Live from social isolation

Gray Hughes

One of my all-time favorite TV shows is “Saturday Night Live” (SNL).


I first started tuning into SNL when I was a freshman in high school during the 2008 presidential election. Normally then and through college, since I had a life, I would watch the rerun on the Internet the next day since I was usually busy Saturday nights.


Now that I have no life, though, pretty much every Saturday that there’s a new SNL, I can be found in front of the TV watching it.


Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there hadn’t been a new SNL for about a month. Believe me when I say that my Saturday nights had been boring without it.


That was, until this past Saturday.


The cast of SNL did an episode from quarantine in their own homes. It wasn’t their greatest episode and some of the sketches fell flat.


But, man, that might have been my favorite episode of SNL of all time.


To me, it wasn’t the sketches the cast members were doing. No, that was of minor concern.


To me, what made it so great was that it was a bit of normalcy again. It was 9:30 p.m. mountain time, and I was watching SNL. It just felt right.


I think the hardest part of the COVID-19 pandemic for me has been the removal of normalcy. I think it would be the understatement of the millennium if I said that life isn’t normal right now.


I am someone who needs rigid structure in my life. I need routine and normalcy for the benefit of my sanity and mental health. But that has gone right out the window.


I’m doing my best, though, to maintain normalcy. It hasn’t been easy, but I think it’s been going well. I still get up, go to work, put in a good eight hours and head home. At home, I try to keep my same routine as I had before — dinner, watch some TV, catch up on the news of the day on my phone, do graduate school work and head to bed at a reasonable hour around 11 p.m.


For me, luckily, that part of my life has been able to remain the same. But it’s all the other stuff around it that messes with the routine.


School is closed. I’m doing my best to use the conference line during council and planning and zoning meetings — something that I would rather not do but because of social distancing measures I feel compelled to do.


Eating out is not an option any more. Nor is a normal day of running errands, a practice I typically do one weekend day a week.


I’m lucky, though. I know there are millions of Americans — especially our senior citizens — who are really struggling without the lack of routine.


On Easter, I talked with my grandmother. She said she has been struggling not being able to see her friends or go to lunch with my grandfather. It’s been hard on both my grandma and grandpa. They live close to my aunt, uncle and cousins, but they cannot see them because of social distancing measures.


We humans are social creatures. We need human company to make us feel whole. For so many of us, that’s just not possible.


This whole situation removes the normalcy that we crave and need. I couldn’t find anything about suicide rates during this whole pandemic, but I can only imagine they are high because of how so many people feel as if they have been completely shut off from society.


Every night, I pray that this will end soon. Sadly, though, “soon” can be relative when you’re talking to someone who has been around since the creation of time.


What I’m seeing from the big news outlets and what I’m hearing from my friends and family in the medical industry is that we won’t be able to safely open up the economy again until July. They know a lot more about this than me, but I hope and pray they are wrong. I hope and pray that we can safely open up sooner.


Nothing would make me happier than having a Memorial Day barbecue at my new house.


But no one knows when life will return to normal, truly. It’s sad, but it’s true.


About a month ago, I said that this will be the spring of simple things. I said that before COVID-19 became a reality and it was just something those in faraway places were suffering from.


Now, though? It truly is the spring of simple things. In order to survive this pandemic, we need to enjoy the simple things that are around us — even if we can’t do that with the people we love because they’re in different houses.


Take the time to call someone you love. Read a book you’ve been meaning to get around to. Put together a puzzle or play your favorite album from your childhood. Do something that makes life feel normal again.

Times aren’t easy right now. That’s why it’s is important that we hold onto the things that we loved before and why an episode of SNL done on Zoom meant so much to me.

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