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Hopeful pessimism

| Monday, February 22, 2021

Last spring semester, I wrote an inside column that was published March 20 — so, by my records, precisely one week after it all went down. Rereading that column makes me laugh. A foundational assumption in the piece: Normal times would resume in probably about 30 days. Ha.

Anyway — because it’s Lent (I should give some alms), and because permacloud is real (I should proactively prioritize my mental health) and because I was just super moody about the pandemic last Wednesday (I should look for the joy in my life), I could probably benefit from some gratitude. I’m certain we can all begrudgingly find the pandemic silver linings when we look for them — more time with our households, a slower pace — you know, those sorts of things. But also, it’s Lent (a season of suffering?), permacloud is real (I think my eyes actually get confused when I step out into sunny weather now) and I was just super moody about the last Wednesday (pretty sure campus is into suspension-of-in-person-activities No. 3 now).

Here’s what I’m grateful for:

  1. I no longer feel guilty about choosing to use paper towels in public restrooms that have an air dryer.
  2. The SDH to-go cereal bar will do wonders for my Flex Point balance and the overall inventory of Cheerios at the Huddle.
  3. When someone is using the stall in the bathroom of the eleventh floor of Hes, I no longer wonder whether I should awkwardly wait inside or outside of the larger bathroom. Here, we wait outside when necessary.
  4. You probably heard carbon emissions went way down in 2020, but what I really love about this is that at the exact same time my single-use plastics utilization skyrocketed.
  5. My print quota is also at a record high.
  6. Face masks fill the void in winter facial protection that was left by 2014’s infinity scarves.
  7. Using the DeBart women’s restroom during class change times is no longer an Olympic sport.
  8. Important meetings are way less intimidating when the important attendees Zoom in from their bedroom.
  9. The other day, my hair was just a hot mess. But then, we all got stuck in breakout rooms with the wrong groups and no instructions. Camera off, hair straightener on. Most productive breakout room ever.
  10. I probably would never have otherwise invested in a desk chair cushion.
  11. I am able to leave for my 8:00 a.m. at 7:52 a.m. and have time to pick up my coffee from Starbucks and not have to debate if the Grubhub service fee was really worth it. I simply have no other options.
  12. We have lodges now. I’ve never been in one, but my mom is very excited about this.
  13. It’s kinda nice to have large tables all to myself.
  14. The Venn diagram of Twitter on a typical day and Twitter on the day after the PSAT is ever so slightly more circular than it once was.

It’s the little things. Here’s to a mask-free spring in 2022.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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