The Terrible Bounty of 2020
Each day presents a new nightmare in 2020. From shelter at home to layoffs, politics that defy description, and a seemingly endless stream of black Americans being battered and killed by the police as citizens capture them on video.
Covid and American policing have tag teamed 2020 to leave us feeling isolated, unprotected, ill, fearful, and furious. Each feeling is completely legitimate, and as they swirl we are unkind to each other on a good day, and intolerant on a bad one.
2020 is one disaster after another and there’s no way to put a happy face on it, but I’m still going to dig deep and find a few things that I’m keeping from 2020. The rest of it is going to the trash.
2020 is the year we stopped shaking hands.
I’m keeping this. I’ve spent the last decade lying to people about why I won’t shake their hands.
I’ve been known to put bandages on my hand before a conference. I don’t want to shake hands with strangers. Men, you crush my hand and it hurts. It doesn’t make you appear strong, it makes you appear angry and inappropriate, don’t do that. Ladies, we’re supposed to shake hands after a tennis match but I know you don’t want to and I don’t either. Your hand is a disgusting sweaty mix of sunscreen, dirt from the ground, and that gross cardio runny nose landed there, please don’t pretend it didn’t.
We will never shake hands like we did before 2020 and that’s okay with me.
I’d like to keep the masks too. Masks are prudent.
Black people will tell their own stories.
Even though The Help was trending on Netflix earlier this week, white creators are learning to step aside and let our black friends tell their own stories. Our job is to amplify their dialogue, to listen actively, and to learn. That’s where our job ends right now.
This is long overdue. I have small insights into the black experience, but why would I want my words to crowd out others who have beautiful and ugly stories to tell, sometimes an ugly story told beautifully. There’s only so much bandwidth readers have for storytelling, let everyone tell their own. Let them tell it the right way.
This will save people so much embarrassment. If you’re a writer, don’t fight it. Stay in your lane, it’s a good lane.
Businesses will connect us
I’m watching businesses pivot to the new normal and it’s exciting. Of course, mixed in with all the excitement is sadness and dread. No one wants to see businesses fail, so there’s more to be delighted about when new models pop up.
Currently, I have my eye on Doorstep Events. They’re out of Brooklyn and looking to bring events into your home. The site teases with:
Imagine you and your significant other enjoying the same experience at exactly the same time as your friends on the other side of town. Our ticketed experiences enable you to participate in a fun, themed, collaborative experience from the comfort of your own home.
Again, I’ll be profiling them at a later date because I can’t resist a good startup story (or a good reboot), but I’m envisioning the kids and I celebrating birthdays, football games, and other happy events in our homes, on opposite coasts with all the same accouterments — yes, they’re only in New York right now but I’m not a journalist. Hyperbole is my jam and I’m envisioning their growth… ya know… because I’m convinced that Doorstep exists to bring my family together.
As of this moment, everything else that 2020 has delivered can be returned to sender. But I’m keeping these. Now, go wash your hands and don’t shake mine.
Originally published at https://jessicagottlieb.com on June 16, 2020.