Is the saying that “It’s an ill wind that brings no good” ringing true for you during the pandemic?

Here are some perks for me:

New words: As a lover of language, I delight in the terms “doomscrolling” (compulsively checking headlines to see what fresh hell is emerging); “zoombombing” (pranksters crashing a Zoom meeting); “covidiot” (one who ignores precautions); “germ-shaming” (chastising someone who doesn’t take the same precautions you do) and the “quarantini” (quarantine martini) poured for virtual happy hours.


New sense of community: Neighboring is back. What fun it is to stand in the yard alongside neighbors waving from their yards as a jubilant car-parade passed by.

I’ve enjoyed seeing yard signs marking kids’ milestone birthdays, greeting people out gardening and having a neighbor text that she’d dropped off a doorstep delivery of surplus pears, mistakenly added to her online grocery shopping order.

Oodles of time: As I wake from a long voluptuous nap in the middle of the day or stay up until the wee smalls with a page-turner (no penalty to pay upon the morrow), I recall semester breaks in college. All cares were tossed to the wind and I could just be.

Then, as now, leisure time means baking. I’ve been baking bread for the first time in years (my Canadian husband doesn’t mind that mine has the shape and consistency of a hockey puck).

Reawakened friendships: It’s life-affirming to catch up with old friends that I had all but lost touch with, except perhaps on Facebook.

Those warm voices over the phone — the escapades remembered and inside jokes retold — gladden the heart like nothing else can. I loved reminiscing with a family friend, now a nonagenarian.

We laughed about the time, when I was a toddler, that I did such a good job of hiding her shoes (because I couldn’t bear for her to leave my parents’ house) that she had to go home barefoot.

Mail: Out of the blue, a friend printed out and sent me a Wendell Berry short story, “A Jonquil for Mary Penn,” that she re-reads every spring.

I can see why — Berry is a master at beckoning you to read between the lines. In turn, I am enjoying mailing trinkets to the kids in my life.

Appreciation of nature: I’ve started marking time not by checking the calendar for annual conferences, but by watching irises emerging from their beds of bladelike leaves and peonies rapturously opening.

One day, we might look back on this era with both relief that its hardships have passed and gratitude for what it has reawakened.

Readers, what are your pandemic perks?

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