As I sit here this morning with my coffee and my thoughts, I hear the Waste Management trucks moving up and down the street, collecting the neighborhood trash and recycling. I’ve also read posts from people bitching about how the school districts aren’t doing enough to provide actual, graded online learning for our kids right now. I read a rant from a cashier at a local drugstore about people coming in for a pack of gum or a candy bar and how those cashiers don’t have hand sanitizer or gloves, yet they have to touch all those items and handle money with people standing two feet in front of them. (I’m not even going to go into what’s happening with our healthcare workers right now. All we have to do is turn on the news for that.)
These are workers we typically don’t think twice about. The workers who make our lives run smoothly and efficiently. They pick up our trash, and ring up our groceries, and teach our kids – often while dealing with condescension and very little gratitude. Their roles in our society are not glamorous, but they are essential.
My partner is a school district tech specialist, and he is still reporting to work every day, helping to get laptops and hot spots distributed to kids in our area. He is touching equipment all day long, trying to maintain social distancing, washing his hands raw, and keeping his hands away from his face. He’s going in because they need him there, and he needs the paycheck.
What has happened – at least where I live – is people are realizing that the “little” guys, the people who ring up our groceries and teach our children and serve us our food are actually pretty important. They make our lives easier and often more enjoyable. Many are considered “essential” during a pandemic.
Let that sink in for a minute.
We are interconnected in ways we take for granted all the time. We are being given a really shitty opportunity to recognize that and vow to remember it when this crisis is over.
I hope we take it.