Carmel Magazine

Spring/Summer 2020

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Page 41 of 155

I 's still hell right now for so many people. For those who've had a brush with mortality from an insidi- ous virus. For the loved ones of those who've lost their lives to it. For those whose businesses are on life support or have gone under. Whose bills are stacked up, barely assuaged by well-meaning stimulus checks or grants from helpful organizations. Those whose livelihoods were shoved to the back burner—or into the bonfire. For those lucky enough to have skirted these ills, to have dodged these germ-propelled bullets, there are big lessons to learn. Lessons for which we'd be lucky if only a few "stuck" when this dreaded time in history passes. America finally noticed: Noticed professions that always mattered but are now lauded. We learned that culture could shift to value essential workers more than celebrities. We look at the pizza delivery man with new aplomb. The nurses and doctors we already con- sidered heroes are now society-cer- tified. As is the orderly and the jani- tor. We salute teachers, already stretched thin by budget constraints and hormone-laden students, who've now readjusted to a new climate of bringing the classrooms online. Truck drivers, exhausted from hauling the nation's toilet paper and hand san- itizer supplies, often wait in long grocery lines to refuel their own bodies but they keep on truckin'. Then there's the check- ers themselves, still smiling. At home, our gardens have never been better tended. Our dogs have never looked fitter or felt more content. Fewer pets are being surrendered to shelters because behavioral prob- lems are lower when proper amounts of attention are given to them. Don't get me started on children. Or maybe I should indulge. I've heard fathers, emotions high, call into a popular radio program to tout what they now see they've been missing with their children "all these years." Online videos show dads dancing in tutus. Moms having light saber fights. Jokes abound as moms and dads now have "assis- tant teacher" added to their CVs, Shelter-in-place skills are exploding. New recipes are being tested, tasted, panned, and approved. Closets, pantries, and drawers are more organized. Masks aren't so bad. Entire cottage industries have sprout- ed up around them. You can get them in Hawaiian print, leop- ard, camouflage. People now smile with their eyes from six feet away while cruising the aisles. It's a friendlier-than-usual (non) touch. The World Health Organization reports that air pollution and its ripple effects kill an estimated 7 million people every year. A lung-harming particulate called PM2.5 is now at signifi- cantly lower—if not all-time low—levels in 10 of the world's largest metropolitan areas, including Los Angeles and New York. Videos show jellyfish and octopi cruising through the canals of Venice, Italy, for the first time in memory. Coyotes walk the shore near the Golden Gate bridge. Buffalo lounge at the water's edge on California's Catalina Island. And, kangaroos zoom through the cement fields of Australia's emptier-than- usual cities. Speaking of Zoom, it's now becoming a verb in the manner of Google. "Do you wanna Zoom Wednesday at 5pm?" is seen in group texts between families and friends. What was once a vehicle for business meetings is now as ubiquitous as social media. Grandma and grandpa have mastered it, even using the silly backgrounds that make it look like they're on the moon, the beach, the city, or a myriad of places where none of us are supposed to be right now. Zoom happy hours, pajama parties, and reunions, all bring people together who may only see each other once a year—if that. Overall, many of us have complained for years about the concept of time. We wanted more time. Needed down time. Quiet time. "Me" time. Well, we got the time. We got what we wanted. Maybe we got too much of it. But, as life creeps back to normal, let's not forget how precious time, family, health, and community really are. Let's not forget: Hindsight is 20/20. Let's keep our vision clear about what was good in the beginning of our worldwide Annus Horribilis of 2020. Dina Eastwood is a former news anchor at KSBW TV, past host of "Candid Camera" and has starred on a reality show on the E! Network. She is a writer, editor and yogini. She resides on the Monterey Peninsula with her daughter, Morgan. BEHIND THE SPOTLIGHT D I N A E A S T W O O D But, as life creeps back to normal, let's not forget how precious time, family, health, and community really are. 2020 Vision 40 C A R M E L M A G A Z I N E • S P R I N G / S U M M E R 2 0 2 0

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