Adrian Wooldridge in MIL:
I belong to that infuriating group of people who regard the pandemic as a blessing in disguise. No more commutes, no more trips to the office, no more dinner parties. What could be better? Some time ago I came to the conclusion that the ideal life would be conducted physically in the 21st century (not least for the dentistry) but intellectually in the 19th century – with an endless diet of Wagner, Tolstoy, George Eliot and, for light relief, Trollope and Dickens. In recent months the pandemic has brought me close to realising my dream. Yet I’ve noticed something odd tugging at my comfortable smugness: I’ve started missing the pre-pandemic world. I long for the obvious things, of course – dinners in decent restaurants, the cut-and-thrust of discussion freed from the dead hand of Zoom, travel to exotic places. But I yearn for some of the more mundane warp and weft of normal life, too. I’m loth to admit it, but I miss many of the things that used to make me angry.
Normal life is full of triumphs and tribulations. A few of these are big, but most are small and offer the useful purpose of marking each day out from another. Viewed collectively, they help to demarcate some moments as good, and others less so. They give form and texture to our existence.