My beloved grandmother had a saying, “If only we could see ourselves as others see us.” I love that saying. I especially loved it when some “I think I am better than all of you” chick once came into synagogue wearing a really short skirt with a really big hole in her stockings.
Yes, I am a bad person. That is how I see myself, and probably how others see me. I am too sensitive, I tend to hold grudges (though I have gotten much better about that), and I never forget some things, even though I totally should. I have little patience for people and the list goes on and on and on. But enough about me.
So, I know that we are in quarantine and I know that graduations and weddings and birthday parties and all the fun stuff have been shut down to a certain extent. But I have been wondering about all the lawn signs and the balloons telling everyone how old the people who live in those houses are. Or the balloons telling everyone there is a bar mitzvah or an engagement or a “first time little Jimmy went on the potty.” It got me wondering why we never did these things before. Usually, when you would see balloons in front of someone’s house, it meant someone came back from camp, or back from Israel, or, perhaps, back from jail (everything is a celebration). But now, when you walk down the street there are signs and banners and balloons and signs made out of balloons and balloons made out of signs — you get the point.
Why do we need to know that little Kathy graduated from day care if you didn’t want us to know before? Why now? And why do some schools spring for the picture of the graduate and others just have a generic “class of 2020” sign to stick in the lawn? So many questions, and so much time on our hands to think of answers. If only we could see ourselves as others see us — why did some of us not feel the need to celebrate these milestones for others to see before but now, when we have felt the precariousness of life on a global scale, is it okay to let the whole world know what we are celebrating inside our homes?
I am still up in the air about it. See, I told you I was a bad person.
It does make me happy that sign and balloon companies are still in business, and that people are supporting them. A few months ago, I wanted to support a business that was advertising on Facebook. It was advertising a dress with pockets that looked very roomy, and since I was looking at Facebook while eating a pint of ice cream, I thought I could use a roomy dress with pockets to hold the spoon that I use to eat the ice cream. Come to think of it, the pint itself could fit into the pocket. Anyway, I ordered the dress, and all of these weeks later, I still have not received it. I keep emailing the company, telling it that by the time I receive the dress, it will no longer be roomy on me, and they just keep telling me to be patient because they are small business and things are taking longer than usual. Hey lady, the dress is basically a sack with pockets that little Kathy who graduated from daycare could make as an arts and crafts project. Where the heck is my dress?!?!
Yes, still a bad person.
So the moral of this column is as follows — when this whole pandemic thing is over, remember to keep on celebrating, with signs, balloons, skywriting, fireworks, even if it annoys the people walking down the block.
Because if any of us have been learning anything, it is that there are no guarantees in life and every day is a gift. Hope you are all staying well and sane. And congratulations to the all of the graduates, no matter where or what you graduated from!