scenes from your pandemic

Scenes From Your Pandemic: What I Learned About You

Photo: Jessica Solomon

Back in April, we asked New York readers to share scenes from their daily lives during the coronavirus pandemic. To mark 90 days of being cooped up with just ourselves and our housemates — whether that be a partner, a child, a parent, a roommate, a pet, or just me, myself, and I — we invited you to submit photographs or artwork that depict what you’ve learned about your co-isolationists during these last months. We hope you will continue to share your own lessons and scenes with us by emailing them to scenes@nymag.com. Browse the series archive here.

Regarding the above image, reader Jessica captions, “I have learned that my mother-in-law pretty much conquers any game she plays on the first go.”

Photo: Carly Nathan

“I have learned that my partner thinks he is an interior designer–decorator–painter–Ikea builder, but he’s not.”

Photo: Sarah Clark

“I learned he has a girlfriend.”

Photo: Anonymous

“I learned that my mom uses the knives I gave her for Mother’s Day for household chores, like cutting up seat cushions.”

Photo: Nicolette Andolfo

“I’ve learned that our 3-year-old is more resilient than we think. My daughter’s daycare closed mid-March. We live in Brooklyn. My husband and I both work in health care. We had our families on board with helping us. So we sent her to live between Connecticut and Rhode Island with family. We would visit, go back and forth, try to do some working from home and from there.

In the beginning, we saw behavior and sleep issues, but she adapted quickly. I think we were more worried about it than her. She’s been learning and socializing in preschool. It was, ‘She’s made so much progress. She knew the alphabet, she knew numbers, she was potty trained. She’s going to backslide. How is she going to adapt to all of this?’ We were the ones who had more fear. Even though her life and normal routines have been disrupted — and she’s not even living in her own home — she’s doing well and developing as a 3-year-old should. There’s been no deterioration or backslide. If anything, it’s teaching her to be adaptive. She’s happy. I think it’s just really a message to all parents: You’re doing okay, and your kids are gonna be fine.”

Photo: Rachel Teichman

“I have learned how patient and determined my 9-year-old son, Eli, can be, as evidenced by his many trials of homemade candy. Also meringues, chocolate mousse, chocolate bark, ice cream cones, pretzels, and macarons. I never think to try again if I fail at cooking something. He keeps trying until he gets it right. Seen here: blown sugar. All him.

He doesn’t even eat it all. He just likes to make it, and then the whole family can share it. If no one ends up eating the candy, that’s fine. It’s about the making of it. Other kids, even adults, will make stuff just so they can eat it, or will eat the whole dozen at once, but that’s not him.”

Photo: Ania Catherine

“I learned my cat is an avant-garde choreographer.”

Photo: Julia Lescarbeau

“During quarantine, we learned that champagne showers are still in the forecast and just as fun and sticky as we remembered. This photo is of my younger brother Jack (on the left) and his roommate who graduated this year (virtually) from Arizona State University and was (virtually) commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army. It was hard to celebrate without a proper ceremony, but we made the most of it!

He was disappointed not to have a graduation, but he’s such a trooper and so sweet. He was like, ‘You know what? I’m healthy. I know I have a job. I’m employed by the government, by the Army. I could be in a much worse place.’ He was talking my parents off the ledge. They were beside themselves that they couldn’t be there at his graduation, and he was saying, ‘People are unemployed. People are dying.’”

Illustration: Meghan Linehan

“I’ve learned that the neighbors are spying on us.”

Photo: Allie Olson

“My only roommates are a kooky crew of puppets. This one is Squiggles. I learned he doesn’t like eating breakfast alone. So now we share pancakes in the morning.

When quarantine started, I lost my restaurant job. I’d been planning for a while to start a YouTube channel for children. So I’m sitting on the floor of my apartment, looking at all my art supplies, knowing that I’ve got months ahead of me stuck in my apartment. So I started a YouTube show called Allieville. Everything takes place in my apartment. I built it all by hand. I film it all by myself. The puppets, the show, saved me from loneliness and depression. Every morning, I wake up and greet everyone, all the characters in Allieville. Squiggles is shy but very loving, and sometimes he gets a little nervous and anxious. But he’s great at listening and being a very good friend. We talk, we hang out, and it was a really fun time during quarantine creating and building these characters and then interacting with them.”

Photo: Sharon Berk

“I learned that sometimes my daughter keeps the notes I send her when she’s away at college. Even the quick ones I toss in the package at the last minute.”

Photo: Julia Doyle

“I learned that my dad takes NO chances when it comes to the grocery store. I was sent home from my university in March and he’d set up our house like a doomsday prepper, which isn’t like him. He’d stockpiled toilet paper and shelf staples like powdered milk, masks, everything. And we were all making fun of him. I don’t know how he foresaw this was going to be the way it was, but somehow he knew. I was making fun of him at first and a little bit annoyed. Every time we go to the grocery store, he has these precautions that are a little bit annoying and frustrating to deal with, but at the end of the day, it’s definitely comforting knowing that he does those things because he cares so much about our health and safety. Does he get sideways glances from other people when he wears the hazmat suit? A little bit. It’s more like other people get glances from him if they come up too close or within six feet near him, he is just so on top of things.”

You can view the rest of the series here. If you’d like to share your own lesson from co-isolation, submit a photograph or illustration (and tell us what you learned) to scenes@nymag.com. Same goes for new scenes from your pandemic amid the reopening (or reclosing).

*A version of this article appears in the June 22, 2020, issue of New York Magazine. Subscribe Now!

Scenes From Your Pandemic: What I Learned About You