An illustrated timeline: 14 things we’ll always remember about life during the pandemic

Since March, we’ve been riding the highs and lows of the corona-coaster. From isolation blues to real fear of catching COVID-19, this has been a trying chapter for everyone. And, as restrictions seem to change daily, we’re finding ourselves constantly adapting to the “new normal.” 

In hard times, art and design can help us process what’s been happening, find humor, and discover a sense of community. These illustrations capture this moment in time. They offer a chronological timeline of where we’ve been, while we collectively wonder where to go from here.

1. The great TP panic

“I don’t have a square to spare!” The Seinfeld quote hits home, ringing in the ears of every shopper greeted by empty shelves and/or piling their carts with the precious commodity we once took for granted. Meanwhile, bidet sales soar.

 

 

 

2. The reign of Tiger King

Because binge-watching mindless TV shows is the break we all need from reality. Turns out, your friend who watched the Bachelor is onto something, and we’ll raise her Love is Blind and 90 Day Fiance. Thank you Netflix!

 

 

 

3. Apps. So many apps.

Our phones are a bigger lifeline than ever as they replace our personal trainers, meditation coaches, happy hours, and trivia nights. Screentime notifications don’t count during a pandemic…right?

 

 

 

4. Homeschool havoc

Teachers, we love you. As parents take the reins and suddenly grapple with homeschooling (how does long division work again?), we have more appreciation for our educators than ever. Also, for Khan Academy—daddy needs a drink now.

 

 

 

5. The essential wardrobe

“Mask-gloves-sanitizer” is the new “phone-keys-wallet.” A longer list of essentials is just part of life now, along with your newfound sewing skills (homemade facemasks anyone?). So long as your mask looks good with your shirt, you can totally wear pajamas and slippers on the bottom—we only dress from the waist-up.

 

 

 

6. Zooming into each other’s lives

Digital backgrounds, girls nights, birthday parties—who knew video conferencing could be so much fun? The last few months, Zoom has grown from a work necessity to our favorite hangout spot. With surprise guests, forgotten mute buttons, and connection issues, communication standards sure have relaxed. For all you know, we haven’t worn pants since March.


 

 

7. Tracking the spread

Every day, we watched news of the virus’s rapid spread around the world with growing horror. Alarming and dramatic maps covered the news, and numbers became an international obsession. An unexpected bonus: the geography lesson.

 

 

 

8. Lonely streets

Footage from around the world offered haunting views of empty streets and landmarks usually bustling with people: Rome, New York, Vegas, even LA freeways. Traffic-weary cities and tourist destinations breathed a sigh of relief (and clean air).

 

 

 

9. Celebrating 2020 heroes 

Not all heroes wear capes; the adage has never been more true. We found creative ways to show appreciation for front-line workers across health care, sanitation, delivery services, and grocery stores as our neighborhoods came alive with sirens, songs, and applause.


 

 

10. Cook, bake, eat, repeat!

First, it was the banana bread. Then our sourdough starters were ready to bake. We whipped our dalgona coffee to a peak and read dozens of recipes that flooded our feeds. Finally, we ventured into take-out, and mercifully, to-go cocktails. As for the quarantine 15? Well, we’re wearing sweatpants anyway.

 

 

 

11. Staying social, with distance

A drive-by celebration is just one of many new ways of hanging out that we’ve invented as the desperation of solitary confinement kicks in. Other creative ways of seeing our innermost circles of family and friends: social distance picnics, bring-your-own-chair backyard hangouts—and anything else we can think of to (safely) push the boundaries of 6 feet. 

 

 

 

12. Coronavirus bangs & other hack jobs

“Long hair don’t care” has reached its limits. So, we pull up Youtube, take out the shears, and hope for the best. As we venture into home haircuts, facials, manis, and waxes, we eagerly await the moment salons will get the green light to reopen.

 

 

 

13. Eating out(doors)

Sidewalk cafes are suddenly the norm as our favorite restaurants reopen for outdoor dining. With streets closed to traffic and masked people strolling by, this almost feels normal—and maybe a little bit like Europe? (Okay, wishful thinking.)

 

 

 

14. Are we open yet?

After months of being gaslighted about reopenings, we’re stuck between tip-toeing out of isolation and hunkering down for the long-haul. With bated breath, we await news that it’s safe to venture back out into the world. Until then, it’s about staying hopeful and healthy while local businesses slowly reignite their welcome signs.