One of my early forays into recreational writing was as the night clerk at the Lake Lodge in Yellowstone National Park. The “shift log” was a notebook, intended to convey pertinent information about the evening’s events to the morning shift. As the last person manning the front desk at 1 AM (at which point we closed), I was entrusted with this sacred duty. Most nights were uneventful, so I started writing top ten lists (à la David Letterman) to give the morning folks a reason to consult the log. I sampled all manner of superficial topics which ranged from “top ten things people think JP stands for” (yes, Jalapeño Pepper was among them) to “top ten statements I’ve overheard tourons say” (a portmanteau of tourist and moron, used to refer to some of the park’s visitors). If I were to write such a list today, it might go something like this.
Top ten subtle changes brought about by the pandemic
10. Hand washing. Wait, that’s a change? For whom??
9. Green thumb. It’s easier to mind the plants when there is nowhere else to go.
8. Face mask fashion. So many colors, so little time.
7. Emergency shirt. You know, for video calls.
6. Social awkwardness. Especially with relatives. Hug? Shake hands? Elbow??
5. “Home office”. Really, any room with a table and a chair will do.
4. Spoiled pets. With you around all the time, squirrels best be on the lookout (dog scratches door).
3. Redefined outings. Going to your backyard counts.
2. Arts and crafts. Something had to fill the void left by water cooler conversations. While I don’t condone sourdough bread making, I have been known to dabble in paper mâché.
1. Pants schmantz! From the waist down anything goes. Pajama pants, shorts, undies… Who’s gonna know?
Come to think of it, this list might make for a nice infographic as well…
Believe it or not, donuts didn't play a role back then; that came later. Which goes to prove, people can change (arguably) for the better.