10 Things I Never Thought I Would Say (COVID-19 Edition)

This past year has been one for the books, to say the least. I had a lot of time to spend with my parents. I had a lot of time to think and now, I have had a lot of time to reflect. Here are the top ten things I never thought would say but, found myself uttering over the past twelve months:

1. “My mom said that her best friend said that her aunt said that her cousin knows where to buy toilet paper!”

History tells us that there is nothing more American than stepping up for your fellow citizens and in turn, the nation, during a time of great crisis. In President Kennedy’s inaugural address, he called on each and every American with the immortal words, “Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.” However, in the early months of the pandemic, some chose a different approach. Ah, what President Kennedy must have thought as Americans rumbled West Side Story-style in the aisles of their local Target store for the most coveted quarantine item: toilet paper.

2. “Are fresh fruits and vegetables even good for you anymore?” 

In a time when the safety of our everyday items and basic necessities was called into question, eating food from a store could be frightening. Even after wiping them down — while wearing gloves, two masks, a face shield and a hazmat suit — my family found ourselves wondering, “Are fresh fruits and vegetables even good for you anymore?”

3. “The President suggested that we inject disinfectant?”

This is the same person who told us Mexico would pay for the border wall, mocked a reporter with disabilities on national television, bragged about sexually assaulting women, separated children from their parents and put them in cages and declared that if he shot somebody, he would not lose any voters. Now, he suggested that we inject disinfectant to treat COVID-19 – and I am surprised… I guess the joke’s on me.

4. “35 degrees is perfect weather for an outside, socially-distant dinner.”

Flashback to pre-pandemic days, and there is no way I would be caught outside voluntarily in freezing temperatures. But, clearly, times change. Now, come snow or ice, because nothing will stop me from being able to spend time with ANY OTHER HUMAN BEING besides my parents.

5. “I heard they have curbside, no touch, handless, assembly line-style delivery.”

In the early months of the pandemic, my parents were determined to not come into contact with any other human being — and obtaining groceries was no exception. So, you can imagine, my parents’ sheer delight when they were told there was a service designed for them, and like-minded, individuals: curb-side delivery.

6. “I’m pretty sure I can cut your hair.”

When my parents hesitantly approached me with the idea, a few months into quarantine, I decided that it seemed only fitting to have a new haircut equally as unsightly as my new daily attire. Thanks to their masterful artistry, I was gifted just that. 

7. “Will everyone be wearing a mask on Halloween, I mean… Thanksgiving?”

It is easy right now to momentarily believe we are in some alternate universe — one with no trace of COVID-19, one with a sliver of normalcy. There was a time when masks were for masquerades balls. Masks were for childrens’ costumes. Masks were for Halloween. But then, you come back to reality and remember that masks are to be worn every day. Masks are for grocery store shopping. Masks are for going outside. Masks are for work. And yes, masks are for Thanksgiving (unless you are someone who refuses to wear a mask. In that case, I stand corrected: for them, masks just are for Halloween).

7. “It feels like I haven’t seen you in a year… oh wait…”

Correction: I have said this statement quite frequently in years past, but never did I mean it literally. But now, in the throes of a time like no other, in which many of us are confined to our homes, deprived of social interaction and physical togetherness, it can feel as if we have not seen our dearest friends and family in a year – because we haven’t. 

9. “This year cannot get any worse.”

This one is actually much better suited for a different list: Things I Will Never Say Again

Again, the joke’s on me: if we have learned anything from this past year, things can always get worse.

10. “I cannot wait to go back to school!”

No explanation needed.