Slice of Life Story Challenge 2020 Day 31

Today, March 31st, 2020, I’m participating in Two Writing Teachers’ Slice of Life Story Challenge. Today is the final day!

Droplets seemed to dance in the air, misting my windshield as I crossed traffic and pulled into the parking lot. Immediately I spotted the woman standing in the drizzle, just outside my neighborhood grocery store.

Something had changed. I could tell right away.

Cautiously, I eased into the crowded lot, slowing to allow an elderly man to pass in front me.  I watched him as he proceeded across my path, beneath the new blue tent now stationed outside the entrance, and into the store.  Rolling down my window, I strained to eavesdrop on the conversation between the woman, clearly a would-be shopper, and an unfamiliar man wearing a brown jacket and holding a clipboard under the new tent.  “But all I need is gelato,” I heard her say somewhat pleadingly.

The man in the brown jacket, clearly stationed as a sentry to provide information on revamped store hours and policies, pulled his clipboard close to his chest.  He then politely explained that this time was for ‘seniors only.’  No one under the age of 60 would gain admission until 10 a.m.  “But . . .can’t I just grab that one thing?” the woman insisted.  Brown jacket man, steadfast in his courtesy, told her he was sorry, but they needed to keep the rules consistent- for everyone. Even her. I heard him say that this is how it had to be.  The woman pivoted and left.

On this final day of the 2020 slice of life story challenge, I am left wondering if some people really get it? Do they understand the magnitude of what we are dealing with in this global pandemic? All you need is gelato? Really? Forgive me, but that sounds like a comment from our old lives. Our old “ 21st Century“ lives, in which we dreamed up artificial “needs” and were able to fulfill them instantaneously. Right now that world is gone. And until people face up to that, we will remain sheltered in place.

It is my great hope that next year’s Slice of Life Story Challenge will reflect only a distant memory of this crisis. People will have followed government issued precautions. Our curve will have flattened. And COVID-19 will be nothing but a memory. That is my great hope.

Thank you to all of you who have participated in this challenge. It has been an honor to write with you. Comment with you. And receive your gracious feedback. Everyone stay safe. Stay well.

We will get through this.

Author: Lanny Ball

For more than 27 years, Lanny has taught, coached, presented, staff developed, and consulted within the exciting and enigmatic world of literacy. With unyielding passion and belief in the possibility of workshop teaching, Lanny has worked to support students, teachers, and school administrators around the country in outgrowing themselves as both writers and readers. Working first as a classroom teacher, then as a coach and TCRWP Staff Developer, Lanny is now a literacy specialist, working and living in the great state of Connecticut. Outside of literacy, he enjoys raising his three ambitious young daughters with his wife, and playing the piano. Find him on this blog, as well as on Twitter @LannyBall. Lanny is also a co-author of a blog dedicated to supporting teachers and coaches that maintain classroom writing workshops, twowritingteachers.org.

18 thoughts on “Slice of Life Story Challenge 2020 Day 31”

  1. It still amazes me how people still do not get it and continue to put their wants before everyone else and what is best. You captured that really well here. Sometimes eavesdropping can provide the best moments. I truly enjoy your writing and the way you capture your moments. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lanny, that small moment captured the shift that has happened in our world so precisely, and how some have yet to recognize it-sadly to the peril of many. I love how you insert reflection into your narrative, “Forgive me, but that sounds like a comment from our old lives. Our old “ 21st Century“ lives, in which we dreamed up artificial “needs” and were able to fulfill them instantaneously.” It gives such rich context to what you describe. I think it is that kind of writing that will help future readers of our pandemic stories to understand the urgency and frustration we feel while we are in the middle of a crisis, and not as some historic hindsight. I have loved reading your words and receiving your feedback this month. Thank you. Stay safe. Be well. Keep telling your stories.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hang on to hope — and gelato, provided we can procure it responsibly, with compassion, and share its fleeting enjoyment with others in quarantine (both in our households and with our far-flung connections) and maybe donate some or other resources to people intervening on the pandemic’s front lines. Complicated times, as the slice you captured reminds us.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I share your hope, Lanny. “I just need…” I think it’s time for all of us to assess our needs. This challenge became a way for me to focus on what is important to me. I want to thank you, too, for all of your thoughtful responses. We will all be better for adapting to our struggles.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Powerful: “Our old ’21st Century’ lives, in which we dreamed up artificial ‘needs’ and were able to fulfill them instantaneously. Right now that world is gone.” So true. And what an interesting ‘need’ for gelato early in the morning. Your slice of life is so telling of our world, isn’t it?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Way to finish the challenge, Lanny! As always you managed to capture an ordinary moment and convey it in great scenes of reflection and humanity. I know what you meant when you say your hope is that literally COVID-19 will be history in 2021. Nonetheless, my hope is that for the 2021 SOLSC we have this crisis very vivid in our minds and we never forget it. The “I just want my gelato” attitude is what brought us here, and I hope it serves us as a lesson, we change our behaviors towards each other and the planet, we work together with kindness and empathy, we reassess our needs and focus on the needs of others, and we never forget. Real teachers have that behavior ingrained in their profession. I wish all gelato men and women of the world finally get it also.That’s my great hope.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This line was particularly powerful for me: “It is my great hope that next year’s Slice of Life Story Challenge will reflect only a distant memory of this crisis.” It feels so far away…..but I’m hoping, too. I hope that one thing we learn is to be compassionate of everyone–it’s hard to know the story behind what seems like a frivolous not-actual-need.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. To be fair, it’s gelato.

    It was great seeing your writing this month Lanny, it’s always well done and I’m grateful you took the time to swing by my posts as well. Keep writing and keep up the positive attitude. We’ll get through this!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thank you for all you do at Two Writing Teachers. I learn so much from you, and this slice was no exception. Your story captured so much of the need we have to simplify. I think my favorite detail was the inclusion of the old man crossing the street. Your attention to him says so much and is a contrast to the absurdity that followed.

    Liked by 1 person

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