Everything is a risk.
A year ago, this was our last normal weekend and we didn’t even know it. Now, we’re deep into a pandemic, with ever-rising Covid-19-related deaths, a new strain on the loose and news of people still experiencing symptoms months after testing positive.
But as more people get vaccinated, it finally seems like there’s hope on the horizon. Eventually, someday soon, the joys of normal life will return.
And yet, we have to ask: Why bother? What’s the point of ever leaving home again?
Getting dinner, grabbing drinks, working out, seeing a movie. All these comforts of middle class existence in the Before Times are gone, and it could be another year until it’s completely safe to return.
And after months of pandemmy life, those of us who are lucky enough to work from home have gotten really good at this stay-at-home thing.
Bars? Simply overpriced drinks. Concerts? Too many sweaty armpits, way too close to your face. Gyms? A house party for germs.
But still, maybe introverts were right all along: Why go out when you can stay in?
Movie theater or movie living room?
Take movies, for example. Yeah, you could pay upwards of $20 for a single ticket, more if you have kids. And you could sit in those chairs (who knows the last time they were cleaned?!), enduring the chatty teenager in the back or the excruciating beam of a cell phone in the front.
But consider this. Maybe we don’t have to! At home, you can watch any movie you want, legs splayed across your couch, being as loud or as quiet as you want. Oh, you missed that last joke? No worries, just hit rewind.
And – for better or worse – streaming services are making skipping the theater easier than ever. Both Disney’s “Soul” and “Mulan” threw tradition to the wind and headed straight to Disney+. Meanwhile, Warner Bros. is streaming movies on HBO Max the same day they drop in theaters.
Sure, there’s a bit of splendor – of magic, if you will – of seeing a movie on a screen the size of a wall. Christopher Nolan did, after all, famously rip into Warner Bros. And who are we to go against the wishes of our favorite confusing-as-hell director?
But also, think of the unlimited snacks.
With in-home work outs, no one can judge you
First of all, think of the germs. Between the sweat-infused yoga mats and the guy wheezing on the treadmill, we don’t know how we ever normalized the experience of sweating profusely in the company of total strangers.
Still, in the fitness industry alone, about half a million jobs have been lost because of the pandemic. But most local gyms are offering online classes, while some personal trainers have created digital exercise plans for purchase. AND, if you’re at home, only your cat can judge you.
So if you still feel the need to pump some iron in public (blegh), that’s between you and whoever’s hogging the lats pulldown machine.
Never again, business casual
Now, let’s think about offices. Be honest. Do you really want to hear Sharon yap and yap about her dog, or Clive make the same joke every week about Mondays? Does anyone actually miss sitting in those hard desk chairs? Hobbling around in uncomfortable heels or readjusting your tucked-in shirt? And the temperature is always weirdly a touch too warm or too cold.
Why do we suffer like this!
Especially now that many of us know the joys of working from home.
The sweatpants. The free coffee. The warm home-cooked lunches. The sneaky mid-day naps.
All this, and surveys have shown that in 90% of cases, productivity at work has stayed the same.
Remind me, why did we ever go into work again? From now on, we’re working from our bathtubs.
Curbside pick up: humanity’s greatest invention
Of course, businesses, particularly our local favorites, need some help, as thousands closed permanently in 2020. Thankfully, online shopping means you can buy new sweatpants (what else are you going to wear?) from the comfort of your couch. You can typically pick it up at the store or, if you’re really committed, have it delivered. No need to step outside!
Restaurants might be a little trickier. Many hate apps like GrubHub or Uber Eats, so ordering take out might require putting on a jacket and (gasp!) leaving the house.
But honestly, curbside pick up makes even that horrifying task bearable, since at least you can avoid leaving the car. All hail curbside pick up!
Allegedly, there are some benefits of leaving the house. Something about “socialization” or “Vitamin D.”
But why bother: pop a multivitamin, get a ring light and grab your fuzziest socks.
We’re staying in.