I remember thinking on New Year’s Eve 2019 that I was so done with the year and could hardly wait for 2020 to get started.
Now a year older (and hopefully wiser), I will appreciate whatever the coming year brings. I am properly contrite for not appreciating the beauty of 2020—and in spite of the pandemic, there were many good and happy moments.
When my first husband died at the age of 40, I was devastated and sought answers and reasons for his death. I came up with an idea that seemed to help, that in our life we have moments that are uniquely beautiful and moments that are truly awful. Each little segment of our life is like a piece of a puzzle. When we finally pass from this earth, the jigsaw puzzle of our life is put together in a picture. When the pieces are handed to us, we have no idea how they fit in. But, even the ugly pieces, when combined with the whole, create an exquisite final piece of art.
Look forward to 2021—and embrace whatever comes your way.
Although it seems like we were self-quarantined for a large share of 2020, there are certain areas I wish we could keep.
The GOOD, the BAD and the UGLY
GOOD: City meetings normally require residents who are interested in a particular local issue on the agenda to drive downtown Los Angeles for Planning and Land Use Management meetings, Recreation and Parks Board meetings and other City meetings. This requires unpredictable freeway travel, parking and perhaps taking a day off from work. During the pandemic, these obstacles were removed, allowing everyone to stay home and attend via Zoom. These meetings should continue to allow people to have an option of either spending a day downtown or simply dialing in from home. Environmentally, Zoom makes sense.
BAD: I’m looking forward to in-person local meetings when the Rotarians and the Optimists come back. There’s something nice about a community gathering that Zoom doesn’t capture.
UGLY: Even after authorities were advised that the special L.A. City Planning and Land Use Management meeting on December 8 meeting was not audible for more than an hour, they continued to let the meeting proceed. Many residents thought either the meeting had been cancelled or the problem was on their end. CTN filed a California Brown Act Violation with the City Attorney’s office.
GOOD: Fortunately, these vital stores were allowed to stay open during the pandemic. Although the number of people allowed in was curtailed, which resulted in lines outside the store, the end result meant that people had to line up in aisles to pay, rather than pushing up against one another next to the cash register. Best of all, the clerks and baggers always showed up to work, so that all Pacific Palisades residents could buy food. Kudos to all these workers.
BAD: People in Pacific Palisades complaining about the cleanliness of the stores or the clerks who were not friendly. Really?
UGLY: Those people who were only looking out for themselves and wiped-out whole rows of toilet paper, paper towels and bleach early in the pandemic. This resulted in the stores having to limit the number of items that a customer could purchase.
GOOD: Instead of having to drive to take a class with my two favorite yoga instructors (Jerome Mercier and Alison Burmeister), I can simply roll out of bed, put down a mat and join in on Zoom. The high school swimming pool only allows one person per lane, which is luxurious — a practice I hope they keep.
BAD: Although the City closed all YMCAs and gyms, claiming that they would cause the virus to spread, they remain closed and can’t be blamed for the huge spike in hospitalizations and deaths the past month. Walking, although a nice exercise, is not a great aerobic exercise, which helps support immunity and keep viruses at bay.
UGLY: Closing everything outside, including the trails and beaches. Early on it was apparent that keeping people locked up inside and in close quarters spread the Covid-19 virus. Closing outside basketball hoops and playgrounds was also ugly and unnecessary.
GOOD: At the beginning of the pandemic, before it was clearly understood how the virus was spread, my daughter and my college-aged son came back to live with us. It truly helped define what was important in life: family. My mother for her 91st birthday wanted all six of her children to return home (in South Dakota) to see her in September. We went and she was thrilled.
BAD: So many families had to home-school their kids if they attended public schools. As countries around the world and some states in the United States opened up schools – with safety modifications — Los Angeles stayed shut. A whole group of kids, who either have limited access to the internet, or parents who don’t prioritize education, will be a year behind once public schools reopen.
UGLY: Families are strained because they are living together 24/7, as everyone works, goes to school, exercises and eats at home.
GOOD: The annual Interfaith Thanksgiving celebration held in Pacific Palisades went off without a hitch—on Zoom. It was a lovely, uplifting experience and the town’s clergy are to be commended.
BAD: Spiritual gatherings, inside a church/synagogue, were not available to residents. Many missed the contact of meeting after the service for fellowship. Zoom just didn’t cut it.
UGLY: Strip clubs, liquor stores and pot shops could stay open because they were deemed “essential.” Churches/synagogues did not qualify. If there was ever a time people needed spiritual/religious solace, it was during this pandemic.
GOOD: Many local restaurants provided take-out once it was allowed. Then with sanctions in place, including social distancing and masks, outdoor dining was allowed. Many restaurants added to parking lots and patios to meet the County requirement for safe dining.
BAD: Rules kept changing and L.A. County shut down restaurants for outdoor dining. The County was sued for lack of evidence that outdoor dining was spreading the virus. A judge agreed and then the state kept the restaurants closed. A lawsuit has now been filed against the state.
UGLY: Restaurants are struggling to stay open and the waiters/busboys and other help are without work during typically one of the busiest times of the year.