Unmasked - PhMuseum


Lauren Hermele

2020 - Ongoing

March 12th was the last day we were out in the world as we knew it. I had two in person appointments, and then took my daughter Annabelle to the Berkeley Art Museum. I had a feeling things would be shutting down, so, snuck in that extra activity with her.

March 13th is when everything started shutting down. It was the last day I went to the supermarket in person. I waited on lines down the aisles to check out. I don’t ever think I’ve had such a full shopping cart in my life. We decided not to take Annabelle to her ballet class that day.

And that was the beginning of a shift that felt transient at the time, but is having permanent echoes on how we live our lives. Zoom calls started, videos of proper hand washing circulated, and certain common items became hard to find.

With my mother living nearby and a toddler daughter, our family decided to stay pretty conservative with all our decisions.

Where we look to for adventures shifted from out in the world to in our home and garden. There’s been a slowing down that in a way has given me permission to just BE in way that felt difficult before.

What we thought to be a transient shift at the beginning of the pandemic is now forming our new way of more insular life. Our way of thinking about things has changed. When will I travel next, when will I be able to see certain friends, how will seeing my mom be different once my daughter starts preschool, when will we have a vaccine we feel confident about? So many unanswered questions…So many steps forward into the unknown. I do believe that there are certain things that will change for the better through this, but the sudden change to our lives has been unnerving.

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