The coronavirus pandemic changed the phrases that we used. (Shutterstock/ Representative)
The coronavirus pandemic changed the phrases that we used. (Shutterstock/ Representative)

Phrases we never thought we’d say but for 2020 !

Sentences we never thought we’d say, and then 2020 happened
PUBLISHED ON MAR 01, 2021 02:16 PM IST

“But after you stir it, it’s like any other coffee”

For those of us who got swept away in the two-layered Dalgona storm, a sobering lesson emerged. The two-layered drink looked great on Instagram. But ultimately, it was just coffee. Food became an unexpected pastime in quarantine. What did you experiment with? One of those meat-potato-and-cheese clichés from a 30-second Reel? A family recipe that also solved the mystery of why your pressure cooker keeps hissing? Or maybe you just gave up and developed a full-time relationship with the Swiggy delivery man?

“Keep watching; Season 7 is where it gets really interesting”

The average user spends 17.8 minutes browsing Netflix every day. And for most of us, the long hours at home were spent idly staring at the screen while a new show or an old familiar one streamed. That weird guy with the mullet who rears tigers: Watched. That prissy Regency drama with dances, dalliances and sudden doses of sex: Watched. Jim, Pam, Dwight and the gang: Watched again. The Harshad Mehta one: Devoured. That arranged-marriage one: Watched, but don’t tell anyone. The one with the filmi wives: Ditto.

“Even at 80% off, do I need pants?”

Never mind the final sales, discount days, coupon codes and reduced prices, most of us just lost the will to idly shop. And who can blame us? We spent 2020 in tracksuits, putting on a shirt only for video meetings. Formal shoes gathered dust. Perfumes expired. Handbags were stowed away. Swimwear… it only triggered tears.

“Guys, am I audible?”

In a few short months, our bosses went from not trusting us out of their sight to not trusting us out of their Zoom frame. Daily “attendance” meetings ensued. Emails became Google Docs, which became phone calls, which became video calls, which became presentations. One corner of every home became the default video-call zone. You synced your calendar with Microsoft Teams. Casual leaves remained unapproved on the office app. You split laptop time between both kids so they could pretend to pay attention in online class. The VPN didn’t connect. The dog licked the webcam. And you blamed the wi-fi for every missed deadline. As did we.

“Wait a minute. I can’t smell anything”

For those who tested positive, sensory deprivation was a common first sign. For others it was a long spell of fatigue, chalked down to quarantine blues, but later found to be the virus. Maybe you were just disoriented but otherwise fine. Or you were the unfortunate few who struggled to breathe as family members scurried to procure ventilators, oxygen and plasma without even being able to offer a healing hug. Worse, some had to watch a loved one lose the battle, and not be able to attend the funeral.

“Even at 80% off, do I need pants?”

Never mind the final sales, discount days, coupon codes and reduced prices, most of us just lost the will to idly shop. And who can blame us? We spent 2020 in tracksuits, putting on a shirt only for video meetings. Formal shoes gathered dust. Perfumes expired. Handbags were stowed away. Swimwear… it only triggered tears.

“Yes it fits, but is it WHO-approved N95”?

Overnight, a new accessory entered our lives. We learnt that a three-ply mask was better than one. We knew what a melt-blown filter was. Soon, we could tell a fake N95 from a real one by trying to blow out a candle flame whilst wearing it. We figured out which mask design wouldn’t fog up our spectacles, hurt our ears, bring on a migraine, or give us acne. We even worked out which ones were reusable, washable and better for the environment. And yet, some of us still wear masks on our chins…

“In these unprecedented times…”

Our emails hoped you were “safe and well”. We wanted your attention “now more than ever”. We hoped our cities were “flattening the curve” because “herd immunity” proved to be a hoax in the face of “superspreader events”. We created “social bubbles” and maintained “two metre distance” to prevent “community transmission”. So what if “our death rate is relatively low”. We’re living in “the new normal” and we’re “all in this together” hoping for the time “when this is over”.

“What month are we in?”

As the hours blended into each other, every day was Blursday. March went on for 10 months. You began sleeping all the time or not at all. You ordered Vitamin D supplements to make up for time indoors. The window and the screen were the only escapes. Birthdays were low key, moods were typically even lower. But you know what? You feel worse for the kids who’ve lost a whole year of childhood.

“Please register for our exclusive Zoom event”

Again? Didn’t you just fill in your details to log into GoogleMeet? Or was that Teams? Or that virtual walkthrough that you abandoned halfway. No, wait. That was InstaLive or Reels. Which is the one where you have to raise your hand to talk? And how is a webinar different from those Ted Talks? Oh, you have a podcast too? Send me the link so I can share it and we can all ignore it. Because honestly, we’ve had enough of plugging in.

Don’t I count as essential?

The doctor, the nurse, the ambulance driver, the grocer, the broadband provider, the sweeper, the delivery man, of course. But also the comic, the actor, the news reporter, the veterinarian, the counsellor. And yes, the hotel owner, the makeup artist, the cab driver, the embroiderer, the marketer, the broker, the banker, the clerk, the peon, the spot boy, the farmer, the caterer. The advertiser, the data analyst, the accountant, the wealth manager, the gym instructor, the flight attendant. We realized that everyone is essential to a rich, vibrant, functioning society. Every one of us counts.

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