Cool Things Happening Because of Shelter in Place

by | Mar 27, 2020 | EA Stories, Public Spaces, Parks & Recreation

After seeing unemployment numbers spiking and hearing Ohio Health Director, Dr. Amy Acton, encourage us to further flatten the curve through early May (yikes!) I am refocusing on the positives to stay upbeat and calm.
This is the end of my second week of working from home, isolated from my co-workers, friends, family, and 90-year-old nursing home-bound mom. The Type A, small business owner in me is working to find other ways to channel my energy and stay optimistic, so here are some of the good things that I can think of that are happening as a result of Coronavirus and the stay-at-home order.

People have rediscovered walking.

I have never met so many neighbors. It’s like rush hour on the sidewalks and paths around the Shaker Lakes. Everyone is on withdrawal from gyms, yoga studios, and boot camps. Walking is the only socially acceptable way to leave your house besides going to the grocery store. I’ve always been a walker, so I’m happy to see so many people out. In days past, you might get a mild wave from a jogger or dog walker, but we are all so starved for human interaction that our walks now include multiple stops to talk. Sometimes, we stop and talk to strangers who are out in their yards. Two days ago, we met the woman who lives in the house behind Craig’s. She wants to share gardening ideas as the two yards abut. How cool is that? Would that have happened if we weren’t all out walking at 2 p.m. on a weekday? Probably not.

We’re exploring new hobbies.

I’ve never been much of a TV watcher. Coronavirus hasn’t changed that, so we are looking for other ways to fill our days. Yesterday, my boyfriend Craig brought out his metal detector and we went to a nearby field to explore. I’ve always wanted to try this and the 60 degree weather helped. After the third dig resulted in yet another pop can, I was wondering if this was a good idea. But our fourth dig down 6″ into the soil resulted in a small silver ring. We¬†noticed the 925 stamp on the inside, Googled that, and discovered sterling silver is gets roughly $14.50 an ounce. That’s the most money I made all week! If you see me in a field in Shaker with a metal detector, my bank account isn’t empty yet…I’m just having fun.

Loot from our metal detector outing

We’re helping to heal the earth.

It’s way too early to tell (and if shelter-in-place is brief, it may not have long-lasting effects) but with far fewer airplanes and cars out and some factories idling, there have to be positive effects on the earth, right? Inspired, we decide to do our part and buy a composter online. When I noticed it came with like 1,000 screws, I gave the job to Craig. Food scraps and yard waste are now being turned daily.

We notice the little things.

We filled the bird feeders and now have to get a book of birds of Ohio! I know the obvious ones (like cardinals and bluejays), but not a lot of the others. I never really took the time to notice little stuff like this until now.

We’re discovering leaders.

Whether you voted for Governor Mike DeWine or not, you can’t deny he is an amazing leader during this crisis. I rarely gave a thought to Ohio politicians outside of my own Councilman and Mayor before. But every day at 2 p.m., we sit and listen to the Governor’s press conference for an update on COVID-19. (If you miss it, it’s available on Ideastream.) My friend Destiny Burns, who owns the currently shuttered Cleveland Urban Winery, calls 2 p.m. her “wine with DeWine” time. Good idea as the news is often so sobering that a glass of rose might help. And a clever entrepreneur has already figured out how to make money off of this!

We’re finding ways to socialize.

Speaking of rose, since every day feels like the one before, you might as well just pick a random day of the week for a day off. Why wait for Saturday and Sunday when everyday feels like the weekend? I know lots of you are still working full time and trust me, I’m jealous. My company went from humming along with a dozen active candidates to hearing crickets chirp. So if Coronavirus is going to force us all to experiment with what retirement feels like, I’m not going to fight it. Yesterday we sat in the Adlers’ back yard, 6′ apart of course, enjoying happy hour and conversation with humans near us for the first time in two weeks. It felt like heaven as we talked and the dogs Lily and Bart laid in the sun on the grass.

Six-foot social distancing but happy hour anyway in the Adlers’ backyard

Tom & Joanie Adler 6′ away

Lemons into lemonade and all…stay healthy everyone. We can do this! My recipe for staying sane and calm: humor, staying in touch with people, eating healthy food, exercising, and only watching one hour of news a day.