I miss people.
There’s just no other way to put it. My kids miss people, as well, and … crazy as it may seem, they miss school.
As I type this I am currently getting three weeks to the fill up. As a mother of two active kids, that’s plain unheard of. Not to mention the amount of money exchanged for said fill-up is a fraction of what it once was.
There was a day and time, when I would have dreamed of such a fact, now (if being honest) it’s a bit of a nightmare. Okay, “nightmare” may seem extreme and perhaps it is, but as I so profoundly stated at the start of this piece … I miss people.
Recently I had someone inquire as to how things were going in my job. How Corona had affected my way of daily operation. In short, we’re lucky in the way of technological support, as well as community support.
Phone interviews, which many have done for decades, have become my normal, as has text message and e-mail correspondence. Each of these things have been commonplace for many in the business for a long time now. Maybe that’s one of the many things which make us different, the mainstream media and the small town journalist.
Several years ago, I was asked why I didn’t pursue a career with a major publication. At the time, I was newly divorced, juggling two small children, full time work and trying to reestablish our “new normal.” The environment in which I worked was not only family friendly, but supportive – abandoning that at the time seemed foolish.
Nine years later, as I type this from my living room, with my children homeschooling at the dining room table, I have no regrets in that decision. What I recognize, now, versus then, is that while yes, practically speaking maintaining a local job was best for us … it’s the people.
While students no longer get excited to see the “lady from the paper” as they once did, I still miss them. I miss popping by an elementary school for a random event and some candid shots. I miss the excitement of the family the following week when they see their student in the newspaper.
Equally I miss making my sporadic stop by SaveMart, knowing full well I’ll leave with at least two to three story ideas. I miss coffee and a cold one with my girlfriends, movers and shakers of the community who always seem to manage to share a story with me that eventually leads to the newspaper pages.
Often times, pre-COVID, I would find myself driving through town, post phone call or text wondering how I became so fortunate to be dropped in a circle of such quality people. I’m not kidding, some of the truest movers and shakers, selfless humans I call friend. Yes, I miss them too.
So as I say often, what’s the point of all this really? I guess I just felt it was time to acknowledge the obvious. As humans, we are social beings. Human connection is like sun and rain to a plant, we need it. We need to see the smile of another, feel a hug or hear a laugh.
Oh, sure I see you introverts, I know you’ve enjoyed a large part of this isolation stuff, I also know I’ve seen you a bit more “virtually” than ever before on Social Media. As an introverted, extrovert … I get it.
Here’s to a future of smiling more, hugging tighter and continuing to laugh from the belly. Be smart and stay healthy.
Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.