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Like all of us, the Girl Scouts have adjusted to pandemic life

Ana Veciana-Suarez
·3 min read





Perhaps one of the more visible indicators of these extraordinary times is the sad absence of the Girl Scout table in front of my Publix. For as long as I can remember, cheery little girls chaperoned by their moms would sell their cookies as shoppers strolled into the supermarket. Such a heartwarming (and tempting) sight it was too.

Though I always had boxes at home, bought from the Girl Scout down the street, I would invariably buy one or two more. Why not? You can never have enough Tagalongs and Trefoils to ward off a case of the 4 p.m. munchies. My longstanding theory has been that calories don’t count if you’re partly motivated by a good cause.

But the COVID-19 pandemic has put a damper on this winter rite, as it has so many other rituals, and the missing cookie booth is yet another reminder of how our lives have changed, how losses have left an indelible mark in both large and small ways. The coronavirus has taught me much, and much of that learning has been painful and surprising. I could’ve never predicted the silly traditions I miss, the ceremonies and celebrations, the festivities and formalities. They were such an integral part of my life, the beacons that guided me from morning to night.

Once upon a time, however, I didn’t appreciate their worth, not the way I should have. Fool that I am, I reluctantly attended some and groused about many others. Who knew these would be stripped so suddenly, leaving confusion and heartache in their wake?

The pandemic has also offered unexpected tutorials, though. We have lost, yes, but we have also gained. Certainly, I’m not alone when I proclaim that my adaptability skills have increased a hundred-fold. Adjust, alter, modify, these are the keywords of my COVID-19 routine even as I dream about a mask-less future where I hug friends, kiss grandchildren, and explore the world to my heart’s content.

What better example of our collective re-imagining than our new Zoom life, where virtual connection has replaced the tactile. Zoom happy hours. Zoom funerals. Zoom birthday parties. I’ve even read about how some couples are courting on Zoom dates. We’ve used the platform so extensively that my newsfeed is now chockablock with stories about combatting Zoom fatigue. An impromptu line of fashion has developed around it, too. Just the other night The Hubby and I “attended” a yahrzeit on the first anniversary of a cousin’s death. I dressed up for the occasion: make-up, jewelry and a nice top, flip-flops on my feet.

Miss traveling? That has been modified too. Road trips have turned into a remedy for that pervasive malaise known as acute cabin fever. As a result, the purchase of RVs has exploded, and my outdoorsy friends report surprisingly busy campgrounds in state parks.

Afraid of eating at your favorite restaurant? No worries. Dining has been re-designed. Al fresco has become all the rage, as has take-out. In the past 10 months, we’ve ordered out more than we have in the past decade, even as we have plenty of time to cook and bake.

So, I’m not at all surprised that, in tune with the times, the Girl Scouts have adjusted their tactics. While digital cookie sales have been around since 2014, the organization is also making Do-si-dos, Samoas and other pound-packing delicacies available on the food-delivery platform Grubhub. My mouth began salivating when I read about this alternative, and I’ve now vowed to make “appreciate” and “adapt” the mantras of 2021.

We may be far from a return to old habits and haunts, but there is hope when you can dream about eating an entire sleeve of Thin Mints right out of the freezer before The Hubby, aka The Nutrition Police, catches on. What can be more normal than that?

(Ana Veciana-Suarez writes about family and social issues. Email her at avecianasuarez@gmail.com or visit her website anavecianasuarez.com. Follow @AnaVeciana.)