Wissot: A year of binge watching, online shopping and immoderate drinking
March 13, 2020 was not just another Friday the 13th. It was the last day that I didn’t think about putting on a mask when I left the house and social distance from family, friends and strangers.
It was the day before dining in replaced dining out; streaming movies replaced sitting in movie theaters; kisses and hugs became more dangerous than booze and drugs; sanitizing my hands more critical than flossing my teeth. It was the day before toilet tissue was placed on the endangered species list.
I clearly remember what my wife, Alyn, and I did that evening. We were in Denver and a play we had tickets to see at a small neighborhood theater, a block from our downtown apartment, was abruptly canceled. We grabbed a quick bite to eat at a nearby restaurant unaware that it was the last indoor dining experience we would have for months. We ended the evening by going to see an exhibit at the Denver Art Museum. We were the last visitors that night to leave the museum, which closed its doors the next day.
By the weekend the ski slopes were shut down here in Vail and statewide. The following week the game I was going to take my younger daughter to see between the Denver Nuggets and Los Angeles Clippers was canceled because the NBA suspended its season.
I recall as a kid that the first thing I would ask my mother when I got home was, “What’s for dinner?” For the past year, my first words to my wife Alyn were, “What do you want to stream tonight?” Amazon Prime, HBO Max, Netflix and Showtime became as essential to our wellbeing as toothpaste, deodorant, soap, laundry detergent and guacamole.
We spent more time browsing online for clothing that we might need to attend special events before remembering we had no special events to attend. A consolation is that we saved a fortune on dry cleaning.
And then there was “happy hour” which we only curtailed while sleeping. I didn’t realize how many happy hours we logged until I saw the mind-boggling number of reward points we had racked up at West Vail Liquor Mart.
We both know we are lucky to be as old as we were (75 and 69) when the pandemic first hit.
Increased health risks aside, we didn’t have young children at home 24/7 because they were exiled from school, mortgage payments we couldn’t meet, or retirement savings we had to tap into in order to keep our heads afloat.
Had we been at the beginning of our careers, starting a family, or scrambling to pay for college, we wouldn’t have been spared the pain that millions of American families experienced.
We benefited from being in the age group that received their vaccinations first. We both got our second vaccinations last month. I’m mindful of all the septuagenarians like us who contracted the virus before the vaccines were available and didn’t live to make their vaccination appointments.
They were part of the more than half a million Americans lost to COVID-19 in the past year who didn’t get to stream movies, wait for Amazon purchases to arrive, enjoy endless “ happy hours,” and participate in treasure hunts searching for toilet paper.
Jay Wissot is a resident of Denver and Vail. Email him at email@example.com.