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Sara’s Diary: Day 21 without baseball

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It’s the little things

Ballparks Remain Empty On What Would Have Been Baseball’s Opening Day
A Cubs fan wearing protective gear passes the Harry Caray statue on what would have been the Cubs home opener
Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

It’s been three weeks without baseball and it’s a beautiful day in Chicago. There isn’t a cloud in the sky, and while it’s only 42 degrees, it’s one of those rare Chicago days without wind so the real feel is 56 degrees. Today would have been a Cubs off day, but it’s the type of lovely spring day that was just built for baseball.

There will be no baseball today, or tomorrow, and we still don’t have any idea when it will be back.

A few times now I’ve tried to write an entry about the scope of what we are facing with COVID-19. It’s daunting in a way I can’t fully wrap my mind around. Don’t get me wrong, I could post the number of cases confirmed, the number of deaths, the statistical curves showing the threat to our health care system. But I’m not an epidemiologist and every time I try to wrap my brain around the idea of health care systems at capacity it’s really just too much.

So I find myself thinking of the little things.

I want to be really upfront with this, all of these things are so small relative to the massive challenges people are facing all over the country. I’m certainly doing fine without them and will be okay, but here are the things I find myself missing fiercely that I never truly appreciated:

The Lakefront Trail – my mood is noticeably worse since a few selfish people closed down Chicago’s trails last week by failing to social distance on a warm day.

My hairstylist – Like obviously I’ll be fine while I wait to get my haircut. But I just feel really guilty about this. I had an appointment with her right before all the madness happened and I had to move it. I thought I was moving it a week and now who knows if the salon will even reopen. I feel like I might never get to hang out with her again, and I enjoyed our conversations more than anything.

Watching sports and debates with friends – I’m pretty introverted and as much as I finally love being out of the house with friends, getting there sometimes feels like a huge lift. I miss hanging out with all of you and promise to say yes more often when this is over.

Impromptu dinner ideas – Cooking for one isn’t easy and my general plan of attack for years has been a daily trip to the store to see what looked good and interesting. Daily trips to the store are clearly not a good idea right now and meal planning just isn’t the same.

Planning trips (or really, anything) – Some of my best friends don’t live in Chicago and I truly have no idea when I’ll get to see them outside of Zoom! right now. Don’t get me wrong, the Zoom! conversations are great, but I want to plan a trip with them to drink wine in person and laugh until the early hours of the morning.

Museums – I don’t take nearly enough advantage of the awesome museums in and around Chicago. I promise to remedy that when all of this is over.

Bookstores – I am a bookstore junkie. I could spend hours looking through titles and books. Browsing those same titles online just isn’t the same. I promise to spend more time in independent bookstores when this is over.

Interacting with pets – I live in a neighborhood of dog lovers and a month ago it was common to have these lovely pups come up and say hi. Almost every dog owner was fine with me petting their fur baby and chatting a bit on the street or in the elevator. I miss that. I didn’t realize how much joy was in my life because of your all’s animals.

Smiling at people – Even before everyone started wearing masks it just seems like we aren’t smiling at each other as much. Everything seems tense, every interaction tinged with “are we six feet apart?” I just miss seeing other people smile.

What little things do you miss as the COVID-19 pandemic upends the way we all interact? What will you do more of when it’s over?