Photo: KK / BD

Br(u)no: Positives to Take From The Plague Year

Photo credit: KK /BD.

Most people would agree that the year 2020 was an objective disaster.

First and foremost, the COVID-19 pandemic upended society and culture and the global economy. It is a year that no one will soon forget.

But, beyond the deadly health crisis, so many other things went wrong. Governments devolved into embarrassing squabbles. The social fabric was strained. The cyber-world has succumbed to more intrusions. Murder rates spiked. Businesses failed. Some of us have grown fat. Some of us have developed drinking problems. Many of us have suffered loneliness and depression. Students have lost a year of education. Travel and adventure has been postponed.

Now, the calendar has flipped. Let’s not rehash the pain and negativity.

Instead, before we get too deep into 2021 — where, probably for a while, we will get a more intense version of the same — it might be good to consider the positives of the Plague Year, 2020:

Local Travel

— Many were forced to stay home and did not need to commute to work or school.

— Trams and buses were generally less crowded.

— Many disruptive construction projects have been completed or are near to being done.

— Uncomfortable trips out into the city have turned into manageable stay-at-home experiences. (Rohlik deliveries supersede trips to the grocery store. Food delivery removes uncomfortable restaurant scenes with antsy kids.)


— Facemasks have offered a new way to express yourself. One guy in front of me in line at a restaurant window had “F*CK Vlada” written across his mouth. That translates to something a bit stronger than: I don’t like the government. Nevertheless, he was wearing the facemask and practicing social distancing.

— No need to dress up. The only time I put any thought into clothes is to put on jeans for the trips to and from preschool.

— Less laundry. I have rotated through five pairs of sweatpants, five holey T-shirts, five pairs of boxer shorts and five pairs of socks. My Saratoga Race Course – Media 2002 T-shirt is still wearable.

— Less wear and tear on shoes.

Social Interactions

— A great excuse to catch up with high school friends over zoom.

— Facemasks preclude the fear of bad breath.

— Absence makes the heart grow fonder. (I will be much more reluctant to pass on social events when this health crisis will pass.)

— Pictures will be easy to date because of the facemasks.

Food and Drink

— No need to drive means no need to schedule the booze. (Explanation: One of my personal hard-fast post-youthful-indiscretion rules is: never drive after a sip of alcohol.)

— Ability to drink your preferred type of coffee (although I have a new appreciation for the cost savings of work-place variety).

— Freedom to try difficult “dream” recipes. I’ve had various degrees of success with my favorite foods: Svíčková, Pad Thai, Pierogi. And, after many attempts, my bagels are starting to look as good as they taste.

— Time to explore cocktails. (My favorites: Negroni, Gin Martini, Vodka Martini, Vodka Gimlet. My wife’s favorites: Cosmopolitan, Whiskey Sour.)

Self Improvement

— Anecdotal evidence suggests that running has increased throughout the city.

— Indoor exercise has spiked. In our home, we got a treadmill and it has offered a healthy balance to sitting at a computer.

— Treadmill time to delve into YouTube history documentaries. I am ashamed to say that, despite an advanced knowledge of history, my mental “picture” of English royalty never included the fact that many kings spoke French and others had thick German accents.

— Additional time to read. I am ashamed to say that I had put off reading Shakespeare’s Henriad plays: Richard II; Henry IV, Part 1; Henry IV, Part 2; and Henry V — for my entire life. I finally understand the obsession with Falstaff.

Child Rearing

— Ability to spend more time with the kids.

— Time to enjoy watching your children follow the steps to build Lego space equipment and draw Christmas scenes and create interesting artwork.

— Time to appreciate how writing and reading abilities take big forward leaps.

— Another year of maturity will, hopefully, reduce socially awkward hissy fits.

— An appreciation for pre-school teachers and their daily travails.

* * *

This is just a quick list of personal observations.

What are some positives that you will take from this strange year of 2020? Please share.

It may help us all to handle 2021.

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