“Another thing I am enjoying about in-person meetings,” a friend of mine said, “is the excuse to perk up my wardrobe and do a little shopping!”

Her comment was in response to my blog post last week, about going back to in-person meetings and events after a year of doing them online. I was noting that we once again had to factor in travel time and traffic, which we didn’t need to do when we got to these meetings by sitting down in front of our computers instead of getting behind the wheel.

I told my friend she had a good point, since pajama bottoms and sweatpants would no longer be appropriate attire.

“Definitely not,” she said. “And we are helping the economy.”

Although our conversation was somewhat tongue-in-cheek, I thought that was a good point, too. And a serious, legitimate one.

In the long-ago years BC – before COVID – it wasn’t unheard of for people to occasionally refer to going out to dinner or on a shopping spree as a means of helping to support the economy. It was always said in jest, of course, and I don’t think anyone really thought a restaurant or shopping mall would close down without that person’s business on any given day.

Post-COVID, though, it’s another story. Not that buying some new clothes or going out to our favorite restaurant is going to put us up there with the likes of Mother Teresa. But looking back at the past year, and realizing how devastating the pandemic was economically – especially on the restaurants, stores, and other small businesses that struggled to survive – can certainly put a different perspective on things.

I haven’t been shopping for any new clothes since I’ve started venturing out again, but I’ll probably need to do so in the not-too-distant future. Not because I’m trying to do my share to jump-start the economy, but because I lost some weight while in lockdown, and I’m not sure how well my “good” clothes – my go-to-meetings wardrobe – will fit me now.

Maybe I’ll check back in with my friend to see if she wants to go shopping together. While we’re out, we can talk about the events and activities we have coming up, and how excited we are to be getting back to them in person. We can compare notes on the meetings we’ve attended online, and the challenges we’ve faced during the pandemic. We can pat ourselves on the back – jokingly for the most part, but with a bit of truth and seriousness – for doing our share in contributing to our community’s economic recovery.

Then, for good measure, we can do more of the same – by going out to lunch.

May 24, 2021
©Betty Liedtke, 2021

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