I Took a Look at My Social Media From a Year Ago…
There’s been a lot of introspection this week as we approach the one-year mark on when things really hit the fan around here.
I run a humor/travel blog and associated Instagram account from San Diego, America’s Finest City, so it rarely gets too serious over there. But that social media account did give me a good timeline of events as to how naive I truly was at that time.
We know now that the earliest death linked back to COVID-19 in the United States was Feb. 6. That case, a woman up in San Jose, was well before what we thought was the first death attributed to the pandemic at the time, a case up in Washington state. There are talks today of statewide inquiries into limited spread going as far back as December.
But looking at my social media, I had no clue what was on the horizon even into late February.
At the end of that month, we were at a fundraiser for Planned Parenthood at one of our favorite bars. It’s an annual ticketed event where they pour limited edition Pliny the Younger, a triple IPA that is decidedly not my thing, in support of the healthcare provider. We met some fantastic women there, talked about our dogs, all in a pretty cramped space. Someone may have even tasted another’s beer, as not everyone was there for the Pliny.
We definitely swapped phones, oohing and aahing about our dogs and their paws, watching video clips of agility trainings.
I can’t imagine holding a stranger’s phone today, finding myself in all kinds of weird yet somewhat satisfying situations where I’m denying requests to take photos.
A few days after that event, I watched the awkwardly named The Bachelor Live On Stage in a packed theater, the last time I’ve done something like that since the pandemic hit. Believe me, I understand that I should have some regrets that this was the last time I saw some “live theater,” and yet.
And so off I went, into the abyss that is my March 2020 Instagram account, a place full of hope and wonder at what was happening around me.
Let’s go on a journey, shall we?
March 5 — I post about the time we went to Iceland , giving zero damns about talking up potential summer travel as if that was a real thing that was going to happen.
March 6 — This was the first time any hint of the pandemic was apparently hitting my consciousness with my vague “Wash your hands!” comment at the end of an innocuous post about traveling with friends.
March 8 — I mention the pandemic affecting our travel plans, but then commend the city of San Diego for having so many wonderful things to offer in the meantime. I brag about meeting celebrity chef Richard Blais on my birthday once as I do so.
March 9 — I’m all over the value of staycations, as if what was happening by now elsewhere in the world was just something mostly happening over there. This was the day Italy extended a national lockdown.
March 11 — I post a pic at a viewing party for the finale of The Bachelor with some girlfriends and my husband. (I introduce all of my favorite people to the best things.) There are photos of me wearing a Chris Harrison mask that he even “liked” later, which was fun at the time but not so much since he put his foot in his mouth about antebellum-themed parties.
I mention staycations in the post and “staying safe” while hanging out with a bunch of people. There were numerous elbow bumps, though, so it was all good.
March 12 — I make vague mention of staying healthy and doing the right thing, which at that time was beginning to look like staying closer to home for the near future. I say near future here because that’s truly what it felt like to me at the time. I definitely wasn’t feeling like we’d be dealing with this a year later in some form.
March 13 — This is my first mention of having to disinfect surfaces.
Today, I don’t leave home without a purse full of wipes, hand sanitizer and a mask or two.
I can’t imagine getting on an airplane when that’s a thing again and not wiping down surfaces, and kind of like the idea of keeping a mask on during flights from this point forward, too. Part of me thinks it’s fun to trigger the freedom fighters who’ve been against masks from the start, but it’s also fun not to feel people’s sneeze droplets hitting your face after a big one.
I believe it was also around this time that I was learning people are generally gross and need videos to learn how to wash their hands properly.
March 14 — I post about having a brunch cocktail with some friends of ours. The drink came in a little pig, and the time I was having was pretty whimsical indeed. I remember there was a tiny bottle of scented hand sanitizer passed around the table before we dug into our food.
Yes, I was at brunch. The restaurants were packed that day, enough so that we had to go to our second choice eatery due to a long wait at our top pick.
The very next day?
They were all shut down.
March 15 — I post the first in a series of takeout food posts and my efforts to “help the community” with what would become excessive eating over the course of the following year.
March 16 — I consume more takeout and discover that you can now tell your food delivery guy or gal to just leave your grub on the stoop or wherever you want (within reason) so you can avoid direct contact.
March 18 — I mention some things I’m doing professionally while “waiting this thing out.”
*insert crying face emoji*
March 19 — I recount my experience with my Instacart shopper, Rhonda. It was the first time I realized how bare grocery store shelves were becoming. At the time, we laughed it off. I mean, she got us scalloped potatoes because apparently that was something she felt we needed to supplement the sad alternatives she could find.
March 21 — This is my first mention of missing friends, getting bored of Netflix and organizing the pantry, a pastime that would repeat itself down the line.
March 22 — I post the first of many puzzling photos. I don’t mean the confusing sort, but photos of my husband and I doing puzzles. I’ve since found that I love the interlocking technology of Ravensburger puzzles best.
March 23 — I’m talking about the positives of technology in this time of social distancing. By this time I had regular Zoom dates with friends back in Chicago and elsewhere. That definitely didn’t last. Did you know that Zoom is actually pretty exhausting?
March 27 — I make my first mention of that stretchy pants life as I house some macaroni salad. It is apparent that I need a haircut, as I canceled an appointment at the beginning of March after I got the sniffles and wanted to act out of an abundance of caution. I don’t know then what I know now, that December 2019 would be my last time inside a salon.
March 29 — My first pandemic birthday arrives. At the time, it was novel to hang out and drink champagne in the middle of the day, supplementing the bubbles with flaky biscuits from our favorite cafe down the street.
What followed next was a literal “remember when” series of posts about doing innocuous things like leaning in to your friend for a photo, going out for lunch and seeing a movie in an actual theater.
I really don’t miss that last one, as it has been quite the treat not to pay $15 for a bucket of popcorn that I can pop myself at home in that stretchy pants life, on a screen where no one is pointing a tiny red laser dot at the handsome face of Ryan Reynolds or whoever.
Reality begins to settle in around May, an understanding that things were going to get a lot whole worse before they got better. George Floyd is murdered, months of protests follow, election coverage drowns out the pandemic, people continue to die.
The feed is all over the place. Multiple crises battle for attention. None of it seems to matter. The year continues its slog.
Fast forward to March 2021, a second pandemic birthday upon me. Vaccine distribution is ramping up after a slow start.
Hope is returning for brighter days ahead, and it reminds me of March 2020.
It sounds ridiculous, I know.
But at that time, rather than feeling scared and helpless, I was apparently feeling quite hopeful if my Instagram is to be believed.
Part of it may be that my brain just knew that if I went there, that if I truly considered what was in store for us, over 500,000 dead, that horrific winter, the onslaught of misinformation from friends and family doing their best to confuse the heck out of themselves, I’d never leave bed.
Or I just didn’t share my true feelings with Instagram.
That might be it, too.