Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Where would I be without __________?

Well, here we are — September. It has been quite a summer, an unprecedented time as we often hear. Today, the girls start virtual 10th and eighth grade, and at this point, we are all doing fine.

What is it that helped me not only survive, but thrive, during this Covid shutdown? I am reflecting on that today and have come up with people and things that have been important to me.

The words "unsung hero" might be redundant. Any hero that is looking for some kind of credit, or recognition, well, is that really a hero?

Of course, anybody could come up with a list of well-deserving "sung" heroes, like Martin Luther King and Gandhi. But what about our world of do-gooders, helpers and people who make everyone's life better and hardly get any recognition?

Where would I be without ___________?

To thrive during these times, I owe a boatload of praise to the people I'm closest — Dina, Sophie and Chloe. I also owe praise to some "unsung heroes."

Strangely, as I compiled a Top 10 list of unsung heroes, I realized that only two of the 10 were actual people. What kind of life am I living?!?

1. The staff at the Cypress Ralph's. I live walking distance to Ralph's, but I drive because, well, how am I going to carry this stuff? I have my favorite checkers, and I feel our chitchat is more than that — maybe. Where would I be without all of this constant food? If I feel I'm seeing these workers too much, how in the world must they feel?

2. The dishwasher. Holy mackerel! This thing has taken a beating, but it perseveres. It was brand new when we remodeled and moved in 2016 and is doing fine. I've learned how to get the tiny detergent drawer always to close. The key: Pretend you're a dentist and get rid of the soap-scum buildup with a sharp tool. Fascinating!

3. My liver. Overall, I've been pretty kind to myself — of late. But early in the shutdown, I had a few rounds of craft-beer mania. Luckily, I have learned how to pace myself and not overdo craft beers.

4. Topo Chico. It turns out that one reason I dabble with craft beers is the artwork on the can. Topo Chico is a healthy replacement. For anyone not familiar, Topo Chico is sparkling water that comes in a glass bottle. I find it better than Perrier and Pellegrino.
5. Spotify. Wow, to think that I just started subscribing to Spotify Premium in February, makes me wonder what I was thinking. I've found so much incredible new music that I must sound like an old timey Gen Xer. On Day 36 of the shutdown, Dina, the girls and I created a family playlist. We each are allowed 20 songs, and we can swap them out as we please. We listen to it every meal. Love it!

6. Black Lives Matter. The fact that I put Topo Chico and Spotify listed higher than BLM must reek of privilege. Sadly, I'm being honest. I'm happy to see the Black Lives Matter movement go mainstream and get corporations and sports onboard. If you're somehow still not supporting BLM by now, it's time to let that go. Right?

7. Aaron from the Seal Beach bike shop. During a ride with Don in Laguna Niguel, I was coming down some major hills, and my brakes were screaming and hardly working. Through some analysis and a little trial and error, Aaron replaced my painted rims, and it worked. He even called me after a ride to see how it went. What a great dude!

8. The reopening of libraries. Thank god! "You don't know what you have until it's gone." I'm back to the literate man I once was in a world of alliterates (people who can read but choose not to). Curbside pickup is good enough for me; I just request books and pick them up anyway. No need to be strolling up and down the aisles of books like I'm in an Aerosmith video.

9. K-Pop random dance challenges. My teenage daughters love doing these, and I participate in a desperate attempt to connect with them. We follow dance moves on YouTube, and sometimes I catch a glimpse of myself in a window. I feel like I'm killing it, and then I notice I'm hardly moving. It's not easy keeping up with teenagers and pretending to be in the group Mamamoo.

10. My sand wedge. In July, I returned to golf, which is safe and socially distanced. I think I'm playing better pre-shutdown, for sure. My chipping, in particular, has been strong, and the golf course is one place that gives me a sense of normal.