We’ve missed a lot this past year. We’ve lost a lot. But in his essay “Getting Back to Quaint,” communications specialist Larry Checco writes from Silver Spring, Maryland, his prescription for getting some of it back.
Quaint. I’m desperately waiting for the return of quaint.
Quaint, as in being able to take a walk in the neighborhood without having to wear a mask or avoid otherwise friendly but maskless neighbors by crossing to the opposite side of the street.
Quaint, as in being able to hug loved ones rather than exchange well-intentioned but awkward fist or elbow bumps.
Quaint, as in spontaneously being able to call a friend and say, Let’s go out for a cup of coffee and shoot the breeze.
Quaint, as in feeling safe about planning trips, staying in hotels, and patronizing restaurants again.
You get the idea.
If my father were still alive, however, he’d say I was griping with a loaf of bread under each arm, an old comparative depression-era saying meaning, things could be worse. And he’d be right.
Despite all the hardships this pandemic has caused so many, my family remains lucky. We’re healthy. Our pantry is full. We have ample resources. We’re plugged into our friends and relatives via phone or Zoom. And we try to help others when and where we can.
In short, when all important things are considered, life is good.
But life is also passing.
More than in any other time of my life, now that I’m in my 70s, I can see the sand sifting through the hourglass, an hourglass that in my youth I thought would constantly replenish itself.
To mix metaphors, life isn’t like a soccer game. There’s no time added at the end of the game for personal injuries or substitutions. When our time on planet Earth has ended, no one says ,“Ah, gee whizz, you missed 2020. Sorry. So to make up for it, we’re going to add another year to your life.”
To mix metaphors even further, when there’s no more sand in the hourglass, the game is over.
But if you’re a boomer who feels like I feel, there’s still a lot of living to do— places to go, people to meet, experiences to be enjoyed.
So let’s get back to quaint before it’s too late. Let’s get this damned pandemic over with as soon as possible.
That means we all need to mask up, keep safe distances, avoid crowds, and as soon as the system lets us, get vaccinated.
Keep in mind, the life you save may be your own— or someone you love. What a quaint notion.