The Internet Is Already Nostalgic for Early Quarantine
My friends and have talked about how there will come a time—five years from now, let’s say—when our dumb brains will have blocked out the fear and uncertainty and grief of the pandemic, and we’ll look back at 2020 as a time when we did a lot of cooking, reading, and sitting in the park. In fact, I’m sure one day in the future, when I’m once again stuck underground on the A train and willing the energy to meet friends after work for a drink, that the quiet, shameful, misguided thought will occur: “I miss quarantine.” For some people, that nostalgia has already started.
I would not wish the initial days of the pandemic on anyone, were it not for the fact that we all had to experience it. No one knew what could happen, only that COVID-19 was getting worse. Faced with this worldwide trauma, everyone turned to the internet. My friends and I did Zoom karaoke, Zoom table reads of episodes of Girls, and watched First Wives Club together through Netflix Party. I still remember this Adele meme being the first thing that made me laugh after learning that I wouldn’t be leaving my apartment for an unknown amount of time.
Things don’t feel like this anymore, mostly because the rest of the world has gotten somewhat of a handle on the pandemic, whereas the U.S. refuses to take any country-wide action to do so and faces the consequences for it day after day. Now those first few weeks of quarantine have a special charm to them, because it really felt like we were all in this as a team. There was hope that if we all banded together, we’d pull through. Now, people on TikTok and Twitter want it back.
A video posted last month on TikTok highlights a number of things you’ve probably forgotten about since the beginning of the pandemic, like Instagram Stories challenges, the Netflix series Too Hot To Handle, the Bill Clinton vinyl meme, and whipped coffee—things we clung to in lieu of any answers. My friends and I were calling each other on FaceTime every evening to make sure we were taking care of ourselves, while now we’re back to having trouble finding a day and time that an outside stoop hang works for all of us.
Writer Aminatou Sow captured this feeling on Tuesday evening when she tweeted, “I miss season 1 of the pandemic when we were all watching tiger king and bonding over verzus."
I miss season 1 of the pandemic when we were all watching tiger king and bonding over verzus 😭— Aminatou Sow (@aminatou) August 4, 2020
The replies are made up of people sharing their own favorite memories, like sourdough baking and clapping for essential workers, coping mechanisms that will forever be associated with this moment in history.
Over the past week, more people have turned to Twitter to reminisce about earlier pandemic times.
okay but i miss the quarantine days where i just do nothing the whole day and enjoy myself— 🌻 (@badiaaaaah) August 3, 2020
ngl the first two months of quarantine was fun, we would constantly stay up till 12am, calling w our friends, we made new ones too. we did absolutely nothing productive, only laying on our bed and watch tiktok and netflix for hours, i truly do miss it 🥰— nat ✰ (@natasyaemeralda) August 2, 2020
seeing people talk about what parts of the beginning of quarantine they miss, and mine has to be when i read a 7 book series in under a week— sorry, im tweeting • BLM (@chaindawgg) August 4, 2020
Some of the tweets come from high school and college-aged students who were sent home at the beginning of the pandemic. Now, many of them are being forced to return when the situation is even worse. New cases keep peaking, influencers are throwing parties, Donald Trump is giving incomprehensible interviews, and masks have become a political talking point all while the rest of the world watches from the other side. We’re not in this together. It’s every man for himself. And if I am reading this in five years, I’d like to future me to realize that no, you do not miss it.