plan, she’ll come out to Park City and ski. We agreed she would make a check mark on the next blank square each morning when she wakes up, allowing her to track the wait times.
This seemed like a reasonable plan. Until I was informed she got tired of waiting and woke up one morning to cross off all of November, January, February and the first week of March. Most of December was X’d out too, though she left Christmas Eve and Day unchecked, since she didn’t want to skip over them. But in her 6-year-old mind, she could simply fast-forward through the boring humdrum to get to the good stuff. Her innocent manipulation made me chuckle at first. Then I realized, most adults I know have kind of been doing the same thing most of this year.
Given 2020 has been such a crappy and crazy year for many of us, we’ve been in a hurry to usher in 2021, as if somehow everything will magically shift once the ball drops in Times Square. I’m guilty of this wishful thinking, as if turning the calendar somehow equates to turning the corner. In theory, it seems like a great idea. In practice, it’s as silly as putting a bunch of X marks over the next few months and declaring it summer.
I’m not sure why so many of us assume the new year means things will be decidedly different and infinitely better. I’m no historian, but during the Great Depression I don’t think people were like, “Ugh, 1933 can just suck it. I’m so ready for 1934. It’s going to be our year!” Though, between a vaccine and a new administration, there does seem to be reason for hope. Or at least reason to dismiss a scenario such as this one:
Jan. 1, 2021: “Phew! That awful year is behind us.”
April 12, 2021: “The demon serpents have taken Kentucky. Here’s what that means for Iowa volcano refugees.”
Of course, 2020 wasn’t entirely horrible. Sure, millions are out of work, we had race riots in the streets, and there’s been an attempted coup of our democracy, but on the bright side, stretch pants sure made a strong comeback. Besides, it’s not actually a coup unless it comes from the coup d’état region of France. Otherwise, it’s just a sparkling authoritarian takeover.
Though I’ve been careful not to make too many plans, I do have a lot of hopes for 2021. For example:
• I hope the next Met Gala theme is stretch pants.
• Given my laundry pile is a mix of stretch pants and non-matching socks, I hope I remember how to dress after this.
• In 2021, I hope to develop the confidence of a clothing company trying to sell us anything other than stretch pants and pajama bottoms.
But most of all, I really do hope 2021 is the start of something better for all of us.
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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