Fandango’s Provocative Question #140


Welcome once again to Fandango’s Provocative Question. Each week I will pose what I think is a provocative question for your consideration.

By provocative, I don’t mean a question that will cause annoyance or anger. Nor do I mean a question intended to arouse sexual desire or interest.

What I do mean is a question that is likely to get you to think, to be creative, and to provoke a response. Hopefully a positive response.

A lot of people in 2020, due to COVID-19 stay-at-home mandates, lockdowns, and closed restaurants, stores, and workplaces, relied on online shopping and delivery services. People used online services for meal deliveries, grocery deliveries, and for deliveries of everything from sundries to clothing to pet food to electronics, and to almost anything imaginable.

COVID has plagued us — pun intended — for more than a year and a half and in some areas, thanks to vaccines becoming widely available, things have started to open up. Many restaurants have reopened to serve patrons indoors. Many employers are having employees return to their worksites instead of working from home. Children have returned to attending classes at physical facilities rather than via Zoom classes. And many jurisdictions have eased up on mask mandates and social distancing restrictions.

So my question(s) this week have to do with online shopping for home delivery. Are you ready?

During the height of the pandemic, to what extent did you avail yourself of online shopping for meals, groceries, and other goods and services? If you did use online shopping and delivery services, now that things have eased up a bit, has your reliance on or use of such service continued at the same rate, increased, or decreased. To what extent?

If you choose to participate, write a post with your response to the question. Once you are done, tag your post with #FPQ and create a pingback to this post if you are on WordPress. Or you can simply include a link to your post in the comments. But remember to check to confirm that your pingback or your link shows up in the comments.

Truthful Tuesday — Reading During the Pandemic

Frank, aka PCGuy, has published another one of his Truthful Tuesday posts, and this week Frank wants to know…

What impact, if any, has the pandemic, and specifically last year’s lock-down, had on your reading habits?

I’ll jump to the bottom line first: the pandemic has had no real impact on my reading habits. At least not my book reading habits. Now that you have the answer to Frank’s question, you can stop reading. Or you can take a minute to read on for more details.

I retired at the end of 2016 and I planned to spend a lot of time writing. Yes, my goal was to pen the great American novel, which would be a best seller, of course.

That didn’t happened. But my retirement did afford me the opportunity to read more books, and I did so in that first year. Well, a few more books, anyway.

But I became, after the election of Donald Trump in November 2016, obsessed with reading and watching the news. So my book reading actually diminished and it has not picked back up in the year and a half since the pandemic began. I still read the newspaper and my newsfeeds and I still watch the news on TV, but I have spent more time since the pandemic began on WordPress, reading other bloggers’ posts and creating my own.

And also binge-watching TV shows.

The Aftermath

The six of us used to get together for a frittata breakfast at a local Italian bistro every Saturday morning. We’d leave the kiddos with our hubbies and enjoy the food, company, and the freedom. It had become a cherished ritual.

And then the darkness hit and everything shut down. Everyone was ordered to stay at home and to be safe. Our Saturday morning ritual ended and after a while, we lost touch with one another.

Sixteen months have passed since the quarantine began and things are starting to open up again after the vaccines were introduced. I recently read that the Italian bistro had reopened and I decided to reach out to my five dear friends to see if they were interested in meeting up for frittatas on an upcoming Saturday morning.

It didn’t exactly go as planned. Two of them had gotten divorced and getting away from their kids on a Saturday morning would be dicey. Another had left the state with her family to move into her parents’ home shortly after her husband lost his job when the company he worked for laid everyone off.

That left just two others and me and we finally arranged for a day to meet up for breakfast at the bistro. But in the aftermath of the pandemic, things were different.

Being together after all we’d been through felt more like an awkward performance, filled with glib, superficially conversation. Even the frittatas didn’t taste as good as they used to.

The pandemic destroyed many lives, including the closeness of six friends and the frittata breakfast ritual, with the food, company, and freedom, that each of us used to cherish.

Written for these daily prompts: Ragtag Daily Prompt (six), Word of the Day Challenge (frittata), The Daily Spur (darkness), Your Daily Word Prompt (dicey), MMA Storytime (performance), and Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (glib).

Blogging Insights — Fewer

For this week’s edition of Blogging Insights, Dr. Tanya simply wants to know about blogging in the year of the pandemic. She asks…

How do you think this pandemic year has been for blogging in general and your blog in particular?

I’m not going to answer the part of the question that asks about blogging in general because I’m not qualified to answer that. But I can give you a one-word answer as to the effect of the pandemic on my blog in particular. That word is “fewer.”

In 2020, as compared to 2019, I wrote fewer posts, received fewer views, got fewer total likes and average likes per post, and fewer total comments and average comments per post. I also wrote fewer total words in 2020 than in 2019 and had fewer words per post.

That said, I honestly don’t know if I can blame the pandemic for all those “fewers.” It could just be that my blog peaked in 2019 and now, irrespective of the pandemic, it’s trending downward. And, so far in 2021, my average likes and comments per post are about the same as they were in 2020.

So I don’t really have a good answer to Tanya’s question about the relationship between my blog stats and the pandemic. But I can tell you that, despite the mandated launch of the block editor last year and the still unfixed bug in the WordPress app for iOS, I enjoyed blogging and interacting with my fellow bloggers since the pandemic began as much as I did before it started and as I still do today.

WDYS — A New Start

“Well, from my perspective, we need to focus on getting back those customers who abandoned us over this last year due to the pandemic. We can’t afford to panic or to prevaricate. If we don’t face reality, if we let specious thinking dictate our approach, it will be a total dealbreaker,” Karla said to her husband. “I’ve set up the tables in the alley for outdoor dining, and separated them by six feet so that people can feel safe eating here.

“I’ve cleaned up all of the graffiti that was scrawled on the walls where you’ve set up the tables,” Alec said. “I’ll add a small glass vase to each table with some fragrant flowers in them to improve the ambience.”

“Oh, Alec, maybe we can actually get past this setback over the past year and get our little restaurant to sizzle once again,” Karla said, feeling a little hopeful after more than a year of depression.

“Yes, Karla,” Alec said, walking up to Karla and giving her a warm hug. “Now is the time to elevate our prospects.”

Written for Sadje’s What Do You See prompt. Photo credit: Gabriella Clare Marino@ Unsplash. Also for these daily prompts: The Daily Spur (perspective/reality), Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (focus/fragrant), Word of the Day Challenge (abandoned/past), MMA Storytime (panic/elevation), Ragtag Daily Prompt (prevaricate/sizzle), Your Daily Word Prompt (specious/scrawl), and MLMM Sunday Writing Prompt (dealbreaker).