Carnes: Mining for silver linings
It is really not too much of a stretch to find actual positives to take away from this past year.
Changes both big and small — from puzzle proficiency to a leader not afraid to confront dictators without surrendering to love letters — have occurred to prove how well we can adapt in the face of worldwide adversity.
In other words, we’re a resilient bunch.
Most are here to stay, regardless of whether we all like them or not, with general consensus always trumping those in a perpetual state of disagreement.
A personal favorite, from a strictly selfish point of view, is the change to allow outside bars and seating at the top of Bridge Street and elsewhere in town. The celebratory atmosphere witnessed daily is a huge improvement over years past, providing guests and locals alike with a festive feeling every afternoon.
Though Pepi’s deck will always remain my personal favorite for late afternoon people watching, now there’s a few dozen other choices on exceptionally crowded days.
It would be a real shame if the town ever tried to take it away.
Other local changes include restaurants and retailers learning they could do just as well financially with less staff even in the face of lower gross, real estate agents making a killing and the Vail Daily comments section going the same way as QAnon political fantasies.
We all spent less because there was nowhere to go and nothing to do, put fewer miles on our cars and no longer worried about how to pay for any vacations.
At home we learned to bake sourdough bread, conserve toilet paper and catch up on movies and shows we always wanted to watch — and then discovered why we never should have watched them in the first place.
The self-isolation prompted some to start that novel, lose that weight, finally patch that hole in the wall and helped some couples realize they didn’t really like each other.
Introverts were able to spend more time reinforcing their commitment to being introverted while extroverts were constantly reminded of how much they missed being extroverted.
Teachers were able to avoid students they don’t like, students able to avoid teachers they don’t like, students able to avoid other students they don’t like, yet somehow at the same time teachers were receiving the appreciation they’ve always deserved.
Working parents were able to spend more time with their kids, but on the other hand, working parents had to spend more time with their kids. At least there was no more controversy over Take Your Child to Work Day.
We had no “witnesses” knocking on our door, learned how to make Zoom calls without wearing pants and had time to research DNA to discover we were not the 100% Scottish my mom always claimed, but actually 15% French.
Explains my love of bread shaped like a tube.
I also learned I possess more Neanderthal DNA than 68% of other 23andMe customers, which confuses my brain about wearing a mask while visiting family back in Texas.
So most of the changes can be considered silver linings, but we’ll still have to deal with the Darwinism Award Candidates refusing to be vaccinated, thus prolonging this entire ordeal on a worldwide basis.
I suppose some will just never change.
Richard Carnes, of Avon, writes weekly. He can be reached at email@example.com.