4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Hell is other people in a Zoom meeting

Heaven is to read a book with other people

Jean-Paul Sartre, Mr. Hell is Other People himself
Jean-Paul Sartre, Mr. Hell is Other People himself

So, my dear family, here we are. We’ve found a limit: the number at which you can’t necessarily hold a single conversation together at table. But I’m going to propose a topic anyway: something you’ve learned during these days. I’ve gotten a more profound sense of how, depending on your particular turn of mind or heart at any given moment, other people are either hell or heaven. This time is either burden or gift. Anyone else?

Daughter, 13: At a certain point during summer, days blur together. I’ve reached that point. I’ve had so much free time, and I’ve been able to do a bunch of reading.

Daughter, 18: I’ve learned how enjoyable it is to read a book with other people. I hadn’t ever thought of it as enjoyable, because it sounded stressful, like homework. ‘Oh, you have to have read it by this time so you can both talk about it, and if you fall behind, then they can’t talk to you.’ But I started reading the Keeper of the Lost Cities series with Other Daughter, and then Still Other Daughter started reading it too, because we have the books and we’re all together.

Daughter: 11: For my age, the books should be too long to read, but the author keeps giving you cliffhanger after cliffhanger after cliffhanger, even when you’re in the middle of a chapter. I’ve learned that doing things with your family, without even seeing anybody else, can actually be fun. It’s weird.

Son, 23: I’ve learned how much of our identity we place in our peers, and how faceless I feel without them.

Nephew, 20: I’ve learned that I’ve got a lot of work to do; I can’t just wing everything.

Son, 20: Being stripped of the things I like to do, I’ve been reminded of the things I used to like, and rekindled some of that enjoyment. I’ve been gardening again.

Son, 16: I’ve realized again how much I like fishing. We’ve been going to the jetty in Mission Bay, fishing off the rocks. I really enjoy catching fish.

Brother, 52: I’ve always thought enjoying fishing meant enjoying waiting.

Son, 16: No, there’s already so much waiting in our lives now.

Wife, 49: You learn to be more grateful, and how you can live with less. My homeschool group is pretty resilient, they’re posting all kinds of things online. Museum tours you can take, recipes, Zoom meetings so people can connect and talk about how they’re coping.

Father, 77: I read a meditation that put it in historical context. It’s helpful to be invited to step back and consider the sweep of history. Europe was afflicted by the Black Death for centuries. At one point, one out of three people died. I’ve had the luxury of living in this pocket of history. Humanity has suffered terribly.

Mother, 78: We’re in no man’s land here. I’m curious about people’s spiritual lives, maybe realizing that we depend on God more than we thought we did.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Prager Brothers drives its artisan breads to Hillcrest

New bakery storefront great for grabbing picnic fare and daily loaves
Jean-Paul Sartre, Mr. Hell is Other People himself
Jean-Paul Sartre, Mr. Hell is Other People himself

So, my dear family, here we are. We’ve found a limit: the number at which you can’t necessarily hold a single conversation together at table. But I’m going to propose a topic anyway: something you’ve learned during these days. I’ve gotten a more profound sense of how, depending on your particular turn of mind or heart at any given moment, other people are either hell or heaven. This time is either burden or gift. Anyone else?

Daughter, 13: At a certain point during summer, days blur together. I’ve reached that point. I’ve had so much free time, and I’ve been able to do a bunch of reading.

Daughter, 18: I’ve learned how enjoyable it is to read a book with other people. I hadn’t ever thought of it as enjoyable, because it sounded stressful, like homework. ‘Oh, you have to have read it by this time so you can both talk about it, and if you fall behind, then they can’t talk to you.’ But I started reading the Keeper of the Lost Cities series with Other Daughter, and then Still Other Daughter started reading it too, because we have the books and we’re all together.

Daughter: 11: For my age, the books should be too long to read, but the author keeps giving you cliffhanger after cliffhanger after cliffhanger, even when you’re in the middle of a chapter. I’ve learned that doing things with your family, without even seeing anybody else, can actually be fun. It’s weird.

Son, 23: I’ve learned how much of our identity we place in our peers, and how faceless I feel without them.

Nephew, 20: I’ve learned that I’ve got a lot of work to do; I can’t just wing everything.

Son, 20: Being stripped of the things I like to do, I’ve been reminded of the things I used to like, and rekindled some of that enjoyment. I’ve been gardening again.

Son, 16: I’ve realized again how much I like fishing. We’ve been going to the jetty in Mission Bay, fishing off the rocks. I really enjoy catching fish.

Brother, 52: I’ve always thought enjoying fishing meant enjoying waiting.

Son, 16: No, there’s already so much waiting in our lives now.

Wife, 49: You learn to be more grateful, and how you can live with less. My homeschool group is pretty resilient, they’re posting all kinds of things online. Museum tours you can take, recipes, Zoom meetings so people can connect and talk about how they’re coping.

Father, 77: I read a meditation that put it in historical context. It’s helpful to be invited to step back and consider the sweep of history. Europe was afflicted by the Black Death for centuries. At one point, one out of three people died. I’ve had the luxury of living in this pocket of history. Humanity has suffered terribly.

Mother, 78: We’re in no man’s land here. I’m curious about people’s spiritual lives, maybe realizing that we depend on God more than we thought we did.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

The legend of Billy Jack: “Peace Through Pummeling.”

He was a half-breed Vietnam vet who hated what war stood for
Next Article

Cinema Under the Stars Presents Laura, Del Mar Gem Faire, Leonard Patton: A Broadway Cabaret

Events March 4-March 7, 2021
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close