If 2020 were a football game, the first half is in the books and our team is down by countless unanswered touchdowns and riddled with pick-sixes, ejections, questionable calls and career-ending injuries.
Even our mascot has lost its will to live.
However, 2020’s halftime just concluded with an impassioned speech by the head-coach-living-in-my-head, and I am fired up. Let’s hope that against all odds, we can turn this thing around. C’mon 2020, we can do this.
To keep a positive mindset, I have decided to dip my toe into some newfound freedom and go with the flow of Phase Whatever of Connecticut’s reopening. Surely everyone is tired of the same old quaran-routine, so I am up for anything. Well, that’s not entirely true—I immediately shot down my husband’s idea of renting an RV and traveling around to…somewhere. While I don’t enjoy being a dream-killer, the thought of cramming into a confined space with my lockdown crew of four months seemed like the opposite of breaking free and going on a living spree.
So, in lieu of mobile-lockup, we are exploring other options this summer with the goal of finding joy and filling the void left by camp cancellations and other COVID-related hiccups.
Typically, my children attend sleepaway camp, where they are fully entertained, outdoorsy, and blissfully unaware that they are detoxing from technology and soul-sucking social media. However, once again, Covid had to sink its teeth further into already weary parents and quash my strategy to outsource summer fun and temporarily relocate my children. Thus, I have transitioned from remote learning headmistress to camp counselor-slash-Internet police, which I’m hoping is just a seasonal gig.
As both a recreation cheerleader and dark web watch guard, my main objective is to curtail screen usage, TikTok perusal, and mind-numbing Fortnite headset banter. The end goal is to lure my kids from blue light to sunlight. And believe me, it takes a ton of stamina and fake charisma to entice screen-agers to rest their strained eyes and venture outside. If I hear myself refer to the sun as “Vitamin D” one more time, I will rent that RV and drive it off a cliff. Even more worrying is the growing concern that I will have to update my son’s passport eye color from Brown to Red/Bloodshot—that’s an option now, right?
Overall, it is obvious that I am not nearly as fun, creative, or cool as an 18-year-old camp counselor (or Fortnite), but we have started to see the light. A few family getaways have helped boost everyone’s mood and outlook. Just a change of scenery, and speedy poolside bar service, is all it takes for me. However, on a recent jaunt to Cape Cod, I was made aware that my son has his own unique set of requirements. As we were settling into our hotel rooms, I noticed a covert operation unfolding when my husband and son started fidgeting around with the TV. Watching curiously, I came to realize that this dynamic gaming duo was setting up our personal PlayStation console that had been smuggled into the car without my knowledge or sign-off. I was shocked (and slightly impressed) by the deception. However, since I am in a place of finding joy, I let it go. On the upside, my son’s gaming contraband allowed him to remain a committed Fortnite teammate whilst on vacation, thus keeping the New Canaan U13 All-Star Team intact. It’s all about teamwork and remaining positive this year.
Since I’m cautiously (and perhaps unrealistically) optimistic about getting 2020 back on track, I also felt compelled to participate in the local economic recovery effort. Like a heat-seeking missile, I was drawn to the newly reopened nail salons. The idea of indulging in a guilty pleasure was too much to pass up, so I strutted into town like a conquering hero to enjoy my first pedicure in more than four months.
The Belle Visage/Natural Nail Lounge on Forest Street met all of my paranoid criteria for an anxiety-free nail service. A masked and face-shielded technician greeted me outside at the appointed time and took my touch-free temperature (I passed–there is a God). Then, I was prompted to use a pump of hand sanitizer, before donning plastic gloves that would protect the polish bottles from my overeager clutches…and we were off to the races. Honestly, I was so ridiculously excited to be fussed over and pampered that it’s a good thing a mask covered my goofy, ear-to-ear grin. I could not contain my joy—my mask runneth over.
After months of taking ultra-extra-care of my family and constantly worrying about everything, the self-indulgent pedicure was a mini-vacation in itself. The stress of the Fortnite screaming and constant Internet policing melted away. As I sat in my own plexiglass display case, I kept agreeing to add more and more time onto the duration of my foot and leg massage. After setting a new reflexology endurance record, I decided it was time to end my service when the technician started to overanalyze the size of calves. He was very insistent that one calf was significantly larger than the other, and that’s when reality slapped me in the face—it was time to pay up and get back to my homebase before I ran away with the masseuse, or killed him.
All in all, the second half of 2020 is off to a better start here in New Canaan. After months of socially distancing, isolating and mask wearing, our town is well positioned. As reopening (hopefully) continues, it is such a relief to get a little taste of what life was like Before COVID (the new B.C.). Safely enjoy your guilty pleasures as they become available—life’s too short to stay on the sidelines. Put me in, coach.