My Winner (and Loser) of Covid Times

It's time to pick the item that is more useful than ever, and the ones that are useless

The pandemic hasn’t been an accelerant, but a force of change, leading to adaptation, invention, depletion, and reorganization on scales both large and small. In our personal and professional lives, we’ve seen some things we took for granted shoved aside, while other things that seemed peripheral beforehand becoming far more central to our lives. After six months of experience with this, here are my choices for the things that have risen to the occasion — the winners — and the things in my life that have all but vanished, with even their future utility in question at this point.

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And the winner is . . .

After much deliberation, and a robust list of choices — e-books, firepits, podcasts, time to think, patios, wicking t-shirts — as well as informal interrogatories of friends and neighbors, the winner of Covid-19 for me is:

  • Headphones — I have always liked wearing headphones on flights and on solo walks, from my Bose in-ears to my Apple AirPods. But since Covid hit, I’ve used headphones almost constantly, from Zoom calls to phone calls to listening to music. Mainly, it’s to limit the amount of noise in the house, as three people have been working or studying here since the pandemic hit. Now, it’s such a habit that I catch myself wearing them in for no good reason, just out of a new habit. And my housemates are wearing headsets and headphones far more often than they used to, which suggests that headphones may be the all-around champ.

Honorable mention:

  • Beer — Always liked it, but now we’re collecting the stuff, and I’m drinking it far more often than I used to — nothing to worry about, but a change, and clearly a coping mechanism, and an excuse for careful patio socialization.


And the loser?

  • Dress clothes — Am I ever going to need these again?