In the interest of transparency, I begin this rant by admitting that I’m luckier than most. My freelance writing skills have been feeding my cat and I for decades, so in terms of spending alone time hearing words and people in my head, I’m truly fortunate to keep on working while so many are out of jobs.

That doesn’t mean I haven’t been petulant. I want to go out when I want to go out, so I was perpetually feeling put upon — until the day I found myself trying a new way to fold a bandana so I could escape my apartment in search of fresh avocados, bananas and peaches.

“This is awesome,” I told my cat Tuna, as I figured out a way to configure the square in such a way that it was tight enough to fog up my glasses. Not one to leave unturned any idea stone, I came up with a few more gems that put a positive spin on these troublesome times and thought I would offer them to you.


  1. I’ve become a friend of wildlife. For the first time — in as long as I can remember — no angry, militant Canada geese attacked me at Target’s Prospect Street parking lot. They’re nesting everywhere and not inconveniencing a soul because shoppers aren’t shopping. I expect this year’s gosling population to spike.
  2. It’s quieter around my ‘hood. On the topic of driving and traffic, the busy street that backs up to my apartment is quieter than it’s been since I moved in and that’s a blessing. I’m used to 18-wheelers whizzing by so fast, the art on my street-facing wall does a happy dance. Now, I’m the one busting some moves.
  3. I learned to Zoom. I’m not making excuses, but when it comes to technology, just call me Nimrod. My recent acquisition of a smart phone only came about because I needed GPS to end my propensity for wandering neighborhoods and expending more gas than I care to admit. I’ve become a Zoomer. Who knew?
  4. I’ve got a new friend. My young neighbor, whose name I only know because Tuna escapes our digs to check out the latest delivery from Chewy.com next door, left a long note on my door offering any help I might need. Who does that? If this keeps up, I’m going to have to have my inner skeptic surgically removed.
  5. I relinquished my throne. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree in terms of take-charge women and when I found out that my granddaughter had stepped up and taken control of all family matters and become the Errand Queen, I was bereft. That used to be the job of the family control freak (me).
  6. My respect for Muslim women has increased ten-fold. The deep faith that commands them to cover some or all of their faces stands as a tribute to their willingness to follow rules. One shopping trip wearing a face mask made me realized how lucky I am to let my hair blow in the breeze any time I like. Small blessings.
  7. I learned the true meaning of community. The outpouring of concern and love I’ve received from near and far has been breathtaking. As a New York City-born woman who has spent a lifetime honing my sarcasm skills, I had no idea how to “be taken care of.” Then, the virus arrived. People came out of the woodwork (or cyberspace). I learned to wash my hands, keep my fingers out of my mouth and for perhaps for the first time, I learned how it feels to be truly connected.

Author or co-author of 17 books, consumer and trade articles plus online content, Champaign, Illinois resident Gail Cohen uses her degrees in anthropology to shape her fiction and nonfiction writings. Cohen authored weekly columns and features for The Daily Herald (Chicago suburbs) and taught writing at Harper College and National-Louis University for 20 years. Named one of 16 top content writers for Demand Studios (3,000+ articles), she continues to churn out content for Textbroker.com. Cohen’s blog, 100 Wicked Words, lasted longer than her 3 marriages and 3 literary agents. She has a slew of children, one cat and no regrets.

Photo by Joe Flood/Flickr Creative Commons.