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Breaking news– Quarantine suuuuuuuuuuuuucks!

Bust out your tiny violins while I lament a few of the things we’re missing big time:

  • Spring Break in Florida 
  • haircuts
  • pants with snaps or buttons
  • McDonald’s (that one’s from Quinn)
  • SCHOOL
  • people not diving into traffic to avoid me and my dog on the sidewalk

I’m trying not to take that last one personally.

Oh the list goes on as it does for you and this post is meant to add some levity to the situation and absolutely not at all to diminish the real hardships so many people are going through. We recognize (usually by forcing ourselves to) how lucky we are. I can work from home, my company is being incredibly supportive, I like my family for the most part, and Netflix gave us The Tiger King. And because of these fortuitous circumstances, we are giving back and supporting those less fortunate as much as possible. I get weepy every night at 8pm when I hear neighbors on their front porches banging pots and pans and cheering for the people on the front lines. (Not really loving the kid with the air horn but whatevs. I’ll allow it.) I really broke down thinking about the kids who were missing out on social services through the school and then got doubly emotional when the schools said they’d still be providing lunches and our principal offered to meet families at Safeway to buy their groceries. The emotions are strong in this one. (Me. I’m “the one” being referred to.)

No one wants to be Coronavirus positive, but there are Coronavirus positive outcomes. Here’s a few I hope continue when this whole thing is over (and it will be.)

Virtual Happy Hours: Almost every night I have a virtual visit and a very real drink with friends. Some of my friends are on the other coast and some are my neighbors sixteen feet away. You guys, this is fun! It doesn’t replace a face-to-face meet-up, but it’s way better than drinking alone.

Giving Up Control: So I guess I like to control things. Who knew? But ain’t no one controlling the events happening now. I hate that my kid isn’t going back to school until September. I hate how much he misses his friends. I really hate first grade math. But alas, no matter how many swear words I lob into the universe I can’t cure a pandemic and return things to normal. Enter Apathetic Shelly who is just too beaten down to care. She stays home, she respects social distancing, she allows herself momentary (read: several days) of freak-outs when she hears bad news, and she (probably) drinks too much. So what? Give her a break. She’s out of control.

Greeting People: Just because we have to stay six feet apart doesn’t mean you can’t lift your sad, little head up when we pass each other. How about a smile and/or wave? 90% of the people I see when walking my dog look down or away and avoid all eye contact,  but when I encounter one of the 10% who do, it’s like a rainbow cloud parts overhead and rains Reece’s Pieces. Don’t underestimate the power of a simple greeting. I SEE you, fellow anomic.

Not Blowing Off Social Functions: Seattle is known for a phenomenon called the Seattle Freeze. Basically Seattleites are polite to your face, but never really intend to follow through on real friendship. It’s been really helpful with all the social distancing business. Even though I’m not a Seattle native, I’m guilty of the ol’ “Oh we should totally get together, I’ll text you!” knowing full well I won’t. But now I will! Promise! Just give me one more chance, Universe!

Seriously, Karen. We don’t do that shit anymore.

Altruism: If you dig deep enough through the muck of the world, you’ll come across some really delightful news. People doing kind things for each other. Whether that’s a living room Zoom concert, leaving food and toiletries in Little Free Libraries, reaching out to vulnerable neighbors, sending tulips from festivals no one can attend to assisted living facilities. The list goes on. When I feel helpless I combat it by going into helper mode. I make a lot of donations and yes, do some online shopping because that’s helping the economy and I really love my UPS guy and he really loves my dog. It would be sad to keep them apart.

Hmm…no toilet paper here either…
Photo from a West Seattle neighbor

Empty Animal Shelters! You guys! People are stepping up to foster and adopt dogs in record numbers! Go us! This is just one heartwarming story about a Chicago animal shelter being plum out of dogs. We had a lovely little foster pup for three weeks before she found her forever home. If you’re going to be stuck at home for god only knows how long, might as well spend it in the company of a fur baby. Dogs are truly the real and only winners of this pandemic.

Jenna, we hardly knew you, but in a short time you made your way into our hearts, Puppy’s bed, and Zini’s litter box. Ew. Check out Doggoneseattle.org if you’re in the Seattle area and on the market for a fur baby of your own.

Small Business Love: I’m sad seeing how many small, local businesses have had to  shut their doors entirely and lay off staff, but also impressed with how quickly many of them were able to pivot or shift their business models. At least once a week we get delivery from a local restaurant and whenever I can I order a special treat online from a neighborhood shop and either wait to pick it up until quarantine is over or enjoy some local doorstep delivery if they offer it. I treated myself to a necklace and pair of earrings from one of my favorite neighborhood shops and the next day a beautiful bag with ribbon and a handwritten thank you note was left on my front porch. Remember how much you love these small businesses when we’re free to move about again. (Also, I still love Target and even though they aren’t a small business, I’m definitely heading back there as soon as I can. I’m not perfect, okay???)

Solidarity: Have you ever felt so connected to THE ENTIRE WORLD while being absolutely, completely isolated from it? Whenever I start to feel a little anxious or sad or angry I think of a mom somewhere in Pambula, Australia who is feeling the exact same way. Damn, her and I need a virtual happy hour. Misery loves company, right? And if there’s anything we all use right now its company.

Stay safe, friends!

Thanks, kids on the school playground. Remember school? Those were the days.

Shelly Mazzanoble

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