We get by with a little help from our friends - and internet

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Lynne Cope Hummell

Have we all lost count of how many weeks we have been suspended in this cloud of uncertainty? I have. Sometimes it seems like March was forever ago.

Presumably, we can expect that in the coming weeks our lives will start to get back to somewhat normal. Things are starting to open up again - a little at a time.

But look what has happened in that "between" time. I hope you were taking notes during this extraordinary time to pass on to your children and grandchildren! (And I hope you are including the kids' perspectives on it.)

Whether you saw drastic changes in your personal experience, in your neighborhood, or only on your Facebook feed, the changes were plentiful and wildly varied.

Children were sent home to do their school lessons. College students had to switch to online classes.

Restaurants had to close and we couldn't go out for lunch or dinner. Chefs and servers lost their jobs.

Clothing stores and hair salons, among many, many other retailers closed, and we couldn't go buy a new dress or get our hair cut.

It seemed as though the whole world stopped - except for our amazing health care workers who continued to take care of the sick. Our hospitals remained open to care for those in need, not just with COVID-19, but with other necessary care and treatments.

For the rest of us, almost as quickly as one aspect of life shut down, we started finding different ways to keep at least part of it going. Restaurant take-out and curbside service became cool. Online ordering systems improved at even the smallest eateries, so lunch was quicker and easier than ever.

Many families started ordering groceries online and driving to a pick-up station to retrieve their food and supplies.

Parents who still had jobs figured out how to work their schedules around their kids' study time. Parents who were suddenly unemployed were at least able to spend all day with their children, forging bonds to even greater levels.

Staffers in numerous business sectors were sent home with their work computers and continued to carry on their jobs remotely. Birthdays during this time were celebrated in new ways and at a distance, small weddings were held in open air venues, and church services were held via Facebook Live.

Town council and other government meetings were "attended" by hundreds of viewers or listeners on Zoom conference "calls."

Senior residences arranged Skype visits for family members who couldn't go into their loved ones' building or apartment. Hospitals and physician practices expanded their telehealth offerings.

Social media was abuzz, of course. More people turned to their various platforms to check on family and visit virtually with those they were unable to see in person. I was thrilled to see the world - from New York to New Zealand and Israel to Egypt - through postings on a Facebook page called "View from my window."

Now, stop and think for a moment: How could we have survived this time without the internet? Look over the previous paragraphs and notice how many new ways of doing things were dependent on our internet connection.

How could we have done it? We would have had to go back to the ways of our parents and grandparents, I suppose. Our First World problems, desires and demands would have taken a back seat to the most urgent of needs: Care for the sick, the children and the elders. Share with others what food and supplies you have. Build better relationships with those who live closest to you.

You know, it might not be a bad idea to consider those basics anyway.

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